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Penguins’ over/under: Looking at the big three

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Looking at some projections for the Pittsburgh Penguins’ best players this season, Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin, and Kris Letang.

NHL: Pittsburgh Penguins at Detroit Red Wings Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

Continuing our offseason look at some projections for the 2019-20 Pittsburgh Penguins, we shift our focus to the backbone of the organization — the big three of Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin, and Kris Letang.

As long as these three players are on the roster and playing at a superstar level the Penguins are always going to at least have a fighting chance to compete for a championship. These three can not win it all on their own, but the Penguins also can not win it all without them.

Let’s take a look at some expectations.

Sidney Crosby

After four consecutive 85-ish point seasons and an age that started to begin with a “3” I figured Crosby’s days as a 100-point scorer and potential scoring champion were finished.

The latter part may still be true (have you see what Nikita Kucherov and Connor McDavid have been doing?) but I should have known better than to doubt Crosby’s ability to still light up the league offensively.

He is still, at worst, the second-best player in the NHL and a dominant force all over the ice. He is the straw that stirs the drink, so to speak, and has the best winger on the team glued to his side.

I think the only question for Crosby’s performance is does he repeat as a 100-point scorer, something he has not actually done since the 2008-09 and 2009-10 seasons?

The over/under: 100.5 points.

Poll

How many points for Sidney Crosby during the 2019-20 season? Over/Under 100.5

This poll is closed

  • 42%
    Over
    (527 votes)
  • 57%
    Under
    (703 votes)
1230 votes total Vote Now

Evgeni Malkin

Probably the most polarizing player on the 2018-19 Penguins.

His final point production was excellent.

Everything else was up for criticism.

It was clearly not Malkin’s best season in the NHL and there were some very real flaws defensively and at even-strength play. Was that the result of something Malkin was or was not doing? Was it the Malkin-Phil Kessel duo going stale and missing the defensive presence of a Carl Hagelin? Was it the minutes they were tied to Jack Johnson’s defense pairing? Depending on what side of each debate you have settled in to you probably want to focus on just one of those things, when in reality it was probably a small combination of all of them working together in unison. Not sure what his line is going to look like (not sure any of the options are an upgrade) but this is still Evgeni Malkin we are talking about.

Malkin is a proud, competitive player and a Hall of Famer that is no doubt returning this season with a huge chip on his shoulder, especially after another round of trade rumors and speculation that have to this point not actually resulted in anything. A motivated and inspired Malkin is a great Malkin, and when he is at his best there are still only a small handful of players in the league that can match him.

The over/unders for his season:

Goals: 30.5
Even-strength goals: 18.5
Points: 90.5

Poll

How many goals for Evgeni Malkin during the 2019-20 season? Over/under: 30.5

This poll is closed

  • 68%
    Over
    (848 votes)
  • 31%
    Under
    (381 votes)
1229 votes total Vote Now

Poll

How many even-strength goals for Evgeni Malkin during the 2019-20 season? Over/under: 18.5

This poll is closed

  • 71%
    Over
    (797 votes)
  • 28%
    Under
    (323 votes)
1120 votes total Vote Now

Poll

How many points for Evgeni Malkin during the 2019-20 season? Over/under: 90.5.

This poll is closed

  • 51%
    Over
    (593 votes)
  • 48%
    Under
    (548 votes)
1141 votes total Vote Now

Kris Letang

When I say the Penguins need Kris Letang to win a Stanley Cup and argue with the “trade him he is overrated!” crowd I always get the 2017 Stanley Cup mentioned in return as an example of the Penguins do not actually need him to win.

While it is true they did win without him, it is also true that they were probably fortunate to get through the first two rounds without him and that they needed superhuman goaltending to win.

It is also true that while they won one without him, they have also won TWO with him playing significant roles and scoring huge goals along the way.

He is still one of the best defensemen in the world, and a couple of bad plays in a playoff series where everyone else around him messed the sheets just as much (if not more) is not going to change that.

Letang had a huge bounce back performance during the 2018-19 season and, once healthy, showed just how much of an impact player he can still be. The Penguins give up roughly the same number of goals with him on the ice versus when he is not on the ice, while also scoring significantly more with him.

Yes, he missed a lot of time again (17 games) but you can not argue with the impact he makes on the ice. He is still a key part of this team, forms one of the best defensive pairings in the league alongside Brian Dumoulin, and given the state of the defense around him is even more valuable now. As long as he is in the lineup, he is going to make the Penguins significantly better.

The over/under for Kris Letang this season:

Games played: 65.5
Goals: 14.5
Total points: 55.5

Poll

How many games played for Kris Letang during the 2019-20 season? Over/under: 65.5

This poll is closed

  • 69%
    Over
    (745 votes)
  • 30%
    Under
    (331 votes)
1076 votes total Vote Now

Poll

How many goals for Kris Letang during the 2019-20 season? Over/under: 14.5

This poll is closed

  • 55%
    Over
    (579 votes)
  • 44%
    Under
    (471 votes)
1050 votes total Vote Now

Poll

How many total points for Kris Letang during the 2019-20 season? Over/under: 55.5

This poll is closed

  • 72%
    Over
    (763 votes)
  • 27%
    Under
    (285 votes)
1048 votes total Vote Now