Pittsburgh Penguins: Small Sample Size Didn’t Do Evan Rodrigues Any Favors In 2019-2020
We continue our breakdown of the Pittsburgh Penguins 2019-2020 season with individual player recaps. Today will feature Evan Rodrigues.
When Evan Rodrigues asked to be traded away from the Buffalo Sabres, he was banking on himself that given an increased role he would produce more.
It was just a year prior that he scored a career high across the board in goals, assists, and points (9+20-29) in 74 games played.
However Rodrigues still struggled to get into the lineup last season, and at the time of getting traded to the Pittsburgh Penguins, he had just nine points (5 G, 4 A) in 38 games.
It didn’t get any better in Pittsburgh, as he continued to play sparingly, and in seven games he registered a lone goal.
The offseason is where things got interesting for Rodrigues. A pending restricted free agent, his rights were traded to the Toronto Maple Leafs in the deal that brought Kasperi Kapanen back to the Penguins.
After not getting qualified a contract, Rodrigues became an unrestricted free agent, eventually resigning with the Penguins to an one-year deal, worth the league minimum of $700,000.
Rodrigues: By The Numbers
During his senior season at Boston University, Rodrigues registered 40 assists in 41 games, a feat that more than likely had something to do with Jack Eichel being there, but nonetheless, an impressive number.
The 27-year old Rodrigues also registered 20 assists two years ago with the Sabres, but last season, he didn’t produce much as a playmaker, posting one of the worst primary assist rate in the league.
Looking at projecting towards next season, it should be an encouraging sign that despite his poor goal rate (G/60), based off his high shot volume (Shots/60), and his expected goal rate (ixG/60), there is a chance he finds the back of the net more often going forward.
However, when looking at last season, it was a rough one for Rodrigues, who didn’t really have any metric jump off the charts outside the fact he shoots the puck a lot.
He struggled putting the puck in the back of the net so much it didn’t matter how much he shot it, he wasn’t finishing.
Not only was he not creating for himself, his team was as close to a black hole when it came to offense. He posted a positive possession metric, but that didn’t mean much because they weren’t scoring much at all when Rodrigues was on the ice.
All things considered, his expected goal share wasn’t nearly as bad as it should be given how low the opportunities came around in the offensive zone.
In most situations, Rodrigues probably doesn’t get another look at the NHL without at least doing something in the minors first.
He did sign for the league minimum, but the Penguins are apparently high on him. A right-handed shot, his versatility alone would be a bonus to keep around, especially with the uncertainty of how the fourth line may shake out.
The high-shot volume, and the fact his ixG/60 was higher than his G/60 actually gives me hope there is a little extra there we haven’t seen yet. Maybe he’ll find it this season, or maybe he’ll be everything the rest of the metrics say about him.
If the Penguins really want to get faster and more skilled throughout their entire lineup, Rodrigues is the kind of player that will find himself in the rotation for playing time.
What did you think about Rodrigues in his brief time in Pittsburgh? Did you see anything in his game that has you excited? What kind of expectations do you have for him this upcoming season? Let us know in the comment section below, subscribe to the site at the link at the top of the page and follow me on Twitter @AJ_Murfy and @SportBlogMurphy.