Tag Archives: Player Grades

Offseason Player Grades: Justin Schultz

2016-17 Regular Season

78 GP, 12 G, 39 A, 51 PTS, +27, 34 PIM

2016-17 Playoffs

21 GP, 4 G, 9 A, 13 PTS, +3, 4 PIM

Player Grade (A+)

Justin Schultz was the hero we needed this season in the absence of Kris Letang. The team needed someone to step up and he was the one to do it. Every game Schultz played smart and hard to keep our zone clear. On top of being a good defender, Schultz also wasn’t afraid to take opportunities up top to create plays and score goals. He is ranked 10th in goals, 4th in assists, and 5th in points for the Penguins’ regular season. He showed up every game and never ceased to amaze everyone.

Season Review/Preview

Schultz continued to step his game up this season and improved greatly from the last. This season was an all time high for games played, goals, assists, points, +/-, and shots. One of Schultz’s biggest highlights was the game tying goal, with a few minutes left, in the third period of game three in the Washington series. Although the game was lost in OT the goal caused a huge decrease in Washington’s morale as the Penguins already had a 2 game lead in the series. Next season, I expect Schultz to be treated with the respect he deserves and see him continuing to average 20 minutes or more of ice time, even with Letang’s return.

Offseason Player Grades: Olli Maatta

Regular Season Stats

GP:55  G:1  A:6  PTS:7  +/-:17  PIM:12

Playoff Stats

GP: 25  G:2  A:6  PTS: 8 +/-:8  PIM:12

Player Grade (B-)

I gave Olli Maatta a B- mainly because his play from game to game was that of a rollercoaster. During the beginning of the year he did not look good, but after his injury he looked a little better. Once the playoffs rolled around was when his rollercoaster effect came into play, but in the playoffs the majority of the games he actually played well in. He showed some great signs of progression and only a few minor lapses in his game. He is only 22 years old and will develop for a few more years.

Review

Maatta became a key factor around the tail end of the playoffs, and more specifically against Ottawa. He scored the opening goal in back to back games and provided the Pens with a much needed spark. Another notable accolade for him would be him taking social media by storm when a picture emerged of how Maatta handled the after effects of the parade.

Preview

I think this next season could very easily be Maatta’s best. His skating has already improved a ton and even though he may not have the speed of Kris Letang, he is still a good skater. I also believe that Sergei Gonchar will be able to fix the little lapses in his game during the offseason, and in turn lead to Olli being a key part of this next season.

Offseason Player Grades: Kris Letang

Regular Season Statistics

GP: 41, G: 5, A: 29, P: 34, +/-: 2

Playoff Statistics

None, Missed ya Tanger!

Player Grade (B)

If Kris Letang would have played a whole season and maybe racked up some more points, we probably could move him up to an ‘A’. Honestly a lot of people see him as an offensive defenseman, but in the 41 games played he only had 5 goals.

Review

Letang is the number one guy you think of when it comes to the Penguins defense. He is the backbone of those guys, and when he had his surgery nothing changed in the defensive core expect obviously the D-Line pairings. His numbers for the 41 games played aren’t terrible at all. Could they improve? Yes I truly believe they will with time to come and him returning from injury. 

Preview

Next season, I see Letang coming back to the role he has from season to season. He’s the leader of the Pens defense and their top guy. Watch for Letang to find more points next year, hopefully no injuries occur on his part. Keep an eye on the the defenseman point chart because we probably will see Letang up there most of the year. 

Conclusion

Letang is obviously one of the most beloved Penguins, as we saw the love shown to him by most fans at the victory parade. This neck surgery was just a little set back for him this season but next season wait until (hopefully around this time) next year to see that player grade rise to an ‘A’ because of the bright future and season to come from Kris Letang. 

Offseason Player Grades: Ian Cole

Regular Season Stats

GP:81, G:5, A:21, PTS:26, +/-:26, PIM:72

Playoff Stats

GP:25, G:0, A:9, PTS:9, +/-:2, PIM:22

Player Grade (A+)

Ian Cole may be the most underrated Penguins on the team this past year. Cole flew under the radar for most of the year with his exceptional defensive play and tremendous PK skills. But after these playoffs he is finally getting the recognition he deserves. Cole played like a top four defenseman all year while only being payed $900,000.

Review

Like I said before, Cole had a stellar year for the role he was assigned to, and arguably his best moment of the year came in that role.  His best moment was being a part of that long 5 on 3 PK and later the 5 on 4 PK at the tail end of game six of the SCF.

Preview

I think Cole will have another year similar to his last. He will still be a solid part of our penalty kill as well as possibly becoming a full-time top four defenseman depending on the Penguin’s offseason moves.

Offseason Player Grades: Carl Hagelin

2016-17 Regular Season

61 GP, 6 G, 16 A, 22 PTS, +10, 16 PIM

2016-17 Playoffs

15 GP, 2 G, 0 A, 2 PTS, -2, 19 PIM

Player Grade (C-)

This is the worst season Carl Hagelin has ever had, statistically. On top of having his worst ever recorded season, Hagelin made the poor decision to block a shot on March 8 in a game where the Pens were up 6-3. The shot caused him to break his fibula. He then decided to play on his broken leg the next game two days later. He didn’t return until the Washington series and didn’t really show up like we all expected. He was faster than most players on any team, but slower than Carl Hagelin should be. He didn’t really do anything to hurt the team, but he didn’t do much to help it either. If he were able to finish out the regular season, uninjured, his impact on the team would have been much greater. I blame the improper care of the injury for the lack of his production this postseason, which he has also claimed himself, and his inability to step his game up to where it should have been.

Season Review/Preview

Overall, Hagelin didn’t do anything exceptional this season except be fast and have nice hair. He sadly just wasn’t on top of it. One of his highlighting moments, though, was scoring the empty-netter in the Stanley Cup clinching game. For next season, I expect him to have more points per game, as he had .36 points per game for the 2016-17 season. I also expect him to work on getting his speed back up to par. All this is if GMJR decides to keep Hagelin into the 2017-18 season.

Offseason Player Grades: Patric Hornqvist

Regular Season Statistics

GP: 70 G: 21 A: 23 P: 44 +/-: 16

Playoff Statistics

GP: 19 G: 5 A: 4 P: 9 +/-: 6

Player Grade: (A)
Hornqvist filled his role greatly and did what was asked of him making him invaluable to the Penguins’ success.


Review

Patric Hornqvist is a guy every team wishes they had. He’s gritty he fights in the corners. He’s the pesky guy in front of the net, he’s a true hockey player. He’s proven he can play with the best by the way he’s played on lines with Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin. His 44 points in 70 games played is pretty worthy of an ‘A’. Don’t even get me started on the playoff performance, not to mention the game winner in game 6 of the Stanley Cup Finals against the Nashville Predators. That ‘A’ is rightfully deserved. 

Preview

Horny is gonna bust his butt from the first game of the season to the very last. Like I said he’s going to be that gritty guy in the corner and the pesky guy in front that tortures the goaltender. Look for Hornqvist to have a similar, if not better season point wise in 2017-18′. He will probably be up there in the Pens top 5 in points.

Conclusion

Mr Game 6? Is that the new name we call Patric Hornqvist? His sacrifices and grittiness helped the Penguins go back to back this season. Hornqvist is truly one of a kind, and a player like him is very hard to find. The Pens are very lucky to have a guy like Hornqvist and should really appreciate him as much as the fans do. 

Offseason Player Grades: Trevor Daley

Regular Season Statistics

GP 56, G 5, A 14, PTS 19, +7, PIM 37

Playoffs Statistics

GP 21, G 1, A 4, PTS 5, +7, PIM 24

Player Grade: (A-)

The minus comes because Trevor Daley produced less points this season compared to the 15/16 season while playing in three more games. However, for me put to the task of what needed to be done without Kris Letang for a large portion of the season and playoffs, by this D-core, it’s hard not to give them all A’s. Daley was tasked with playing alongside Olli Maatta who, at times, was not having his best of playoff series/games. Daley did everything in his power to be defensive first when coming back from injuries. While that was what was best for the team, his point production suffered for it. The end result, however, was worth it.

Review

Daley was tasked with replacing Ben Lovejoy‘s minutes, more specifically on the penalty kill. In doing so, Daley raised his shot blocking total to 83 while averaging 1.48 blocks per game. The more defensive role was slightly new to Daley. Many of his highlight throughout the season were defensive minded plays, blocked shots, and clearing rebounds. However, when given the opportunity Daley possesses excellent skating ability and a heavy and accurate shot from the point. Daley displayed his shot several times and most notably in the game 5 rout of the Ottawa Senators in the Stanley Cup Playoffs. In doing so, Daley was a part of the resurgence of the Penguins power play. Trevor Daley’s abilities allow him to take on many roles in what was a very depleted defensive unit during parts of the season and playoffs.

Preview

Daley took a contract with the Detroit Red Wings to play a similar role with them. If Daley can stay healthy and not suffer any more lower body injuries as he has the past two seasons, I expect Daley could have a career high in points.

Conclusion

Daley and the rest of the defensive core minus Letang are highly underrated as individuals. However, as we have seen from Daley these past two seasons, sometimes a player just needs to be in the right system from them to fit. Daley has thrived in the Penguins system and without a doubt will continue to do so. Daley’s hard work and willingness to move the puck help him out in that regard.