Hextall was brought in as the Pittsburgh GM to right the ship due to his experience in building winners. The logic of ownership being that Hextall knows how to build a team up and Pittsburgh desperately needing it.
It's a match made in heaven as years of cup-chasing and draft pick splurges have left Pittsburgh in hockey purgatory. Good enough maybe for a 7th-10th spot, but nothing more than that. Faced with a slumping team and a declining core, Hextall has his work cut out for him.
Yet, as if a hard job wasn't already hard enough, ownership have added an extra tidbit in a "Win Now" mantra. The owners amnesia seems to have glossed over the fact they have been trying this since their heyday several years ago. It hasn't worked up until now and isn't about to begin anytime soon. The team has degraded too far.
Worse yet, it handicaps the type of trade Hextall will need to make if he is going to fix this team properly and avoid the band-aid solutions of the past.
The Penguins are literal swiss cheese up and down the lineup with all the holes they have. There is no easy fix with the trade of a fringe player or a depth signing.
Looking across the three positions they are not looking so good.
Not a pretty sight in net right now with De Smith and Jarry. These guys have not been able to bail out their team. AT ALL. Sure, they haven't been helped by the D, but they have been far from good. Where was Pittsburgh in this summers goalie market?
How times have changed. The big two look mortal now as age settles in. Malkin and Crosby can no longer carry it all on their own. This team needs more from the line up overall. As a team they sit 23rd in GF, 13.9% on the PP and a -8 in goal differential. Yikes.
Wow...what to say.... I like the rookie Joseph....and Letang....Well....I guess he has the potential to regain some form... But as for the rest; they need an upgrade. They sit 21st in GA. Though somewhat to their credit they are at least 11th in the league in PK.
So not looking too good positionally. As an organization they are sitting poorly in the draft as well. Pittsburgh possess only their 2nd and 5th round picks in the 2021 draft due to trades made the last year.
So, how does Hextall fix this? Definitely not by trying to bring in people to play with Crosby and Malkin. It's too far gone for that. Rutherford showed there was a limit to what they could do.
The only way to fix it..... Is to trade one of them.
Yes I said it.... It has to be done. You could make the argument of Letang, but I don't think he nets the return needed. Hextall will have to deal one of them. How he will do that and remain competitive is beyond me, but nothing changes facts.
Pittsburgh has to give it up. They have to trade Malkin or Crosby.
You may ask why I simply don't say Malkin given Crosby's venerated status within Pittsburgh. I won't be cliche and cite Gretzky, but I will cite potential return for him over Malkin. Malkin is a star and will put up points, but he has not been great to start. While unlikely, it could dampen his return in a tough trade market.
So thus, the potential remains that Sid could be the one to go to fetch the return needed.
That all being said, whether you think its Sid or Malkin, one of them HAS to go. There is no way this team does anything different otherwise.
What do you think? Can Hextall fix the team without trading one of them? Or will he be doomed to repeat the mistakes of his predecessor?