Despite a barrage of injuries and more callups from Wilkes-Barre/Scranton than anyone anticipated, the Penguins are off to a strong start in 2019-20. They're succeeding by playing quintessential Mike Sullivan hockey. North-south, up-tempo skating. Ferocious back checking. Battling in the corners for possession. Smart decisions with the puck. They look nothing like the club that got swept out of the first round of last year's playoffs while playing fire wagon hockey.
And the poster boy for the inspired, opportunistic and responsible Penguins?
None other than Kris Letang.
While he has long been one of the best all-around defensemen on the planet, Letang has drawn ire from fans and analysts for going rogue and creating chances for the opposition. He was the subject of trade rumors this past offseason, and Jim Rutherford didn't exactly shoot them down. But Letang has arguably been the Penguins' MVP so far this year by playing the best two-way hockey of his 14-year career.