The future of the Pittsburgh Penguins defensive core may see some changes, but there is no doubt that they were a strong group in 2021-22.
According to Andy and Rono Hockey Stats, a pair of Penguins defensemen finished top 10 league wide for analytical portions of the game.
Marcus Pettersson finished sixth in the NHL as the top defensive defenseman; Kris Letang ended eighth as the top offensive defenseman.
When the Penguins acquired Pettersson, they aimed to utilize his two-way game and advance his puck moving abilities.
It seems rather that Pettersson is excelling as a shutdown defender, reaching the 98th percentile overall defensively.
The rating may be generous for Pettersson as his play as a defenseman took a dip later in the regular season and didn’t improve much in the playoffs.
Pettersson was healthy scratched for a handful of games down the stretch of the 2021-22 season.
In 72 games, Pettersson scored 19 points (2-17) averaging 15:39 minutes of ice time per game and finished fourth on the team in hits with 122.
Letang unsurprisingly finished highly as the NHL’s top offensive defenseman, and you don’t even need to look into the analytics to see why.
It’s been said numerous times, Letang put up a career year with 68 points (10-68) in 78 games.
Letang also finished with a plus-20 rating and hit the 94th percentile overall as an offensive defenseman.
By trade or free agency, it is uncertain if either Pettersson or Letang will return to the Penguins in 2022-23, but they had a successful 2021-22.
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