TribLIVE

| Sports

 
Larger text Larger text Smaller text Smaller text | Order Photo Reprints

Stats Corner: Penguins rookies earning their keep

Penguins/NHL Videos

Email Newsletters

Click here to sign up for one of our email newsletters.

'American Coyotes' Series

Traveling by Jeep, boat and foot, Tribune-Review investigative reporter Carl Prine and photojournalist Justin Merriman covered nearly 2,000 miles over two months along the border with Mexico to report on coyotes — the human traffickers who bring illegal immigrants into the United States. Most are Americans working for money and/or drugs. This series reports how their operations have a major impact on life for residents and the environment along the border — and beyond.

By David Golebiewski
Saturday, Dec. 21, 2013, 11:18 p.m.
 

Through injuries, suspensions and ever-changing line combinations, the Penguins just keep winning.

The Penguins lead the Eastern Conference with 55 points and have outscored the competition by 38 goals, trailing just the St. Louis Blues. While the club's established stars deserve plenty of praise, the Penguins wouldn't hold a double-digit point lead in the Metropolitan Division and a top playoff seed without a cadre of rookies playing like seasoned veterans.

Seven rookies have suited up for the Penguins already this season, playing crucial minutes and cushioning the blow of losing coach Dan Bylsma's top four projected defensemen and backup goalie, among others. You wouldn't know that these youngsters just ascended from junior hockey or stepped off a bus from Wilkes-Barre/Scranton based on their production.

Penguins rookies have racked up a collective 5.5 Point Shares (PS), which measures the number of standings points that a player contributes to his team through his offensive and defensive value. Only the Anaheim Ducks have benefited more from NHL neophytes.

Team Rookie PS

Ducks 6.1

Penguins 5.5

Predators 4.5

Sharks 4.0

Flames 3.7

Source: Hockey-Reference.com

Penguins rookies are proving to be catalysts between the pipes and on the blue line. Backup goalie Jeff Zatkoff (1.3 PS) has filled in admirably for Tomas Vokoun, helping Marc-Andre Fleury stay fresh as he re-establishes himself as one of the game's elite net minders. Olli Maatta, a 19-year-old defenseman who skated for the London Knights of the Ontario Hockey League last year, ranks third among rookies in Point Shares.

Player Team PS

Tomas Hertl Sharks 3.9

Hampus Lindholm Mighty Ducks 3.2

Olli Maatta Penguins 3.0

Martin Jones Kings 2.7

Marek Mazanec Predators 2.7

Subscribe today! Click here for our subscription offers.

 

 


Show commenting policy

Most-Read Penguins

  1. Rossi: ‘Hockey guy’ Sutter will be missed
  2. Penguins trade Sutter to Canucks, sign free agent center Fehr
  3. Sutter: Staal effect felt on 3rd line with Penguins
  4. New Pens winger Fehr ready for defense-first role
  5. Reliving the moment a decade ago that shifted the Penguins' history
  6. Rossi: ‘Hockey guy’ Sutter will be missed
  7. Detroit hires Penguins’ strength coach
  8. Pens assistant GM Fitzgerald leaves for Devils
  9. Penguins bring in analytics expert from Carnegie Mellon