Penguins’ Marcus Pettersson showing surprising offensive punch
NEWARK, N.J. – When the Pittsburgh Penguins acquired Marcus Pettersson from the Anaheim Ducks in December, his offensive abilities were pretty far down the list of reasons they coveted the lanky Swedish defenseman.
Including his time in Sweden’s top league and the AHL, Pettersson had never before topped two goals or nine points in a season.
Coming to the Penguins has awakened that side of Pettersson’s game. Coming into Tuesday night’s matchup with the New Jersey Devils, Pettersson was tied for fifth in the NHL in rookie scoring since Jan. 1. He has two goals and 11 points in his last 20 games.
That’s only one less point than No. 1 overall draft pick Rasmus Dahlin of the Buffalo Sabres during the same stretch.
“I didn’t know that,” Pettersson said. “I don’t think I try to look at it too much, but it’s always fun to play offense. I think everybody wants to score goals and contribute offensively. It’s not like I walk around and think of it.”
What Pettersson does think about, though, is making a good first pass and being sound in the transition game. He thinks that’s what has led to his recent point production.
“If you can get out of your end quickly, you don’t have to spend time there,” he said. “You’ve got energy to follow up on the play. I think it goes hand in hand. If you can break out quickly and join the play, you’re going to see more offense and you’re going to hopefully contribute more.”
Pettersson doesn’t have a big slap shot from the point, but in the modern NHL game, that’s not usually all that important.
“Often, from the blue line, it’s tough to actually score goals,” he said. “Just get them through and hopefully get a rebound or something like that.”
Jonathan Bombulie is a Tribune-Review assistant sports editor. You can contact Jonathan by email at [email protected] or via Twitter .