PITTSBURGH, PA - OCTOBER 20: Deryk Engelland #5 of the Pittsburgh Penguins checks Tomas Plekanec #14 of the Montreal Canadiens during the game at Consol Energy Center on October 20, 2011 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Justin K. Aller/Getty Images)
Interesting Note: According to the voters on hockeyfights.com, Engelland went 5-2-1 in his eight fights this season.
The Good: Engelland finished the season second amongst defensemen in hits, and in games played. Averaged 3 more minutes per game than last season. Had a modest advantage at 5 on 5 in terms of goals for and against (2.54 GF to 2.09 GA per 60 minutes) and was only on the ice for 38 5 on 5 goals in 73 games played. Engo only took 8 minor penalties all season long, which for a guy involved in so much physical play, scrums and dirt, that’s a pretty good mark to be at.
The Bad: Only played 6th most minutes of the six regular defensemen, and against the easiest competition, doesn’t really block as many shots (77 in 73 games) as you might expect a rugged, front-of-the-crease defenseman to do. Isn’t a great puck-handler and limited in terms of what he can do with the puck on his stick and won’t be a big point producer.
Moment to Remember: November 3, 2011 vs the San Jose Sharks. The game was a 4-3 shootout loss for the Penguins, but it was a good night for Engelland. Just 24 seconds into the game Engelland collected a pass from Evgeni Malkin and beat Antti Niemi. Then, 6 seconds into the second period Engo got in a fight (and beat up) Ryane Clowe. Add in two hits, two blocked shots and 18:55 ice-time would be his 14th highest mark of the season. Engelland was also at +3 on the game, which means he was on the ice for every Pens goal of the game.
Moment to Forget: December 20, 2011 against the Chicago Blackhawks. Engelland leveled a high hit on Chicago forward Marcus Kruger that went unpenalized, but eventually lead to a Brendan Shanahan handing down a three game suspension. To make matters even worse for the Pens, Kris Letang, Paul Martin and Zbynek Michalek were all injured at the time with various injuries, so Engelland’s suspension forced them to go with an even weaker blueline. To make matters even worse for Engo, 6’8 265 pound behemoth John Scott was dressed for the Blackhawks that game and he pretty much fed Engo his lunch in retaliation for the bad hit.
Discussion: With two more years left on a reasonable rate, it seems pretty sure that Engelland will make the Pens roster next season, regardless on whether or not Ray Shero makes any trades or with whom he decides to sign among guys like Matt Niskanen, Brian Strait and Robert Bortuzzo. Engelland was pretty much an "every night" player, but should he be getting a sweater every night in 2012-13, especially given the strides of the younger players?