NHL Power Rankings Week One: Capitals, Lightning, Predators, And Ducks Are Favorites

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Mandatory Credit: Winslow Townson-USA TODAY Sports

#5 – Pittsburgh Penguins

The Pittsburgh Penguins hope to bring the Stanley Cup back to Pittsburgh for the first time since the 2009 season. Their forward core should give them an excellent chance of doing so.

STRENGTHS: They are not going to have any issues scoring goals. Phil Kessel, Sidney Crosby, Patric Hornqvist, Chris Kunitz, Evgeni Malkin, David Perron, and Pascal Dupuis are going to be able to score goals whenever they want. Nick Bonino is a great addition and should center their third line. Beau Bennett is a solid third or fourth line option. Their power play is going to be unbelievably good.

Kris Letang is arguably the best defenseman in the NHL when he’s healthy. Marc-Andre Fleury is better than people give him credit for. Once they get Eric Fehr back, they might have the best forward group in the league.

WEAKNESSES: They rely too much on Letang. Olli Maata and Benoit Pouliot are unproven. Ian Cole is solid but is much better off in a second pairing role. Should Letang get injured long-term, the Penguins are screwed.

OUTLOOK: It’s quite simple. If Letang’s healthy, they’ll contend. If he’s not, they won’t.

Next: #4