The regular season still has 20-some-odd games left to play, and Pittsburgh is 2nd in the Atlantic and 4th in the East with a great possibility of edging out NJ for 1st and 2nd respectively. Yet still the clamor and clang of the doomsayers' collective pots and pans banging together demanding attention have signaled a non-stop exchange on how "X and X players are deadweight, we need to get rid of them" or "X player is way overpaid, we need to dump him and get someone who can perform better", or (my personal favorite) "X fourth line player isn't scoring goals/dishing assists, we should waive 'em and get a Baby Pen up to fill the spot."
I'm here to put this all to rest and gather a couple of the more prominent arguments into one place. If I have missed one, don't be shy about telling me so in the comments (along with a cleverly worded insult if you don't like my analysis, but don't just resort to common plebian style wit...spice it up.)
WE NEED A SCORING WINGER AND WE NEED HIM NOW ZOMG!!!!!11!!!!1!!!!
Ah yes, the famous line that has been sung since a few years ago (that is when history starts for me because that is when I was able to devote more time to finding ways to follow the pens (The western states just really don't care about hockey much...if I ruled the world it is something I would correct posthaste, but I digress)). The line of reasoning is that we have spent/wasted/thrown too much money at our core line of centers and we don't have enough for a stellar, top-6, awesom-er-est winger who can score from the red line with a wrister...ok, I embellished a bit at the end, but the sentiment is almost the same.
The truth of it is that yes, we do have a majority of our cap space diverted to our three superstars, Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin, and Jordan Staal, in the center (about 38%, which is a lot when you factor in Marc-Andre Fleury, Chris Kunitz, and Sergei Gonchar - roughly another 24%), but that is GM Ray Shero's plan; build outward from the inside. We have a solid foundation that will make us quite competitive for the foreseeable future. A scoring winger, while definitely a great addition to our already explosive offense, would almost certainly be a textbook example of the law of diminishing marginal returns. Basically, any offensive power we add would come at a great cost (1st round pick, or a top-prospect(s)/mid-pick(s) combo and a mid-six player, or one of our superstars) and would only add a disproportionate amount of scoring.
Our blueline sucks male monkey genitalia and we need an overhaul of our defense.
I can't really argue with this, except to say that it's not as bad as we all think it is. As fans (short for fanatics), we are usually a bit TOO invested in the program emotionally, mentally, spiritually, bio-chemically, or meta-physically, that we tend to...what is the word...oh yeah - overreact. I would fervently agree with anyone saying that our weakness right now is our defense, but I would ardently oppose anyone stating that 'we need to expect Kristopher Letang (or Gonchar) to be gone next year so we should deal him while we have a chance to get something.'
The current Penguins roster is about 90% unchanged from the one that hoisted Lord Stanley's Oversized Champagne Dispenser last year. I just can't find it in myself to turn around and deal one of the essential cogs from that epic run. Sure, both Sarge and TheTang are in a slump, but I would still advise caution to those pushing for a deal involving either (or both - really? I mean...really!?).
Those are the arguments, and so now I will let the discussion continue to churn and boil until our collective conscious becomes too toxic for even the most dispassionate. Then Frank will be forced to shut down the blog in favor of averting mass suicide...or until GMRS makes a trade, then we will move on to the merits of it and return here only to laugh at my paltry grasp of the inner workings of the Penguins hockey team.