Maybe it's just not meant to be. The Penguins spent the first few months of the season without two of their top four D, minus key veteran support players and with a handful of mediocre new players to try to fill the gaps. Perhaps instead of deriding the team for wasting the work of the top two scorers in the league, we should give them a mild hat tip for nearly overcoming adversity. They did last year (minus their best goalie and best forward for an extended period of time), but how many times can a team pull that rabbit out of the hat?
It's still not impossible, just somewhat improbable, that the Penguins make the playoffs this year. The rest of February will be a huge test for a squad struggling with tests. However, if the Penguins can stay afloat, they have an eight game homestand toward the end of the season. That would be the team's best chance of sneaking into an eighth seed.
The question is: what value is there if the Penguins just get destroyed in the first round? It's possible with an ideal matchup Pittsburgh could upset someone, but the team's just in a funk right now.
A trade for a noteworthy player (sorry Garon) might be good for a run at the playoffs, but this team has deeper issues. Might the Penguins be sellers during the trade deadline?