By: Melissa Esing (Off_thePost)
Photo Credit: Gene J. Puskar
Throughout the 2013-2014 NHL season, I’ll be posting player features each Friday. This week, we’re going to take a look at Taylor Pyatt.
After missing a decent amount of time this season due to a concussion, forward Taylor Pyatt was claimed off waivers from the New York Rangers in early January. The 32-year-old spent the past two seasons with the Rangers with a tallied 12 points within 70 (regular-season) games.
Aside from being missing from the active roster for some time, Pyatt struggled with a lone assist within 22 games for the Rangers.
While playing for the Phoenix Coyotes in the 2011-2012 campaign, he managed to help the team get to the 2012 Western Conference Finals with his four goals and two assists. The 6-foot-4 forward has also appeared on the roster for the Vancouver Canucks, Buffalo Sabres and New York Islanders.
His career-high in goals was in the 2006-2007 campaign with Vancouver, racking up 23 goals. The following season, he tallied his career-high in points with a total of 60.
Out of his 14 games played with the Penguins so far this season, Pyatt has scored two goals and acquired a -7 rating. Aside from having a poor rating, one thing is for sure. This veteran adds size and experience to the lineup. At the time he was claimed, the Penguins were missing Evgeni Malkin, Pascal Dupuis, Beau Bennett, Andrew Ebbett, Chris Conner and Jayson Megna. Needless to say, the Penguins needed a guy like Pyatt at the time while missing all of that depth. He basically was brought in to serve as a crutch for quite an injured team for the time being.
Pyatt got the chance to fill some big skates against the Washington Capitals. Right winger James Neal was forced to sit out due to an injury, moving Pyatt up to the second line for the game. Obviously Pyatt isn’t capable of replacing Neal, but he did his duties to the best of his ability throughout the game. He recorded five hits and forced turnovers. He also scored a goal, all while logging almost 15 minutes of ice time. He contributed in every way possible and had a flawless game. It was his best game this season and arguably of his entire career.
“It was a great opportunity for me to play with a great player like Malkin and Jussi Jokinen on the other wing,” said Pyatt.
Pyatt celebrating his goal against the Capitals. Photo Credit: Gregory Shamus/Getty Images
The forward was absent for Pittsburgh’s game against Buffalo on Wednesday due to a lower-body injury, and will remain out of the lineup tonight against the New York Rangers. The Olympic break will give him time to recover, and hopefully the forward can continue to improve his rough season after.