Starting Six: Pittsburgh Penguins All-Time Lineup

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The Starting Six series comes to you to dive into the best player at each position all-time for every organization. The biggest and best at each position, with the most memorable moments in franchise history. Here is the Pittsburgh Penguins all-time lineup.

Starting Six: Pittsburgh Penguins All-Time Lineup

The Penguins have now been in the league for 50 seasons and they’ve experienced some really bad times and some great times as well. Many Hall of Fame players have played in Pittsburgh. They have five Stanley Cups, including being the reigning back-to-back Stanley Cup Champions, and have had generational talents such as Mario Lemieux, Jaromir Jagr, Sidney Crosby, and Evgeni Malkin all play for them. They’re in the midst of a modern day dynasty right now with three cups since 2009 but here’s a look at the Pittsburgh Penguins all-time lineup.

Center: Mario Lemieux (1984-97, 2000-06)

This was a given, right? Mario Lemieux was drafted number one overall in the 1984 NHL Entry Draft and quickly became one of the best players to ever play the game. The Penguins weren’t doing well up until that point and he saved the team not once but twice as he later bought the team during the 2000’s.

He won two Stanley Cups as a player and one of his greatest accomplishments was coming back from Hodgkin’s Disease and catching Pat Lafontaine in the scoring race during the 1992-93 season. In the Penguins final 20 games, Lemieux had 30 goals and 56 points to surge right back ahead of him and show the league just how dominant he really was. He had a 2.60 points-per-game average during that season.

Despite missing 50 games during their first Cup run in 1990-91, Lemieux came back for the Stanley Cup Playoffs and had 16 goals and 28 assists. One of his most famous goals came from that run as he split two Minnesota North Star defensemen and then made a spectacular deke for a goal:

During their next Cup run he missed time during the regular season but still won the Art Ross with 131 points and still led the playoffs in scoring after a suffering a broken hand. He had 78 points between those two playoff runs, only four points behind Gretzky’s record of 82 for the Oilers in 1984 and 1985.

He was able to come back from cancer and score in his first game back against the Philadelphia Flyers and got a standing ovation during the game. He accumulated 690 goals and 1,723 points throughout his career and it could’ve been a lot more had he not missed a lot of time with injuries and life threatening illnesses. He was still able to have an unbelievable career and be the best Penguins player in franchise history.

Right Wing: Jaromir Jagr (1990-2001)

Another pretty easy choice, right? Even though Jaromir Jagr has played for almost all of the teams in the Penguins division, his best seasons came when he was with the Penguins. He spent 11 seasons with the Penguins to start his career and got over 100 points four times. He spent most of his time with Mario Lemieux, when Mario was playing. And even without Mario he would always be on the top line. He had 1,079 points in 806 games during the 11 seasons he was with the Penguins, which is the most points he’s had with any team throughout his career.

Jagr won numerous regular season trophies, winning four Art Ross Trophies with Pittsburgh, one Hart Trophy, and two Ted Lindsay Trophies, not to mention being an all-star each season. His best statistical season with Pittsburgh came in 1995-96 when he finished with 62 goals and 149 points and finished fourth in Hart Trophy voting. He was also one of the most clutch players in Penguins playoff history, he had four overtime winners. Here’s one of them during the 1991 playoffs when the Penguins won the Cup:

Here’s another from the 1999 playoffs when Jagr not only tied the game with less than three minutes left in regulation, but then won it in overtime to send the series to Game Seven, when they eventually won the series:

There was some bad blood between some Penguins fans and Jagr after he signed with the Philadelphia Flyers a few years ago, but time heals all wounds. He’ll be in the rafters after his career is over and is one of the top three best Penguins players ever.

Left Wing: Kevin Stevens (1988-1995, 2000-2002)

Kevin Stevens played most of his career in Pittsburgh and he had his best numbers of his career while he played with the Penguins. Nicknamed “Artie”, he played ten years with the Penguins and accumulated 260 goals and 555 points in 522 games. One of his best seasons came when the Penguins won their second Stanley Cup back in 1992 and he had 54 goals and 123 points. That earned him an eighth place vote in the Hart Trophy voting. In 1993 he hit 111 points, which ended up being his second best season of his career.

Stevens was also outstanding for the Penguins in both of their Stanley Cup runs. In 1991 he had 17 goals and 33 points in 24 games, and then in 1992 he had 13 goals and 28 points in 21 games. He had one overtime game-winner in the playoffs and it came against the Washington Capitals in Game Two of their 1991 playoff series:

For his career he played 103 playoff games with Pittsburgh and had 46 goals and 106 points. He’ll go down as one of the most underappreciated Penguin players ever. He deserves his fair share of praise for how much he helped in getting the Penguins back-to-back Stanley Cups in 1991 and 1992.

Defenseman: Paul Coffey (1987-92)

Paul Coffey is not just the best defenseman in Penguins history, but one of the best defenseman to play in NHL history. He’s not in the top five per say, but there’s certainly a spot for him down near the 6-10 range. He played with the Penguins for five seasons and has the second most points of his career with them. Edmonton is the only team he had more points with. In 331 games with the Penguins he had 108 goals and 440 points, including two seasons where he got over 100 points. He finished top ten in the Norris Trophy voting each year he was with Pittsburgh. He had his best season in 1988-89 where he had 30 goals and 113 points.

Francis won four Stanley Cups throughout his career, but won just one of them with Pittsburgh as he was traded during the 1991-92 season, which is when they went back-to-back. When he won with them the season prior to that, he had two goals and 11 points in 12 games. Here’s some of Paul Coffey’s best highlights while he was in Pittsburgh, a time when he absolutely destroyed goaltenders:

Despite not being with the Penguins for most of his career, he’ll always be a fan favorite among the fans who watched him light the lamp like they had never seen before as a defenseman.

Defenseman: Sergei Gonchar (2005-10)

This was a tough decision putting Sergei Gonchar on here over Larry Murphy who had more points than him throughout their respective careers. Gonchar produced very well offensively, and his ability to quarterback the powerplay and be a shutdown defenseman was amazing. He spent five years with the Penguins after spending his first ten years with the Washington Capitals. He had 54 goals and 259 points in 322 games with the Penguins. His best season came during 2006-07 when he had 13 goals and 67 points.

In the Penguins Cup run in 2009, Gonchar had three goals and 14 points and one of the three came during Game Three of the Stanley Cup Final against the Red Wings. He got the game-winning goal a little over halfway into the third period:

His cannon of a shot from the point was deadly many times while he played with Pittsburgh. And the way he made the powerplay dominant was just spectacular to watch. He’ll go down as one of the most underrated players to ever put on a Penguins uniform, despite being in this all-time lineup.

Goaltender: Marc-Andre Fleury (2003-04, 2005-17)

Even though Marc-Andre Fleury has had a lot of ups and downs throughout his career, he’s still the best goaltender in Penguins history. He was one of the biggest reasons why they won the Cup this past season and in 2009. Fleury has never had the elite level stats that goaltenders such as Henrik Lundqvist, Carey Price, and Braden Holtby have, but he’s come up huge in so many key situations for the Penguins. He also holds the record for the most wins by a Penguins goaltender with 375, and the most playoff wins of any Penguins goaltender with 62.

Here’s his save on Nicklas Lidstrom in Game Seven of the 2009 Stanley Cup Final that sealed the cup to the Penguins (near the end of the video):

That will go down as his best save ever in a Penguin uniform. After his struggles in the playoffs for a few years, he rebounded in a big way this past season as he stepped in for Matt Murray. He won nine games and had a .924 save percentage, and was arguably the biggest reason why the Penguins got to the Eastern Conference Final. Without him stealing a couple games against the Capitals, they may not even be the Stanley Cup Champions today.

Main Photo:

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