Pittsburgh Penguins: Marcus Pettersson Continues To Grow Into Top-4 Role

Photo Credit - Philip G Pavely/USA TODAY Sports

It won’t be the first trade that will be brought when discussing Jim Rutherford’s tenure as General Manager for the Pittsburgh Penguins, but acquiring Marcus Pettersson from the Anaheim Ducks has certainly worked out for the team.

Drafted in the second round, 38th overall, back in 2014 out of Sweden, Pettersson joined a deep group of defensive prospects for the Ducks. Not being able to find playing time for him, and needing a boost offensively, Anaheim found a trade partner in the Penguins.

Pittsburgh traded struggling forward Daniel Sprong to Anaheim in exchange Pettersson. Sprong himself was a second round pick as well, but was never able to establish himself in the lineup for the Penguins, a new start for both players seemed like the right move.

Since coming to Pittsburgh, Pettersson has been a calming presence on the blue line for the Penguins. So much so that he earned a five year contract extension worth $20.1 million at the beginning of the year. 

Pettersson, along with the like of Brian Dumoulin, have grown into the new age of hockey’s version of shutdown defensemen. Still mobile, and with the move the puck out of their own end, Pettersson and Dumoulin have emerged as two of the better defensive defensemen in the league.

Pettersson: 2019-2020 By The Numbers

No one is ever going to mistake Pettersson for a high-scoring player from the blue line, but he is a good passer, something that even defensive-orientated players need now-a-days. 

Metric

Statistic

Percentile Rank

Goals per 60

0.11

26.3%

Primary Assists per 60

0.37

69.8%

Points per 60

0.79

52.6%

Shots per 60

3.64

20.3%

Shooting percentage

2.9%

37.5%

Expected Goals per 60

0.14

22.0%

Giveaways per 60

1.53

80.2%

Takeaways per 60

0.79

40.9%

As expected, Pettersson didn’t do much offensively, outside of being a better than average playmaker, posting a primary assist rate right at the 70th percentile.

He didn’t shoot the puck much, and didn’t have much success when he did. He did keep the turnovers down while having the puck on the stick, with only 1.53 giveaways per 60 minutes played at 5v5.

Corsi For %

51.9%

72.0%

Goals For per 60

2.80

77.2%

Goals Against per 60

2.35

58.2%

Goals For %

54.31%

74.1%

Expected Goals For per 60

2.31

60.3%

Expected Goals Against per 60

2.05

81.5%

Expected Goals For %

52.96%

76.7%

High Danger Chances For %

53.01%

75.9%

High Danger Goals For %

52.5%

64.2%

On Ice SH%

8.79%

67.7%

On Ice SV%

91.56%

37.1%

Offensive Zone Start %

55.41%


Pettersson was among the best in the NHL when it came limiting the oppositions scoring opportunities. His GF%, xGF%, and HDGF% all played out in his favor. 

All in total, Pettersson graded out better-than-average in all major metrics except his on-ice save percentage, something the entire team struggled with last season.

Season Outlook

Extension in tow, Pettersson is now a long-term part of the organization. With Dumoulin and Kris Letang entrenched in as the top pairing, Pettersson will slide into a top-four role with John Marino. Both are 24-years old or young, and both had breakout seasons last year.

With Jack Johnson (leading penalty killer in time-on-ice), and Justin Schultz (second most ice-time per game on the power play) gone, Pettersson could see more time on special teams this upcoming seasons.

Last season, Pettersson finished fourth in time-on-ice among defensemen on the power play for the Penguins, averaging 0:53 per game. He averaged 1:17 of ice-time per game while shorthanded for the Penguins.

What did you think of Pettersson so far during his Penguins tenure? What are your expectations for the upcoming season, and beyond? Let us know what you think in the comments below, subscribe to the site at the link above and follow me on Twitter @AJ_Murfy and @SportBlogMurphy.











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