Showing posts from November, 2020

Pittsburgh Penguins By The Numbers: Jake Guentzel Contiues Climb To Elite Status

Photo Credit: Eric Hartline/USA Today Sports Today I continue my player recap series with a look at Jake Guentzel of the Pittsburgh Penguins . Make sure you go back and read my previous reports on Brandon Tanev and Sam Lafferty . It didn’t take long for Guentzel to make an impact at the NHL level, scoring on his first two shots in his debut against the New York Rangers. He hasn’t really slowed down since then, emerging as one of the better wingers in the game, a legitimate top line forward that Sidney Crosby hasn’t had in years - if at all. While there is a certain benefit that comes with one of the greatest players to ever play the game, Guentzel has shown to be a capable playmaker in his own right, with the ability to creat for himself and for others. During his first season, Guentzel helped the Penguins make it back to the Stanley Cup Final, tying the record set by Dino Ciccarelli and Ville Leino for most points by a rookie during the playoffs. Two seasons ago Guentzel became

Pittsburgh Penguins: Brandon Tanev Brings More Than Numbers To Team

Photo Credit: Kim Klement - USA TODAY Sports   If there is anything you can say about Jim Rutherford , it’s that he isn’t afraid to do what he feels is best for the team. There hasn’t a trade or signing that he has shied away from if he feels like it is going to better the team, no matter the cost. That case could be said for when he dished out one of the most perplexing signings last offseason, handing over a big, long-term contract to former Winnipeg Jet Brandon Tanev. Undrafted out of Providence College, Tanev spent his entire NHL career with the Jets before signing with the Pittsburgh Penguins during free agency during the past season. Coming off a career season that saw him register 25 points (11 G, 14 A), Tanev and the Penguins came to terms for a six-year, $21 million contract. Giving that kind of term, and salary (his average annual value is the same as near 30-goal scorer Bryan Rust ) was widely criticized at the time, but Rutherford believed that Tanev could help the team - s

Pittsburgh Penguins’ Player Report: Sam Lafferty Offers Versatility In Rookie Year

Photo Credit: Joe Sargent/Getty Images I wanted to start a new series. A player season recap of sorts that takes a look at how the player performed,  by the numbers, and an outlook for going forward. With one of the most intense ‘win-now’ mindsets in the league, the Pittsburgh Penguins haven’t been able to add many ‘blue-chip’ prospects to their organization. Instead they have had to rely on college free agents, and hitting on their mid-to-late draft picks to add depth to their roster. There may not be a bigger example of this than Pittsburgh-native Sam Lafferty . A former fourth round pick in 2014 - General Manager Jim Rutherford ’s first draft in Pittsburgh - Lafferty took the long route to the NHL, but eventually got there and after a rookie season that saw him play in 50 games, it earned him a two-year contract extension. Lafferty spent four-years at Brown University , registering 79 points (29 G, 50 A) while playing in 124 games. He would later play in parts of three seasons in

Detroit Red Wings: Analyzing Anthony Mantha’s New Contract

Photo Credit: Mike Mulholland/  The Detroit Red Wings locked up one of their center piece core players this week, signing forward Anthony Mantha to a four year deal, worth $22.8 million overall ($5.7 million average annual value). A former first round pick out of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League , Mantha posted back to back 20 goal seasons in 2017 and 2018. Before that he scored 50-plus goals in each of his last two seasons in the QMJHL. This past season Mantha was on a 30-goal, 72-point pace until an injury forced him to miss the majority of the season. At his best, Mantha is a physically opposing force with a skill set very much made for the new NHL. His body size allows him to play as physical as he wants, engaging in a number of fights over the years. That is unfortunately also why he has struggled to stay on the ice, as he has missed time in each of the last three seasons with an injury that resulted from a fight. “I want him to stay healthy. I think three of his