When Will the Pittsburgh Penguins Embrace a Rebuild?

Sportsnet: Rob Rossi on the Jeff Marek Show on why the Pittsburgh Penguins won’t do a rebuild while Sidney Crosby is around.

** NHLRumors.com transcription

Marek: “I think we’re all sort of looking for what the strategy is here for Kyle Dubas, the new general manager of the Pittsburgh Penguins. It seems to me, you’re there, you’re a lot closer obviously and plugged right in.

It seems as if the strategy is this, ‘Look, we have Crosby, we have (Evgeny) Malkin, we have (Kris) Letang. As much as we want to your point Rob, you know build up the American League team and turn into a hothouse for talent. We need to get more prospects in the pipeline here. We need to start creating the next wave of what this Pittsburgh Penguin team is going to be. But as long as we have those players I just mentioned, we need to stay competitive.

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The target I look at for the Penguins is this: for as long as Crosby, Malkin, Letang and now you throw (Erik) Karlsson in the mix as well are going to be on this roster, I don’t think anyone thinks we’re chasing Stanley Cups in Pittsburgh, but there’s a shot every year we can finish sixth in the Conference and make the playoffs. Maybe one year win a round, but were still going to stay competitive. We’re still going to make the playoffs. Long runs are in the rearview mirror.  But it’s still going to be a competitive team as long as Crosby’s here.

In the meantime, underneath all of this, we’re going to rebuild the prospect pool. We’re going to rebuild the American Hockey League team and all those other things you talk about.

So, when it’s time for Crosby, Malkin, Letang, Karlsson, to do whatever they’re going to do when their careers are over, we’ll have a new team ready to go.

Does that make sense to you?”

Rossi: “Ummm, almost. They want to win the Stanley Cup and they’re going to try to win the Stanley Cup. They believe that, I think accurately that the data shows if you get into the playoffs, you have a really good chance of making a deep run even if you’re not on the top-seeded teams.

They aren’t going to rebuild ever as long as Sidney Crosby is in Pittsburgh and Sidney Crosby this summer is gonna sign an extension to stay in Pittsburgh. He’s gonna finish his career here.

So the talk of rebuilding is, it’s something that I think a lot of people around here talk about but I think they look forward to it more because they associate rebuilding with getting a number one pick and ending up with a (Mario) Lemieux or Crosby. It’s not the way it really works.

I think their window for this particular group is probably this year and the next two. That’s when Malkin’s contract runs out.

But they’re not going to embrace a rebuild until Crosby’s done playing fully. They are trying to remake the prospects system and so that they can continue adding good players around him. But, you know, as I said, if Sidney Crosby wants to play until he’s 45, the Penguins are going to be a go-for-it mode until he’s 45. That’s just the way it is. That’s what Fenway has made clear.

Is There Any Friction Between Steven Stamkos and the Tampa Bay Lightning?

They don’t want to do it at the expense of gutting the system. But to be honest, there’s not much left to gut. So, you know, I think Dubas has, he has a seven-year contract. He’s pretty big security but you know, they believe they can win again here. And they’re going to keep doing that till something shows them conclusively they can’t.