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Penguins trade top prospect for Pettersson

December 3, 2018, 8:07 PM ET [300 Comments]
Ryan Wilson
Pittsburgh Penguins Blogger • RSSArchiveCONTACT
This day was always coming. The Penguins have traded their top prospect, Daniel Sprong, to the Anaheim Ducks. Daniel Sprong can officially join Derek Pouliot as a mangled asset by the Penguins organization. A player that they never invested time to find out what they had and waited too long to take advantage of the untapped potential angle.

The Penguins will be getting Petterson in return for Daniel Sprong. No not that Pettersson. They are getting Marcus.

Daniel Sprong’s career ends with the Penguins at 42 games with four goals and nine points. He played all of 366 minutes at even-strength for the team. It’s impossible to know where it goes from here for Sprong. His AHL numbers were very encouraging and he was never given linemates worth a damn in Pittsburgh when called up. Things aren’t going to get any easier for him heading over to the Ducks who are coached by the antiquated Randy Carlyle. Sprong may just be a player who never catches on as a result of the teams he has been on. Something he has had no say in. He’s not the first RFA to have this path and he won’t be the last.

So Sprong is gone. Marcus Pettersson will be the player the Penguins will hope will actually play NHL games. So far Marcus Pettersson is all Swedish and no finish. His track record does not point to an offensively minded defenseman

Nothing speaks to being offensively minded here, but to his credit in his 601 minute NHL sample he is a 0.81 points per 60 at even-strength which is decent. In fact, when you look at the past two years his 0.81 is almost better than Kris Letang (0.82) and is better than Brian Dumoulin (0.74), and Justin Schultz (0.73). It’s probably a little early to get excited because of the 600 minute sample. Much like it is a little early to be overly concerned with his 45.43 CF% and his 45.41 xGF%. Playing as a young defenseman under Randy Carlyle is probably one of the more difficult tasks in the NHL. I think you’ll see the offense go down and the possession go up.

I couldn’t find any passing tracking data from Ryan Stimson on Pettersson so I can’t claim to know his strengths and weaknesses in this area.

Here’s another look at his sample so far in the NHL

We only have ~600 minutes so we know slightly more about Pettersson as we do Sprong at the NHL level which isn’t all that much.

Unlike Daniel Sprong Marcus Pettersson got to play with players better than Riley Sheahan and Matt Cullen for the most part. His two most common players he shared the ice with were Adam Henrique (188) and Rickard Rakell (171). He next few were Ondrej Kase (145), Nick Ritchie (146), Ryan Getzlaf (143). His most common defense partner was Josh Manson at 104 minutes.

I believe Marcus Pettersson is the Penguins trying to find a left handed defenseman that makes Olli Maatta expendable. I don’t think that is bad strategy considering I think Maatta will probably have more trade value than actual value, although the team probably waited too long on that as well.

Overall you have a couple of teams hoping that they know how to fix and get the most out of prospects who are 22 years old with limited NHL experience. Personally, I don’t know why the Penguins were so hung up on what Sprong couldn’t do instead of the things he could do. Offensive players fall victim to this double standard more than defensive players do. A lot of time the “defensive” players don’t generate any offense and they aren’t good at defense. Nobody expects them to get better on offense. It’s frustrating to see assets that had potential value be run into the ground when it was completely avoidable. You would think a team in a win now window would do more to maximize the values of their futures on the trade market. You’d think wrong.

Thanks for reading!
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