Keys to the offseason

Keys to the offseason for NHL teams, including draft, free-agency game plans 🏒

The 2021 NHL season was -- hopefully -- the most unique campaign that any of us will witness. Arenas had reduced numbers of fans -- or no fans -- and as a result of the U.S.-Canada border being closed, the divisions had to be realigned to sequester the Canadian teams; that decision led to the league adopting intradivisional play throughout the regular season (and the first two rounds of the playoffs).

The Penguins actually outplayed the Isles for a lot of the series. While Pittsburgh is deeper than it has been in previous years, there's still something off about the supporting cast surrounding Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin. The truth is, neither superstar -- 33 and 34 years old, respectively -- can truly take over a series anymore. But with their prime windows closing, it's frustrating to see yet another early playoff exit. The Penguins' front office has a summer of soul-searching ahead.