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Analyzing the Penguins defense, statistically

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Looking at how the defensemen on the team stack up, and one thing is painfully clear.

Pittsburgh Penguins v New York Islanders Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images

If you were asked to rank the Penguins defensemen in terms of skill and importance to the team, it’s fair to suggest that everyone using common sense would rank Kris Letang #1 and would also rank Jack Johnson the last number of the list, depending on how many players you were ranking. This morning, I am here with some data that backs up that thought!

Using data aggregated by Sean Tierney, these two graphics show how the Penguins defensemen are performing compared to one another.

While Kris Letang is the motor that is the key to the Penguins success on the defensive side of the team, it would be remiss to not mention the seasons that both Olli Maatta and Brian Dumoulin are having. Jack Johnson though? He is a drag on the Penguins at even strength, while seeing a numbers boost because he is given power play time.

One other thing that sticks out to me here is the wondering of how Pettersson’s numbers would look if he wasn’t being anchored with Jack Johnson?

Once again, the data supports the Kris Letang for Norris campaign — he eats up more and more minutes all the time (32+ TOI last night against Washington), while still remaining to be productive consistently among top-tier defensemen in the NHL. On the flip side, Jack Johnson’s ice-time is around average for defensemen in the NHL at even strength, but his production remains piss-poor. Without the power-play ice-time boost, imagine how much worse this would look.

There you have it. Kris Letang = good. Jack Johnson = bad.