"It takes brains. It's not like a forward, where you can get away with scoring and not play defense. On defense you have to be thinking." ~ Chris Chelios
Season Stats: 62gp, 1g, 9a, 10p, +6, 54 PIMs
Playoff Stats: 5gp, 0g, 0a, 0p, +2, 2 PIMs
|ES Advanced Stats||+0.13||-0.065||0.108||12.54||0.08||0.54||1000||50%||0.8||0.2||51%|
Month-by-month Pensburgh grades:
Contract Status: Becomes an unrestricted free agent this summer; previous cap hit of $800,000.
Interesting Stat: McKee led the Penguins with 137 blocked shots this year. That's really impressive for a guy who missed 20 games during the regular season.
The Good: Jay McKee was brought to Pittsburgh to do the dirty work that no one likes doing. He blocked shots like a beast this year, racking up 7.3 blocks/60. The next closest defenseman? Mark Eaton at 4.8 blocks/60. That's a 52% difference between 1st and 2nd.
The Bad: Outside of blocking shots at an insane rate, McKee had a pretty bad year. Among all Penguins' defensemen, McKee faced the easiest competition while skating with the best linemates. Yet he was last in pts/60 and average in terms of relative +/-. He also didn't play super tough minutes, as his OPCT indicates that he spent an equal number of zone starts in the o-zone and d-zone. And McKee also had one of the worst penalty differentials among d-men, as he took 0.6 more penalties per 60 than he drew.
McKee also dropped the ball while on the penalty kill unit. Among all regulars, McKee's adjusted +/- of -1.38 was near the bottom, even though he was playing against some of the easiest competition. And while he was on the ice for the pk, the Penguins were giving up about 43.5 shots/60, which was the third highest total among all regular penalty killers.
Final Verdict: Jay McKee had an average year at best, and the fact that he only started 5 playoff games this past spring is indicative of the coaches' unhappiness with his performance. Though he fulfilled his role as a shot blocker extraordinaire, he offered the team little else. I'd be very surprised if the Penguins re-signed McKee, as he'll probably be able to get more money from another team that's not close to the cap ceiling.
Question and Discussion: Do you think the Penguins will re-sign McKee? What was the reason for his drop in performance during the latter part of the season?