Even though most of the fan base has fired and traded everyone already, we still have to go back and properly look at everyone’s playoff performances. Despite the ugly sweep at the hands of Boston, there were 2 other rounds and a couple of bright spots along the way. When making your offseason opinions, don’t forget the Boston series was less than one-third of the playoffs (4 out of 15 games). Remember that 5-0 victory to open the playoffs with Fleury in net? It seems like a lifetime ago.
For comparison’s sake, click here for the Regular Season Final Thoughts.
Good, Noteworthy, or Bad
Martin – 6
Vokoun – 5
Malkin – 5
Crosby – 5
Dupuis – 4
Cooke – 4
This group seems rather fitting for the postseason that we saw. Martin and Vokoun were unquestionably the best on the ice. Malkin and Crosby put up plenty of points until the final series. Dupuis and Cooke were the unsung heroes of this team at times. The interesting part is when they received their good marks. This team never found a way to click at the same time. Dupuis was hot early, Cooke in the middle, and Vokoun at the end. Martin, Crosby, and Malkin were scattered throughout, but were rarely good in the same games.
There will be a lot of questions about Kris Letang's future now. (Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)
Letang – 4
Malkin – 3
Iginla – 3
Crosby – 3
Cooke – 3
For Letang, the reason for his inclusion in this section was frequently good offense with bad defense. For Malkin and Iginla, it was frequently a failure to backcheck. For Crosby, it was good defense with no offense (things are getting a little backwards, aren’t they?). Finally with Cooke, it was usually because he was called for a penalty that hurt the team even though he played well. The most talented players weren’t just inconsistent game to game, they were inconsistent shift to shift.
Letang – 4
Niskanen – 4
Crosby – 4
Martin – 4
Iginla – 3
Malkin – 3
Letang and Niskanen were generally a nightmare on defense, especially when paired together. Crosby disappeared in far too many games this postseason. Martin struggled at times, especially when Orpik was out and getting his feet back under him early on. Finally, Iginla and Malkin found this section due to defensive lapses when they weren’t producing on offense.
Player Assessments – Playoffs
Craig Adams (1 good): Adams played in all 15 games, recording only 1 point on a 4th line that seemed to change every single game. He kept his spot largely for his penalty kill work though as the PK finished with a 92.3% kill rate. Unrestricted free agent.
If you aren't excited by Bennett yet, it's going to happen very soon. (Lynne Sladky/AP Photo)
Beau Bennett (1 good, 1 noteworthy): Bennett only played 6 games, making quite the impact in the 1st game vs the Isles with a goal. He played quite well, better than many expected, and has clearly demonstrated he is ready for a full time spot next year. Signed for 2 more seasons.
Matt Cooke (4 good, 3 noteworthy): Cooke was the heart and soul of this team when it came to hits and hard work, especially on the penalty kill. He only had 4 points in 15 games, but was very useful on the forecheck and on defense. The only downside to his game was he still gets penalties called for being Matt Cooke. Unrestricted free agent.
Sidney Crosby (5 good, 3 noteworthy, 4 bad): Crosby was all over the place in the playoffs and disappeared when he was needed the most in the Boston series. He finished with 15 points in 14 games (none in the last 4). Crosby was a turnover machine at times and as odd as it may sound, his play did go south without the jaw guard. In Game 1 against Boston at least, it wouldn’t surprise me at all if Crosby lost focus trying to prove himself [subconsciously] without the jaw guard after undoubtedly taking heat for it from opponents in the previous 2 rounds. Signed for 12 more seasons.
Simon Despres (1 bad): Despres only played in 3 games and looked rather shaky in the Islanders series as he had trouble matching up with their speed (just like everyone else). This postseason may have been a lost opportunity for Despres to gain valuable time against Ottawa and Boston. Signed for 1 more season.
Pascal Dupuis (4 good, 2 noteworthy): Dupuis was one of the best and most consistent forwards in terms of overall production. He was scoring early in the playoffs and finished with 11 points in 15 games. Towards the end of the Penguins run, Dupuis made his mark on defense and on the penalty kill. Dupuis really demonstrated his ability to contribute in every facet of the game. Unrestricted free agent.
Mark Eaton (1 good, 2 bad): Eaton finished with 3 points in 8 games and struggled to stay in the lineup when everyone was healthy. His lack of speed was an issue at times and his positioning wasn’t quite good enough to make up for it. Also of note, his ability to block shots eroded as the playoffs wore on. Unrestricted free agent.
Deryk Engelland (1 good, 1 noteworthy, 2 bad): Engelland played 7 games (no points), looked awful early in the playoffs, and was better against Boston but not good enough. He was likely played for his size, which he didn’t use often on the ice. His ability to read and predict the play in the defensive zone was subpar throughout. Signed for 1 more season.
There will be infinite questions about the goaltenders moving forward. (Joe Sargent/Getty Images)
Marc-Andre Fleury (1 good, 2 noteworthy, 1 bad): Fleury’s performances went in order of the sections, starting good and ending bad. He played himself out of the starting job and looked shaky in a relief effort against Boston. His positioning looked off and it appeared that he was overcompensating for prior mistakes. For all of his talent, there is clearly something off with Fleury’s mental game. Signed for 2 more seasons.
Tanner Glass (1 good, 1 noteworthy): Glass played in 5 games and managed a goal in his first one. He was brought in for PK, forechecking, and hitting, but wasn’t necessary for any of them with the Penguins’ deep roster. He didn’t play a “bad” game, but he didn’t have a chance to do much overall either way. Signed for 1 more season.
Jarome Iginla (3 good, 3 noteworthy, 3 bad): Iginla was one of the more baffling players through this postseason. He finished with 12 points in 15 games but was a disaster in the defensive zone. Regardless of right or left wing, Iginla looked slow and lost in the defensive zone at all times. His usage on the powerplay (not being on the left point) was frustrating and his two-way game really wasn’t what anyone expected it to be. As the playoffs ended for Pittsburgh, Iginla remained as one of the biggest puzzles on the team. Unrestricted free agent.
Jussi Jokinen (1 good, 1 noteworthy): Jokinen played in 8 games and recorded 3 assists in the playoffs. He was used mostly when the Pens needed a faceoff guy and seemed to be battling Joe Vitale for a lineup spot in the end. He didn’t contribute much and seemed to struggle quite a bit in a 4th line role compared to when he had a 1st line role at the end of the season. It was clear at the end that Jokinen needed skilled players around him to contribute. Signed for 1 more season.
Tyler Kennedy (2 good): Kennedy wasn’t in the lineup when the playoffs started but he provided valuable sparks at times as he finished with 5 points in just 9 games. He turned out to be one of the Penguins most productive players when in the lineup (on for 6 goals for, 0 against) but wasn’t given a regular shift for depth reasons. His playoff performance may force some questions about his usage and value. Restricted free agent.
Chris Kunitz (2 good, 2 noteworthy, 2 bad): Kunitz finished the playoffs with 10 points in 15 games but never really met his usual level of performance. His forechecking and big hitting game was lacking through most of the postseason despite his offensive production. Much like Crosby, he simply disappeared at times. Signed for 1 more season.
Kris Letang (2 good, 4 noteworthy, 4 bad): Letang was inconsistent in every way possible. Sometimes his offense was good, sometimes his defense was good, but it was rare that both matched up at the same time. He tied for the team lead in points in the end (16 points in 15 games), but it is questionable whether that was worth the defensive lapses. He struggled positionally and clearly had some communication issues with his partners in the defensive zone. His postseason was simply a disappointment despite the offensive output. Signed for 1 more season.
Malkin may replicate this celebration when he gets his new contract signed. (Kathy Willens/AP Photo)
Evgeni Malkin (5 good, 3 noteworthy, 3 bad): Malkin was one of the better players on the team, tying Letang with 16 points in the postseason. Just like everyone else though, he went cold in the Boston series and his Game 3 (10 shots, 21 attempted, 0 goals) really summed up every offensive problem for the team. He had a few defensive lapses at some bad times, but overall Malkin played well. The team performance strongly correlated to Malkin’s performance, which made his down games seem even worse than normal. Signed for 1 more season.
Paul Martin (6 good, 1 noteworthy, 4 bad): Martin was really the only steady defenseman through the playoffs and finished with 11 points in 15 games. His bad games mostly came when Orpik missed the start of the Islanders series, but the two formed a solid pairing when they were both healthy. His poise with the puck and his attention to everyone in the defensive zone was unmatched by any other player. Signed for 2 more seasons.
Brenden Morrow (2 good): Morrow played in 14 games and only recorded 4 points, though that wasn’t really his role in the playoffs this year. He was mostly used as a 3rd line checker (sometimes on the 4th line) and often provided big hits and strong forechecks. His ice time dwindled as the playoffs progressed and he finished the last game of the year with the least ice time of any player. Unrestricted free agent.
Douglas Murray (3 good): Murray played in 15 games and surprisingly recorded 2 goals and an assist. He met and even exceeded expectations at times, making very few mistakes even when his skating looked awful. His ability to cover the crease was better than any other defenseman’s on the team. Despite this, Murray lost ice time as the playoffs went on and he finished the final 2 games with the least ice time of the 6 defensemen. Unrestricted free agent.
James Neal (3 good, 2 noteworthy, 1 bad): Neal played in 13 games and recorded 10 points after struggling with injuries in the Islanders series. Most of his points and his best performances were against the Senators and lumped into the final 2 blowout games of the series. He played well against Boston but became predictable with his shots and was easy to defend for the Bruins. Signed for 5 more seasons.
Matt Niskanen (2 noteworthy, 4 bad): Niskanen may have been the Penguins worst regular defenseman in the playoffs. He recorded 2 points in 15 games, struggled to clear the puck, and had issues with breakout passes as well. His performance was a huge step back from the regular season. There wasn’t a single game in the playoffs where Niskanen looked completely comfortable. Signed for 1 more season.
Brooks Orpik (2 good, 1 bad): Orpik missed the start of the Islanders series but came back to record 2 points in 12 games. His biggest influence was on steadying Paul Martin’s game and he also had a decent postseason himself. In general, Orpik was exactly what he needed to be – not good, not bad, just himself. Signed for 1 more season.
Sutter doesn't celebrate goals often, but he doesn't watch the other team do it either. (Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)
Brandon Sutter (3 good, 1 noteworthy): Sutter received a lot of flak this postseason, largely because he wasn’t Jordan Staal. He finished with just 3 points in 15 games, but he was very strong defensively. He was on for only 5 goals against in the entire playoffs, the best of any Penguin with a regular shift. Sutter did his job as a checking line center. Signed for 1 more season.
Joe Vitale (1 noteworthy, 1 bad): Vitale only played in 6 games and recorded 1 point. His faceoff numbers were great but his overall play didn’t create as much as anyone wanted. Additionally, he struggled in the defensive zone and saw his minutes limited. Vitale pretty much played his role of being on the cusp of the 4th line. Signed for 1 for season.
Tomas Vokoun (5 good, 2 noteworthy): Vokoun was the savior in the first round, played solid in the 2nd round, and was really the only player that showed up in the 3rd round. He put together several spectacular performances and was unfortunately outdueled by Rask in the end. His postseason was far more than anyone could have expected when he entered the Islanders series and it was by far the biggest bright spot on the team. Vokoun would have easily been my playoff MVP. Signed for 1 more season.
Playoffs in Review
Game 1 – Veteran Penguins Dominate Wide-Eyed, Happy-to-be-Here Islanders Team
Game 2 – Islanders Use Boards Behind the Net to Bounce Back into the Series
Game 3 – Powerplay Carries Penguins over the Islanders on Hotly Debated Overtime Call
Game 4 – Fleury Relives 2012 Nightmares as the Islanders Pull Even Once Again
Game 5 – Penguins Ride a Goaltending Change to Their Second Shutout of the Series
Game 6 – Islanders Let Themselves Out After Deflecting Three Goals into Their Own Net
Game 1 – Special Teams Set the Tone as the Penguins Take a 1-0 Series Lead
Game 2 – Crosby’s Hat Trick Sends Anderson to the Bench Early and the Sens to a 2-0 Series Deficit
Game 3 – Anderson Outdoes Vokoun in a Double OT Thriller after the Penguins Blow the Game with 30 Seconds Left in Regulation
Game 4 – Penguins Overcome Shaky Start for an Offensive Explosion and a Commanding 3-1 Series Lead
Game 5 – Neal’s Hat Trick Puts an Exclamation Point on a Series Win for the Penguins
Game 1 – Pens Lose Focus as Bruins Take Over in 3-0 Win
Game 2 – Bruins Completely Dismantle Penguins from Top to Bottom in 6-1 Win
Game 3 – Penguins’ Heart-Breaking Double Overtime Loss Puts Them on Brink of Elimination
Game 4 – Rask and Bruins Shut Out Potent Penguins Offense Again to Send Them Home
Below are the final plus/minus numbers for the playoffs. Here’s a link for the full game-by-game in the playoffs. And here is the regular season write-up if you missed that.
My Stat per Game
My Stat per 60
My Stat per Game
My Stat per 60
Of note – Kennedy, Jokinen, Bennett, Cooke, and Engelland’s stat/60.
With all of that, I say goodbye to the 2013 postseason. Ray Shero is having his end of the season press conference on Wednesday at 11am. After that, we will delve into player movement and final thoughts on each player’s value (and perhaps the head coach’s).
As always, thanks for reading!