I would like to preface this post with a trigger warning: the optimists in the community will not want to read any of this because much of it assumes the Penguins will not climb out of the deep and desperate hole they’ve dug themselves in the first quarter of the season. If you’re not mature enough to handle the possibility that the Penguins could end the season with a high lottery pick rather than a Cup, then maybe don’t continue reading. Please understand that it is my position that either a Cup or a high lottery pick are both positive outcomes for this season, and that pretty much anything else (specifically, a near-miss to make the playoffs or a playoff exit before the Conference Finals) is not desirable. I wrote this post in consideration of the more likely scenario of the two positive positions. With three-quarters of the season still to go, anything is still possible, of course, but I would urge you all to not rule out this “worst case scenario” that I put forth below.