Courtesy of Point Park University

The 2019-20 prospectus: Sidney Crosby

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Sidney Crosby -- MATT SUNDAY / DKPS

This is the fourth installment in a series of profiles of members of their major-league roster, as listed alphabetically on the team's website. There will be one each weekday until all players have been addressed.

SIDNEY CROSBY

Age: 32
Size: 5 foot 11, 200 pounds
Position: Center
Acquired: First-round draft choice, 2005
Salary-cap hit: $8.7 million, through 2024-25
2018-19 NHL stats: 35 goals, 65 assists in 79 games.

How he fits: Anywhere, anytime in almost any role Mike Sullivan would care to give him.

Shortcomings: Well, he's getting a bit older, and even guys who have had Hall of Fame careers begin to become less productive at some point. And like the team he captains, Crosby is coming off a decidedly sub-par performance in the playoffs.

Strengths: He's strong and fast, has exceptional vision and instincts, is a creative playmaker and the team's finest faceoff man and possesses the best backhander in recent NHL history. Oh, and he's driven to succeed like few others. Beyond that, he's pretty much just another player.

Hidden variable: For all the attention Crosby's history with concussions and other major injuries has received over the years, he has appeared in 75 or more games in each of the past six seasons.

2019-20 expectations: There's no indication that a significant decline in Crosby's productivity or effectiveness, let alone his competitiveness, is imminent, so it's reasonable to expect him to perform at the level he has in recent seasons. And it's imperative that he do so if the Penguins are to have any chance of contending for a Stanley Cup.

The big question: Can Crosby, as captain and the undisputed leader in the locker room, help his teammates regain the drive, discipline and focus that contributed to their championships in 2016 and 2017, but seemed to be missing at times last season?

All profiles to date can be found here.

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