While there were plenty of bad things to focus on that happened to the Penguins in 2014, there was a whole handful of good, if not great moments as well. It would take me months of obsessive-compulsive ranking to make sure I had these in the right order, so it's more of a general Top 10 than a ranking.
#10 Marc-Andre Fleury Having a Good Playoff Performance
April 2014: Going into the 2014 Playoffs, everyone was sitting back waiting to see what kind of performance the Penguins net minder would put together, going into a contract year. I think he took a lot of people by surprise, stringing together two very good series. Aside from his behind-the-net flub against the Blue Jackets, he was extremely solid. For me at least, it felt like the moment getting over the hump and getting past the playoff failures against the Flyers in 2012 and the Islanders in 2013.
#9 The Wilkes-Barre Brian's First Goals
December 2014: With an injury and mumps riddled lineup, the Penguins faced off against the daunting Tampa Bay Lightning. It was a memorable night for two Penguins, when Brian Dumoulin and Bryan Rust both scored their first NHL goals.
#8 Winning the Metropolitan Division Easily Despite Injuries
2014 was a very 'meh' year for the Metropolitan Division. It was a strange year, where the Penguins strung together some wins at the beginning of the season, and despite long-term injuries to Kris Letang, Rob Scuderi, Pascal Dupuis, and others, the Penguins never found their place at the top of the Metro in jeopardy, really.
#7 The Development of Kapanen, Despres, Bortuzzo, Pouliot, Sutter, and Co.
The new Penguins management regime of Jim Rutherford, Jason Botteril, Bill Guerin, and Tom Fitzgerald, for the most part seem intent on letting young players....well...play. We saw Simon Despres and Robert Bortuzzo juggled through the lineup in past seasons. Now, we are seeing consistency of defense pairings when available, and Despres seems to be thriving under said circumstances. The Penguins did send Kasperi Kapanen back to Finland, but all signs and projections point to him being great and the draft pick being a very good one.
Derrick Pouliot has made his debut and looks as good as advertised. Brandon Sutter has slowly grown into his own player, and stepped it up big time when the Penguins needed him to play a 2nd line role instead of his typical 3rd line role.
#6 Crosby Winning MVP
June 2014: With the playoffs ending the way that they did and blowing a 3-1 lead to the Rangers, it's easy to forget about regular season accomplishments. Sidney Crosby taking home the Hart Trophy and the Ted Lindsay Award, as well as the Art Ross Trophy is something that perhaps we should appreciate more, in retrospect.
#5 The Dead Weight That Left On July 1st
July 2014: July 1st was a fun day. Not only did the Penguins make great free agency additions in Steve Downie, Thomas Greiss, and Christian Ehrhoff, but they let a lot of dead weight and dead money walk out the door. Derek Engelland, Joe Vitale, Matt Niskanen, Tanner Glass, and Brooks Orpik all got paid big cash for lots of years.
Deryk Engelland to CGY. 3 year deal worth $2.9M.— Bob McKenzie (@TSNBobMcKenzie) July 1, 2014
To be clear, Engelland's AAV is $2.9M. That's per year.— Bob McKenzie (@TSNBobMcKenzie) July 1, 2014
#4 Olli Maatta, Sidney Crosby, and Chris Kunitz Olympic Performances
February 2014: When the assortment of Penguins went to Russia, representing the United States, Canada, Finland, and Russia, you just knew that some players would be coming home with medals. Sidney Crosby and Chris Kunitz coming home with gold medals was not that surprising. Olli Maatta having a 'coming out party' on the world's stage was a bit surprising. I remember seeing more and more people talking about how Maatta was stepping up in the big minutes for Finland and coming home with a bronze medal.
#3 Malkin and Crosby Give Fleury Win #300
November 2014: The Penguins went into Boston and came away with a big-time OT win. It ended on a beautiful transition from Letang, Crosby, and Malkin.
But the bigger significance here was Marc-Andre Fleury getting his 300th win as NHL goaltender.
#2 Patric Hornqvist's Fast Start
October 2014: When the Penguins willingly traded away a former 40-goal scorer in James Neal, many were nervous to see how the trade would pay in dividends, mainly concerning how Hornqvist would fit in. These concerns became quelled very quickly, as Hornqvist stepped in and found lightning in a bottle with the Penguins immediately, notching 9 goals in his first 13 games for the Penguins
#1 Derrick Pouliot's First NHL Game and First Goal
December 2014: Easily the Penguins best prospect, Derrick Pouliot got the call for his first NHL game and he did not disappoint. I was really looking forward to seeing him play, and just a few minutes into the game, he sniped a really pretty goal.