The St. Louis Blues have pounded on the Boston Bruins and had a Cup-clinching game slip through their fingers but Boston has pushed back against St. Louis and a Columbus assault to also have a championship chance. The 2018 Washington Capitals pushed around the Tampa Bay Lightning and the Vegas Golden Knights before being able to drunkenly splash in public fountains all summer. The 2017 Pittsburgh Penguins took a beating but managed to win the Stanley Cup though they had nothing left to give the following year.
The Penguins are not the only team which has taken notice of the physical trend but they and the league are reacting differently this time. The league isn’t just moving towards a heavy game, it is doing so with a base of speed. And the Penguins offseason thinking, perhaps including the NHL Draft will be again be influenced by the changing game.
The Penguins realized their shortcoming in 2017. The ill-fated Ryan Reaves deal was an attempt to address it but the Penguins eventually realized a fourth line winger was not enough. Reaves’ trouble cracking the Penguins lineup didn’t help matters, either.