Pittsburgh Penguins 1st Half 2019-20

The Pittsburgh Penguins completed the first half of the 2019-20 NHL season this weekend, although I forgot to save the data so we are actually looking at their first 42 games of the season rather than 41. I started typing this up 2 days ago and they have already played their 43rd game, but the data is all only through 42.


Team Data

The Pens went 25-12-5 (18-7-5-12) through the first half, outscoring their opponents 140-113 while outshooting their opponents 1402-1244. They are 3rd in the Metropolitan Division, 4th in the Eastern Conference, and 5th in the NHL with a 65.5 P%.

They are 7th in the league with 3.33 goals for per game, 5th with 2.69 goals against per game, and 3rd with a 55.3% goal differential. They are 7th in the league with 33.4 shots for per game, 6th with 29.6 shots against per game, and 4th with a 53.0% shot differential. This makes them 13th with a 10.0 Sh%, 9th with a 90.9 Sv%, and 12th with a 100.9 luck differential.

They scored on 21/119 power play opportunities for a 17.7 PP% (#22 in the NHL) and stopped 89/109 opportunities against for an 81.7 PK% (#9). They are 8th in the league scoring 5 shorthanded goals for and gave up 3 shorthanded goals against which is 5th fewest in the league.

In 5-on-5 situations the Pens were 7th with 2.82 GF60, 8th with 2.25 GA60, and 4th with a 55.7 GF%. Then they were 8th with 32.7 SF60, 4th with 28.6 SA60, and 3rd with a 53.3 SF%. Overall then they are 10th with an 8.6 Sh%, 12th with a 92.1 Sv%, and 13th with a 100.8 PDO.

Offensively they have made their chances count as the are 3rd in the league with 18.2 SCSF60 and 4th with 9.1 HDSF60. They have also been quite good at limiting their opponents chances against as they are 5th with 15.2 SCSA60 and 9th with 7.6 HDSA60.

Overall the Penguins are doing quite well, they are in the top quarter of the league in most stat categories and playing in a division with three of the top five teams in the league. Not to mention the injuries they have had this year, including some top players. The major cause for concern is their power play, they are having issues making things work after losing Kessel in the off-season and Crosby to injury. They also only average in Sh% and Sv%, but they still come out ahead so it isn’t a cause for concern.



Murray had 24 starts going 12-6-4 with a 2.92 GAA and 89.6 Sv%. The team has played solid D in front of him, however, as he is 65th out of 78 NHL netminders facing 15.1 scoring chance shots against per 60. However, they are just average at limiting the odd-man attack as he is 41st with 1.4 rush shots against per 60, but they do clear the crease well as he is 61st with 2.9 rebounds against per 60. He is 34th in GAA and 56th in Sv%, as well as being 56th with a -8.17 GSAA and 41st with a 2.8 GPS (#65 per game).

Jarry had 18 starts going 13-6-1 with a 1.99 GAA and 93.5 Sv%. The team has played solid D in front of him, however, as he is 61st out of 78 NHL netminders facing 15.3 scoring chance shots against per 60. However, they are just average at limiting the odd-man attack as he is 40th with 1.4 rush shots against per 60, but they do clear the crease well as he is 66th with 2.7 rebounds against per 60. He is 2nd in GAA and 4th in Sv% but the guys ahead of him have only played a handful of games, as well as being 2nd with a 15.68 GSAA and 16th with a 5.0 GPS (#6 per game).

The Penguins began the season relying heavily on Murray, although since mid-November they seem to have shifted to using Jarry more often. They still deploy the goalies as a tandem, rotating between them both, but lately Jarry has been getting about twice as many starts as Murray. Of course looking at their stats it is easy to see why, Jarry has been having the type of season that could get him some Vezina votes, although with a lower number of starts and wins he is unlikely to be in the running to actually win it. It is worth noting that their on-ice numbers (scoring chances, rebound, rush shots) are quite similar, and Murray even faces fewer shots against on average, so its not as if Jarry is so much better because the team is sheltering him, he is just simply playing better than Murray right now.



At 5-on-5 to the D in TOI per game is Letang 19.1 followed by Dumoulin and Marino both at 17.1, Johnson 16.7, Schultz 16.5 and Pettersson 16.3. Then the remaining D are limited usage 3rd pairing D both Gudbranson and Trotman 13.7, Ruhwedel 13.6, and Riikola 12.2.

On PP the top D was Letang followed closely by Schultz with Riikola, Pettersson, and Trotman next in line and Dumoulin and Marino getting some time when others were unavailable.On the PK the most used were Dumoulin, Johnson, Letang, and Marino with Gudbranson, Ruhwedel, and Pettersson being the next in line.

At 5-on-5 the top scoring D is Letang 7G/11A, Marino 3G/13A, and Pettersson 1G/13A then Johnson 2G/5A, both Ruhwedel and Schultz 2G/3A, Dumoulin 5A, and lastly Riikola 1G/3A. On the PP we add Letang 3G/5A, Marino 1G/2A, Schultz 3A, and 1A each for Pettersson, Dumoulin, and Riikola. Finally shorthanded is Dumoulin 1G.

The top D at 5-on-5 are Dumoulin 27GF/18GA and Marino 33GF/25GA, then Pettersson 33GF/28GA, Letang 35GF/30GA, Riikola 10GF/6GA, and Ruhwedel 14GF/11GA followed by Trotman 3GF/2GA, Schultz 15GF/14GA, Johnson 22GF/21GA, and Gudbranson 4GF/4GA. On the PP are an additional Letang 13GF/2GA, Schultz 8GF/2GA, Pettersson 4GF, Riikola 3GF, Marino 2GF, and both Dumoulin and Trotman with 1GF. Lastly shorthanded we have Schultz 1GA, Dumoulin 3GF/4GA, Ruhwedel and Gudbranson 2GA each, Pettersson 4GA, Letang 2GF/8GA, Johnson 2GF/9GA, and Marino 2GF/10GA.

Lastly we look at Point Shares where the top D is Letang 2.5 OPS/2.2 DPS then Marino 1.3 OPS/2.7 DPS, followed by Pettersson 0.6 OPS/2.0 DPS, Dumoulin 0.2 OPS/2.2 DPS, and Johnson -0.1 OPS/2.0 DPS. Then we have Ruhwedel 0.3 OPS/0.8 DPS, Riikola 0.2 OPS/0.8 DPS, and Schultz 0.3 OPS/0.7 DPS while Trotman and Gudbranson bring up the rear both at -0.1 OPS/0.2 DPS.

The Penguins Top 4 D are remarkably offset, the pair that has the most goals for per game also gave up the most goals against per game and the pair that scored the second most goals gave up the second most against. Letang has been the Pens best D, he is remarkably effective in the offensive zone and on the PP, but he also is remarkably bad in his own end and on the PK. Dumoulin was the next best overall, with his GF and GA mirroring his regular partner, but he was certainly the more defensively minded of the top D pairing and was one of the more effective on the PK. Likewise Marino and Pettersson have been effective offensively but give up a lot of goals against, although unlike the top pairing both of them put up a lot of individual points, although looking at the PK Pettersson has given up the fewest per game wile Marino actually gave up even more than Letang. Ruhwedel has been pretty much right in the middle, 5th in goals for and 6th in goals against, 4th in individual points, but has been solid on the PK just behind Pettersson.

Riikola is next up in points per game but remarkably was the worst in goals for and best in goals against, so it may well be a sample size issue, although 20 games played is still a decent amount to go by. Despite an impressive start Johnson has fallen, he barely broke even in plus/minus and has given up nearly as much on the PK as Letang, although I suspect part of his problem is that injuries have caused him to play bigger minutes again and he excels more in a sheltered 3rd pairing role. Schultz was disappointing at ES he was unable to get much offensive success and while not terrible defensively barely broke even, but he did well on the PP. Trotman only played 5 games so its not really worth reading too much into his performance.



Up front the highest 5-on-5 TOI per game is Guentzel 16.1 and Crosby 15.9 then Malkin 15.1 and Rust 15.0 followed by Simon 13.7, Blueger 12.9, Hornqvist 12.7, Tanev 12.2, McCann 12.1, Aston-Reese 12.0, and Kahun 11.7. After that is Galchenyuk 10.7, Bjugstad 10.6, Lafferty 9.7, Noesen 9.0, Blandisi 8.1, Johnson 6.7, Di Pauli 6.0, and lastly Agozzino 1.7.

On the PP the top forwards were Crosby, Guentzel, and Malkin followed by Hornqvist, Rust, McCann, Bjugstad, Galchenyuk, and Kahun with Noesen, Aston-Reese, and Simon getting some usage when others were unavailable. On the PK the most used was Blueger, then Tanev, Aston-Reese, and Rust with Lafferty, McCann, and Bjugstad all getting some usage.

At 5-on-5 the top scoring forwards are Guentzel 14G/19A and Malkin 9G/20A, then Rust 12G/12A, McCann 10G/11, and Kahun 9G/11A. Then Tanev 6G/10A, Simon 4G/11A, Crosby 4G/10A, Hornqvist 8G/5A, Blueger 5G/6A, Aston-Reese and Lafferty with 4G/6A each, Galchenyuk 2G/7A, and Blandisi 2G/3A. At the bottom is Johnson 1G/1A while Bjugstad and Noesen had 1G each. Then on the PP we have Guentzel 6G/4A, Malkin 2G/8A, Rust 4G/4A, Galchenyuk 2G/3A, McCann and Crosby with 1G/2A each, Hornqvist 1G/1A, and lastly Kahun, Tanev, and Simon all with 1A. Finally shorthanded is Rust 1G/1A, Tanev 2G, Blueger 2A, and Aston-Reese 1G.

The top faceoff guys are Crosby who went 199/359 for a 55.4 FO% and Malkin who won 276/537 for a 51.4 FO%. The rest of the main faceoff guys got outworked at the dot. McCann 218/449 for a 48.6 FO%, Lafferty 88/186 for a 47.3 FO%, Blueger 257/553 for a 46.5 FO%, Blandisi 33/81 for a 40.7 FO%, and Bjugstad 34/84 for a 40.5 FO%.

The best forwards at 5-on-5 were Rust 34GF/18GA and Malkin 33GF/17GA then McCann 31GF/18GA, Guentzel 37GF/26GA, and Kahun 26GF/16GA. Then Hornqvist 13GF/8GA, Aston-Reese 15GF/13GA, Lafferty 10GF/8GA, Bjugstad 5GF/3GA, and Crosby 13GF/12GA while breaking even is Galchenyuk 13GF/13GA. Falling behind are Tanev 17GF/18GA, Blueger 14GF/15GA, Johnson 3GF/4GA, Agozzino 1GA, Blandisi 7GF/10GA, Di Pauli 3GA, and Simon 22GF/27GA. On the PP we have Guentzel 16GF/3GA, Rust 11GF/1GA, Hornqvist 10GF/1GA, Malkin 10GF/2GA, McCann 7GF/1GA, Galchenyuk 6GF/1GA, Crosby 5GF/2GA, Kahun 3GA/1GA, and all of Aston-Reese, Tanev, Blueger, and Simon at 1GF. One the PK we have Rust 2GF/2GA, then Guentzel, Crosby, and Blandisi with 1GA each, Lafferty 2GF/3GA, McCann 4GA, Tanev 2GF/9GA, Blueger 2GF/10GA, and Aston-Reese 2GF/11GA.

Finally Point Shares we have Guentzel 4.1 OPS/1.2 DPS, Rust 3.6 OPS/1.2 DPS, and Malkin 3.4 OPS/1.1 DPS then McCann 1.8 OPS/1.1 DPS, Kahun 1.5 OPS/0.9 DPS, Hornqvist 1.3 OPS/0.6 DPS, Tanev 1.0 OPS/0.7 DPS, and Crosby 1.2 OPS/0.3 DPS. Nex up Lafferty 0.4 OPS/0.5 DPS, Galchenyuk 0.6 OPS/0.3 DPS, Simon 0.3 OPS/0.5 DPS, Aston-Reese -0.1 OPS/0.8 DPS, Blueger -0.1 OPS/0.7 DPS, Blandisi 0.2 OPS/0.1 DPS, and Johnson 0.2 OPS/0.0 DPS. Lastly Agozzino 0.0 OPS/0.0 DPS, Bjugstad -0.2 OPS/0.2 DPS, and Di Pauli 0.0 OPS/-0.1 DPS.

Per game the top performer was Rust, he excelled offensively and on the PP and while he gave up a lot of ES goals against he was the best of the regular PK guys. Likewise Malkin and Guentzel were excellent offensively and on the PP but gave up more than their fair share against. Next is Crosby who was also great offensively but gave up too many goals against, although less effective on the PP and barely broke even at +/-. Hornqvist has been remarkably good, pretty much back at Top 6 calibre, and better at defense than the rest of the top guys, while also being one of the best on the PP. McCann and Kahun round out the other main Top 6 options, being decent at both ends of the ice and McCann in particular doing well on the PK.

Tanev is statistically more of a Bottom 6 guy who gives up more than he scores but injury has often forced him into a Top 6 role, he is about middle of the pack neither best nor worst offense, defense or PK. Lafferty has skated more of a 4th line role with not a lot of offense but one of the best at keeping pucks out of the net, both at ES and on the PK. Johnson is next but a small sample size so hard to say much about him. Galchenyuk has been quite disappointing, pretty much performing as and deployed as a 4th liner, he hasn’t been the replacement for Kessel it was hoped he would be. Simon has also been disappointing, he did well when he was with Crosby but despite still averaging Top 6 minutes is just average offensively and quite poor defensively, coming out behind in plus/minus. Aston-Reese and Blueger are similar statistically, not strong offensively but solid defense despite skating heavier minutes than they would have if it weren’t for injury, although they have given up more goals on the PK than the rest of the forwards. Blandisi skated sheltered 4th line minutes and wasn’t good at either end of the ice, coming out as a negative. Agozzino skated 1 shift got scored on and banished to the dog house. Bjugstad has been injured most of the year and averaged 4th line minutes and while he was solid defensively but his individual offense was nonexistent. Di Pauli only skated 2 games.

Author: TKNoodle

I write about hockey, mostly focused on the Pittsburgh Penguins and Vegas Golden Knights. NHL, AHL (Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins and Chicago Wolves), ECHL (Wheeling Nailers), and various prospects from my teams playing in Europe (SHL, Liiga, KHL, etc...), the Canadian Major Juniors (OHL, QMJHL, and WHL), and in the NCAA (and some in lower tier juniors prior to joining the NCAA).

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