The Pittsburgh Penguins have had a lot of success this past year.
Like... a lot. Winning the Stanley Cup and having a steady stream of rookies ready for an NHL role will do that.
It kicked off last season, of course, and so far it appears to be extending into this season.
In 2015-16, we saw Penguins like Conor Sheary, Bryan Rust, Scott Wilson, and Tom Kuhnhackl make the jump; this year, it’s Jake Guentzel’s turn. After putting up 42 points in just 33 AHL games this season - his first as a professional - that appears like it could be it for him.
Via Elliotte Friedman’s 30 Thoughts (#7), Guentzel is continuing that rookie success:
A couple of weeks ago, we had a quote from AHL Binghamton coach Kurt Kleinendorst indicating how much he liked Pittsburgh prospect Jake Guentzel. Suffice it to say Rutherford likes Guentzel as much as Kleinendorst does. The forward “will be a Penguin for the rest of the season,” unless something weird happens. “All of our guys like playing with him.”
Guentzel already has 10 points in 17 NHL games. Again: he’s a first-year pro. He’s 22. This is outstanding.
And another interesting thought arose via Friedman (#5):
Does [Rutherford] worry about where they finish in the brutal Metropolitan Division?
“I don’t think it’s fair to ask Mike Sullivan to squeeze a group that had so little time off in the summer, like San Jose. We’ll see where we finish and take our chances.”
The Penguins are currently second in the Metro division, behind the Capitals. Which is pretty much exactly where they were in 2015-16 - and we all know what happened then.