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2013-14 Season in Review: Joe Vitale

He falls down a lot.

Jamie Sabau

Age: 28

Contract Status: UFA this summer

2013-14 Stats

GP TOI/game Goals Assists Points CF% CF% rel Offensive Zone Start % TOI QoC% PDO
53 10.8 1 13 14 44.3% -5.5% 41.5% 27.4% 100.5

Most Frequent Forward Partners

CF% GF% 5v5 Ice Time Together
Craig Adams 46.8% 33.3% 189:52
Brandon Sutter 40.8% 100% 117:17
Tanner Glass 43.1% 25% 113:19

Nothing too surprising here. Vitale got bottom six minutes with other bad players and didn't do well. His possession numbers are bad and his GF% with common linemates are even worse. He didn't see a ton of time overall, which is a good thing because he was a net negative while he was on the ice. I always thought he'd be able to use his speed to make things a bit harder on opponents, but he falls down so much that it doesn't matter.

Bad, bad, bad, bad

A look at his stats from this year show that things weren't good for Joe Vitale. He had a bad CF% and didn't score many points. When you're not doing either of those things, you're not a good hockey player. One of the lone bright spots in his repertoire was supposedly being a good faceoff man. He did that this year, winning 62.5% of his draws during the regular season. But that doesn't mean a whole lot since he and his linemates couldn't turn those wins into more possession. And the unfortunate thing is that his FO% cratered in the playoffs, dropping all the way down to 51% when the Penguins needed him the most.

There was a tweet a few days ago which explained just how bad Joe Vitale has been.

The astute among you will notice that three regular Penguins appear on that list. That number rises to four if you include our little episode with Doug Murray last year. But as it relates to this article, it highlights that Joe Vitale is truly at the bottom of the barrel when it comes to important hockey skills. Nothing else can make up for the fact that he was a big disappointment.

GIF of the Year


Um hmm.

Preseason Expectations

No one had high expectations for Vitale coming into the season because he had never done anything of consequence before. He always got fourth line minutes and was routinely scratched, especially in last year's playoffs. To that extent, I think the hope was that he wouldn't be a tire fire while he was on the ice. Maybe he'd get a little PK time too, so if he could do that well, we'd be getting somewhere. It's also important to note that Vitale's expectations were commensurate with his salary. League minimum salary means league minimum expectations.


Even with those low expectations, I'm not sure he lived up to them. He was bad in terms of goals and shots, routinely giving up more of each than he and his teammates had while they were on the ice. The chart above highlighting the worst CF% rel players over the last three years points to only one conclusion: move on from Vitale. Early indications point to this being the case. This is a no-brainer for management, and it's encouraging to see that even Rutherford understands this much because he hasn't done a whole lot right lately. I think Vitale is good enough to find his way onto some other team's fourth line, but it's well past time that the Penguins cut their losses and move on.