One questionable part on the Penguins lineup when the NHL season resumes later this summer was going to be Nick Bjugstad. Bjugstad has been oft-injured but could have been a lower line center. That won’t come to pass though:
Jim Rutherford says that Nick Bjugstad had a setback with his injury. He mentions Bjugstad had surgery and will not be available for the rest of the season. More details will be provided soon.— Pittsburgh Penguins (@penguins) May 27, 2020
Tough break, Bjugstad’s 2019-20 season will be just 11 games long due to two separate injuries that zapped his lower body and rendered him unable to stay in the lineup. He scored just one goal and added no assists. The Penguins still do have plenty of other forward depth, as they haven’t been able to rely on Bjugstad to play this year too much anyways, but it’s still a disappointing end for all parties.
However, the news from the GM wasn’t all negative today:
Jim Rutherford on the status of @jakenbake20: "Jake is going through his rehab. Things are progressing fine. We still have a ways to go before we start playing. We are optimistic that he will be ready to play."— Pittsburgh Penguins (@penguins) May 27, 2020
The Penguins could not have foreseen that Jake Guentzel would be available for the start of the playoffs. Adding him to Jason Zucker, Bryan Rust and some combination of Conor Sheary, Patrick Marleau or Patric Hornqvist gives the Pens’ their best top-six wingers in quite a while.
There was a small nugget of business news as well:
Penguins GM Jim Rutherford: "It's very hard to project for next year, but the one thing Ron and Mario have said is that we will contend and we will be a cap team."— Pittsburgh Penguins (@penguins) May 27, 2020
Pittsburgh has had top class ownership since Mario Lemieux was able to team up with Ron Burkle, and from the top they’ve spared no expense to ensure that the Sidney Crosby era could be as successful as possible on the ice. That management has assurances that will continue, even in these uncertain times, is not unexpected but still a nice relief. And, from ownership, franchise value increases with championships. That’s the big prize in the long run, even beyond the year-to-year operation. Still, any business that is effected by unknown gate revenue in 2020 has to consider real world realities.