Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Penguins Mid-Season Report Card

The Pens now have 41 games in the books, which is exactly half a season, so I figured what better time to issue a report card on the Pens season. Anybody who played even 1 game for the Pens this season qualifies as getting some sort of a grade.
Evgeni Malkin
I'm only issuing one A for this team and that absolutely has to go to Geno Malkin. He's far and away the league points leader, so despite the wishes of many that he shoot more and score more and go to the net more, it's hard to view him as anything other than the best player on the team
Alex Goligoski, Sidney Crosby
I know there are also people who aren't as pleased with Sid's play either, but I mean c'mon, the guy is simply spectacular. As for Goligoski, he's been the biggest surprise of the season in my book.
Ruslan Fedotenko, Petr Sykora, Tyler Kennedy, Dany Sabourin, Brooks Orpik
I debated giving Petr Gun an A-, as he has been a steadying and solid presence for the Pens on the wing, and has been consistent. The stats just aren't there to justify an A- though, so I stuck him with a B+. Russie Fedotenko has quietly been a nice addition, and I am definitely a bit concerned about his potential hand injury, as that would be a definite negative impact. TK continues to be a spark plug and give more effort than anyone on the team not named Sidney Crosby. He's like the Penguin version of Rudy. Sabo gets a B+ because he finally proved he can be a good long-term fill-in if Marc-Andre Fleury were to go down with an injury. As for Brooksy, he continues as a dominant and physical blue-liner and his play hasn't tailed off after signing that huge deal in the offseason.
Kris Letang, Jordan Staal, John Curry, Dustin Jeffrey
Letang has continued to develop into a top offensive defenseman, and if the productivity continues to increase, he will eventually make Ryan Whitney expendable (read: this offseason). J-Staal has come under some fire by certain fans, but he has once again remembered how to score goals, and though I still hate his inconsistencies on offense, he's been terrific yet again defensively. I give John Curry a B for his surprisingly competent performance in the few games he saw, and the same goes for Dustin Jeffrey, who looks like he might have enough to stick.
Matt Cooke, Pascal Dupuis, Mike Zigomanis, Marc-Andre Fleury, Rob Scuderi, Darryl Sydor, Tim Wallace
Matt Cooke has been basically exactly what we wanted him to be, but hasn't been anything more than that either, so he gets slotted in here. Pascal has figured out how to score some goals, but the total points still aren't really there. I'd feel much better about him if he'd been playing the entire season on the third line, but that's not his fault. Zigomanis was also exactly what we thought he'd be- an absolute force of nature on faceoffs and... that's about it. Flower's injury derailed his season- again- and now I'm not sure he's 100% yet and has been only okay since his return. The Scud missile has been a solid presence for the D. Sydor played very well in the few games Therrien let him on the ice before he got dealt. And Tim Wallace is a frisky player and has been better than what we could have expected.
Miroslav Satan, Max Talbot, Jeff Taffe, Paul Bissonette
Miro has been one of the players who has been a popular target of the recent venom spewed forth by the Pens fans. The numbers are solid for Satan, and let's be honest: we knew what we were getting when the Pens signed the guy. Mad Max has been a disappointment this year in my book. He's a staggering -15 and has put up just 7 points this season. Not quite what we wanted to see out of our favorite superstar. If this keeps up, he may lose his sponsorship deals. Jeff Taffe consistently makes me feel "mehhhhh" and I don't expect that to ever change. Paul Bissonnette has been shuttled back and forth to Wilkes-Barre, and I would prefer to see him stay there permanently now that the D is getting healthier.
Phillippe Boucher, Ben Lovejoy, Eric Godard, Ryan Stone, Connor James
I was no fan of the Phillippe Boucher trade, and his play this year has done nothing to alter my mind. I barely remember Ben Lovejoy and Ryan Stone's 2 games here and Connor James' 1 game, so it's hard to do anything but slap them with a C. Eric Godard does what we want him to do (fight and instigate and play 4 minutes a game) and nothing else.
Mark Eaton, Hal Gill
I'm not sure Eaton's really recovered from the serious injuries of the last 2 seasons. He isn't the same player he once was, and if he isn't suicidally blocking shots, he isn't worth keeping around any longer, as his other skills don't justify a spot for him. As for Halbert Gill, I've been disappointed by his play. He is still pretty physical, but I cringe when he handles the puck.
Chris Minard
When Minard touches the puck, he might as well just pass it to the other team immediately because he's basically useless with it in hand. I can't fail him though because the guy had pretty much zero expectations attached to him at season's start.
Bill Thomas, Janne Pesonen
These two signings were touted in the offseason as being smart-shopping bargains, yet neither one has done anything but hurt the Pens so far this season. Billy Thomas had the local appeal but did nothing in his very brief stint. As for Pesonen, he was looked upon as a possible winger for Sid or Geno, but he's not even been fit for the wing on Jeff Taffe or Dustin Jeffrey's line.
Ryan Whitney
I can't really give Whitters a truly fair grade because he's clearly still having some trouble in his recovery, and isn't at the full height of his powers just yet.


Jonathan Bryant said...

Good list man, but I think you were too generous. I'd disagree with you about a couple things:
1 Sabourin doesn't get a B+. I still don't think he's a worthy long-term sub, and wasn't as impressed by his play as the numbers indicate.

2 I don't think Staal deserves anywhere near a B. Maybe a C. I just don't see it with this guy. I'd rather they just trade him now while he's still got value. His lack of offense just drives me crazy.

3 How does Miro Satan get anything but an F? That guy just skates around the ice like he's at the community rink during an open session. He drives me nuts.

Ryan said...

Well evidently Ray Shero and company disagree with you about J-Staal...