Just minutes after the Penguins game with Winnipeg, they announced a trade.
Penguins trade Marcel Goc to St Louis for Max Lapierre.— Darren Dreger (@DarrenDreger) January 28, 2015
If you listen carefully, you can already hear the gnashing of teeth from the advanced stats community. Marcel Goc is a beloved player, even though as a Penguin his production was limited (he scored 2 goals in 64 games this year and last as a Penguin), he was a slow skater that didn't fit in with the team looking for energy out of their bottom six players. From Steve Downie to Blake Comeau, that's a lot of what GM Jim Rutherford has brought in.
And yes, I know Goc wasn't without his charms- he is above average on faceoffs, took high offensive zone duties and did OK in shot possession metrics.
Lapierre is the 4th line centre Penguins were looking for. Good speed. Decent on draws.— Darren Dreger (@DarrenDreger) January 28, 2015
Max Lapierre adds more grit than Goc, that much is sure. Lapierre is a pain to play against. Let's turn to his Hockey News player profile for more information:
|Assets:||Likes to stir the pot every shift and can get opponents off their game. Skates well. Is sound defensively and owns the versatility to play either center or wing.|
|Flaws:||Tends to back down from physical challenges, and sometimes his on-ice antics backfire. Doesn't score enough to play a top-six role at the highest level.|
|Career Potential:||Agitating, versatile forward.|
Interestingly, Lapierre has only taken 16 penalty minutes in 45 games this season so far with St. Louis. Will be interesting to see how or if that changes in Pittsburgh for him.
Bottom line: Penguins got a little faster, a little meaner and didn't sacrifice a ton of skill to do so. If the goal is to match a team like the Islanders and stock a 4th line of players you don't want to play against (Matt Martin, Casey Cizikias, Cal Clutterbuck), Lapierre adds and element and dimension that Goc couldn't. A minor swap of 4th line centers, but it certainly gives Pittsburgh more of the grit and toughness that ownership wanted to see.