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Penguins Falling Back Into the Grit Trap

January 28, 2015, 9:16 AM ET [690 Comments]
Ryan Wilson
Pittsburgh Penguins Blogger • RSSArchiveCONTACT
First things first. The Penguins had a pretty nice win against a good hockey team last night in their first game back since the all-star break. Some quick hit thoughts on the game before I get into the Goc/Lapierre trade.

It was a pretty even game.

Thank you to the Jets for starting Ondrej Pavelec after the long break.

David Perron is a pleasure to watch.

Simon Despres is a top four defenseman. The Penguins shouldn’t feel as though they definitely need to trade for one. Play Pouliot with Scuderi, this needs to start immediately.

Great to see all four of the Penguins top six wingers in the lineup last night (Kunitz, Hornqvist, Perron, Bennett). It is a pretty decent group of players and you still have Comeau/Downie able to slide up.

Dustin Byfuglien is a great defenseman. It would be incredibly foolish for the Jets not to leave him there. The Jets would then have a surplus of pretty decent players at that position and could make a trade for an impact forward, making them even better.

Kris Letang is a beast.


OK on to the trade. It isn’t great whatever your feelings on the Sutter/Goc comparisons are/were.

You trade to get better, this doesn’t accomplish this goal. Goc was very cheap insurance at the center position and that is now gone. Maxim Lapierre is assumingly being brought in for his grit but as we all should have learned by now, grit absent the ability to drive possession is a bad scenario as opposed to the best case scenario of grit and the ability to drive possession.

Domenic Galamini of Own the Puck creates some really cool stuff that breaks down players and if they are performing at a 1st line level, 2nd line level, third line level, and fourth line level.

Spin it however you want this doesn’t make the Penguins tougher to play against. The ability to suppress the other team’s shooting ability is what makes a team tough to play against not the grit narrative. Past five Stanley Cup Champions:

Hockey is littered with lucky goals. The best way to avoid them is to suppress shots. The alternative to this is to do what Boston did and that is to have a goaltender in Tim Thomas who put together one of the greatest seasons in league history. Right now Pittsburgh is seventh with a CA/60 of 52.0.

Goc happened to be very good in this department.

Let’s now have a comparison of some familiar bottom six names from recent memory.

Yeah, that isn’t good company to keep.

So why did I add Daniel Winnik to the chart?

The addition of Winnik would be a good move. No idea on if the Penguins will keep pursuit of him or not. They should because that would help alleviate what they lost in Goc.

EDIT 10:30 AM

*Thank you Domenic Galamini for creating the Winnik chart for me this morning*

Winnik is exactly the type of player you want to acquire to bolster your depth in my opinion. First line ability as a shot suppressor as well as a playmaker, great stuff Domenic.

Ultimately usage was what damned Goc during his tenure in Pittsburgh. Craig Adams and Zach Sill were not involved in the trade so it is likely he will do just fine with St. Louis.

Since the calendar changed to 2015 Goc played more frequently away from those two players and he was able to bump his 5v5 points/60 to 2.4 which was way up from 0.4. It is only an 8 game sample, but clearly showed he had more to give when not playing with terrible players.

Water under the bridge at this point.

Thanks for reading!

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