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Scouting Report: New Pens defenseman Marcus Pettersson

A look at who the Pens got back for Daniel Sprong, can the Pens work more magic on a defenseman?

NHL: Calgary Flames at Anaheim Ducks Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

The Penguins have finally traded Daniel Sprong away, sending the forward to the Anaheim Ducks in exchange for defenseman Marcus Pettersson.

So just who is this Pettersson?

A tall but lanky, left-handed shooting defenseman who is still just 22-years of age and in only his second season in America.

From an season review:

When the Ducks chose Pettersson with the 38th overall pick in the 2014 NHL Draft, Director of Professional/Amateur Scouting Martin Madden knew patience would be a virtue. The club had the big picture in mind when they selected the lanky 6-4, 170-pound blueliner from Skellefteå of the Swedish Hockey League.

”If it takes three years, it takes three years,” Madden said at the time, regarding Pettersson’s progression to the pro level here in the States. “If it takes two, then it takes two. We’re not in a hurry with him. We’re going to do it the right way.”

Pettersson made his North American pro debut with the San Diego Gulls [in 2017-18], recording 14 points (all assists) in 44 games. Recalled by the Ducks on February 13, Pettersson made his NHL debut two days later against the Chicago Blackhawks. He recorded a +2 rating in that game to become just the fifth Anaheim skater (second defenseman) in franchise history to record a +2 rating or higher in his NHL debut. The 22-year-old d-man finished his Ducks rookie campaign with four points (1g/3a) with a +5 rating in 22 games.

Here’s a look at his resume:

Here’s a scouting report from Hockey’s Future (which may be from around the time of his draft in 2014 and slightly updated, but you get the picture on what to expect, or what he was coming from as an even younger player)

Pettersson is a tall, intelligent defenseman who has a long reach and rarely allows opponents to get around him, gobbling them up as they try to pass. He uses his sizes effectively in orchestrating a very effective pokecheck. He has a strong sense of one-on-one positioning; understanding when to play aggressively or conservatively. Despite his size and lankiness, he’s got both good east-west as well as backwards mobility. Pettersson’s first pass is almost always on the money and he doesn’t hesitate to curl the puck back into his zone to regroup when necessary. He has above-average offensive instincts in all three zones and his shot is on target and particularly his wrist shot can come at a surprising velocity. A tall player whose frame is ripe for another 40 pounds in the coming years, his developmental curve has also been extremely impressive as he irons out holes in his game at a rapid rate. His confidence and ability to read the game suggest Pettersson has limitless upside at this juncture. Not surprisingly for a player his size, balance is sometimes an issue while pushing and prodding opponents with better core strength. A converted forward, he can be decked at times — with slow response time — and his defensive game is, overall, still in need of improvement.

And here’s a Sports Forecaster report:

Assets: Owns a very projectable frame and very good puck-moving instincts. Can put up points at lower levels and also use his size in the physical department.

Flaws: Must continue to get significantly stronger and bulkier in order to survive in the North American pro ranks. Also needs to play with greater consistency.

Career Potential: Solid, all-round defenseman with some upside.

Pettersson though has had some issues getting up to speed in the NHL, which would be why the Ducks are trading him in the first place.

And a thought from a SBN Anaheim writer:

Some of Peterrsson’s metrics aren’t much to look at, but in a Randy Carlyle-coached team there could be some indication to hope the classic “change of scenery” may benefit him.

Friend of the blog Jesse takes an optimistic stance (which is one reason why I love him, he’s optimistic on almost anything!)

A 22 year old defenseman “with potential” is something the Penguins don’t have much at all of in their organization, so it’s nice to add that. Considering Carolina just waived (and lost for nothing) a similarly talented young winger last week, the market for Sprong was never going to be very high in the first place.

The interesting bit now may be if this move inspires any additional moves for Pittsburgh, who now has 8 healthy NHL defenseman, several of whom have struggled at various points during this season. Will GM Jim Rutherford use this move now to look to move a defenseman out somewhere down the line? That could be an interesting idea and something to keep in mind moving forward.

Peterrsson, it should also be noted, is in year 3 of his three year entry level contract, and can be sent to AHL Wilkes-Barre without requiring waivers.