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Pittsburgh Penguins must recycle Bottom Six – Hockey Writers – Pittsburgh Penguins

The Pittsburgh Penguins have a lot of work to do this summer, especially when it comes to the bottom six. The lack of deep scoring has been a problem for a few years now, and it’s about time the Penguins got it. General manager Kyle Dubas will recycle the bottom six in the offseason and hopefully bring in more help.

Jesse Puljujarvi

In February, Pittsburgh signed Jesse Puljujarvi to a two-year contract with an average annual value (AAV) of $800,000. He played 22 games this season and scored three goals and one assist for four points. His numbers underneath were solid, but he didn’t do anything exciting when he was on the ice.

A big part of the reason for Puljujarvi’s lack of involvement on the scoreboard is consistent playing time. Head coach Mike Sullivan should play him a lot next season and won’t be able to bench him after a small mistake. He also struggled with injuries for most of the season and couldn’t get into a rhythm.

Next season, Puljujarvi should be a full-time under-six on the third line. He has good puck possession and is a low forechecker. Given a good third-line center to feed him the puck, he has the potential to be a solid depth player. However, he is not the type of player who can create an offense and is not expected to run the third line himself. That will make him fail. He definitely still has some untapped offensive potential that will emerge if the right pieces are in place.

Jesse Puljujarvi, Pittsburgh Penguins (Photo by Joe Sargent/NHLI via Getty Images)

There is no doubt that Puljujarvi will have to prove himself next season. His past problems can be easily explained by looking at his injury history. At 26 years old, he has to prove that he has what it takes to succeed in the NHL. The 2024-25 season will be a fresh start and a big chance for him to prove that he can be a part of the Penguins’ future.

Dakota Joshua

Dakota Joshua of the Vancouver Canucks will be a free agent on July 1, and several teams are keeping an eye on him. The Canucks were eliminated in the second round of the playoffs by the Edmonton Oilers in Game 7, and Joshua played a big part in their success this season. He appeared in 63 regular season games and tied a career high with 18 goals. During his time with Vancouver, he scored four goals and had four assists for eight points in 13 games.

Joshua can reach the net and score goals. He is also an extremely consistent player, as he led the Canucks in regular season goals with 244, which ranked ninth in the NHL. He is also good at penalty killing.

Related: Penguins Still Falling Short in Key Areas

Joshua is exactly the type of player the Penguins need. However, if he becomes available on July 1, Pittsburgh won’t be the only team interested. He will be in high demand and looking for a raise. This could be one of the toughest deals of the summer, but if Dubas is presented with the opportunity, he should make it a priority.

Decision Time

With the draft less than a week away and free agency around the corner, it’s time for the Penguins to start making decisions. Bottom six has long been a problem that needs to be fixed. It should be clear by now that they won’t win without scoring deep.

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