The Penguins’ 16-year playoff streak comes to an end as the Islanders secure their last wild card in the East

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The Pittsburgh Penguins were officially eliminated from postseason contention Wednesday when the Islanders clinched their final wild card berth in the Eastern Conference with a 4-2 victory over Montreal. Here’s what you need to know:

  • The Penguins’ streak of 16 consecutive seasons (2007-22) was the longest in the NHL’s salary cap era and the longest in any of the four major North American sports leagues.
  • Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin and Chris Letang — known in Pittsburgh as the Big Three — haven’t missed the playoffs since becoming teammates in 2006-07.
  • The Penguins are 9-10-1 since GM Ron Hextall moved in the week leading up to the NHL trade deadline (March 4).
  • The Penguins took control of their playoff destiny before losing 5-2 at home to the Chicago Blackhawks on Tuesday night.

the athleteInstant Analysis:

What happened

In fact, it is a situation that does not go well for these penguins. It’s been made through ill-fated personal decisions dating back to the past two seasons. A combination of misleading player evaluation and poorly designed Hextall trades and signings moved the Penguins from division winner (2021) out of the playoffs over his two-year tenure. He made the oldest team in the NHL older and greatly inflated the depth of the attackers and defenders. The Penguins haven’t conceded a reliable target, as Tristan Jarry and Casey Desmith have combined for a . 898 save percentage this season.

What comes next

Hextall, who has one year left on his contract, isn’t insured to return for a full third season. He and Brian Burke, the team’s president of hockey operations, were hired in February 2021 less than two weeks after the shock resignation of former GM Jim Rutherford. Hextall and Burke were hired by the team’s previous owners. The Penguins have been purchased by Fenway Sports Group (FSG) midway through the 2021-22 season, and FSG may see the end of the franchise’s announced postseason series as an opportunity to bring in its own management team. Coach Mike Sullivan, who has two years left on his current contract, received an extravagant extension last summer – and it’s hard to imagine FSG wanting to pay Sullivan not to coach for five full seasons.

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Looking forward to the offseason

The Penguins permanent commitment to 15 players totals $63,291,842 against the 2023-24 salary cap, which is just $82.5 million. Notable clients include Gary, winger Jason Zucker and defender Brian Dumoulin. The Penguins have at least three troublesome contracts — forwards Jeff Carter (1 year, $3.25 million), Mikael Granlund (2 years, $5 million average annual value) and defenseman Jeff Petrie (2 years, $6.25 million) — that will limit From existing flexibility this offseason. Carter is not eligible for the takeover.

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(Photo: Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)

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