The Pittsburgh Penguins have won four Stanley Cup Playoff series in the past five seasons, a stretch preceded by back-to-back trips to the Stanley Cup Final with what was the NHL's best collection of young star power.
When Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin are healthy and on the roster, the expectation is to win four playoff rounds every season. There has been plenty of regular-season success in Pittsburgh, but the roster has eroded around them and losing three straight games after taking a 3-1 series lead against the New York Rangers in the second round meant the end for general manager Ray Shero and, eventually, coach Dan Bylsma.
New GM Jim Rutherford has tried to bolster the Penguins' depth, and he's earned deserved praise for some low-cost, low-risk additions. His big roster move, trading talented sniper James Neal for Patric Hornqvist and Nick Spaling, played to mixed reviews.
The other big acquisition is coach Mike Johnston, who had plenty of experience as an NHL assistant and plenty of success with Portland in the Western Hockey League, but is now the lead guy at this level for the first time.