Name: Brian Dumoulin
Age: 26 (27 on 9/6/2018)
2017/2018 Stats: 80GP/5G/13A/18P
Last offseason, the Penguins signed defenseman Brian Dumoulin to a six year contract with an AAV of $4.1 million against the salary cap. The two sides agreed on a long term deal to avoid arbitration which meant the Pens had to up the ante a bit on the salary to but out some free agent years.
Looking at the stats above, Dumoulin is about where you expect and hope he would be as a top pairing defenseman. He’s never going to be a big factor in the offensive zone so his Points/60 and Goals/60 will always be low but he hovers right around the top of the pack when you look at the more defensive minded numbers.
Most of his playing time is alongside Kris Letang so he’s taking on a lot of minutes a night and given Letang’s style of play, sometimes Dumoulin has to sacrifice a little more on the offensive end to compensate.
When Dumoulin is on the ice, the Penguins are a better team and if Letang can bounce back next year, some of these numbers may look even better for Dumo.
(Data via Natural Stat Trick)
As a first pairing defenseman, Dumoulin spent a lot of time on the ice this year and the data proves it. A vast majority of his ice time came alongside Kris Letang and together they put up some pretty nice underlying numbers. For as much as Letang struggled at times this season, when he and Dumoulin were on the ice this year, the Pens were playing pretty good hockey.
In the brief time he was not playing alongside Letang, Dumoulin skated with either Chad Ruhwedel or Justin Schultz though it is a small sample size for both. Pairing with Ruhwedel left some to be desired but paired with Schultz the underlying numbers take a big spike. Those are probably unsustainable over the course of 82 games but they did show positives signs when paired together.
Top pairing duty also means Dumoulin gets to see plenty of ice time with Sidney Crosby and the top forward line every night. Again the underlying numbers look great when he’s on the ice with the top scorers which means the Penguins are playing pretty good hockey when Dumoulin is on the ice.
(Via Hockey Viz)
(Via Hockey Viz)
Nothing too unexpected from these graphs at quick glance. Dumoulin typically plays the left side so it makes sense that most of his shots comes from that location. He doesn’t mind getting his nose a little dirty though by playing down low and creating as much offense as he can.
Monthly Splits and Other Stats
Dumoulin will never be one to put huge offensive numbers but he did manage to pot a career high five goals this season to go along with his 18 point effort, also a career high. He started slow as you can see in the graphic above but he was very consistent the rest of the season, scoring a goal every month between November and March. He also scored a goal in April but it was in the playoffs. A majority of his points came during the month of February and March when he posted 12 points.
Like most people, Dumoulin was not much of a Monday guy and his stats back that up. He only played in four Monday games this season but he recorded zero points and played his lowest average ice time on that day of the week. Dumoulin is clearly more of a weekend guy as he recorded all of his points between Thursday-Sunday games. His lone playoff goal in Game 3 against the Flyers even came on a Sunday.
He also had no preference who he scored against, with all five of his goals coming against five different teams. If you throw his single playoff tally in there it’s six goals against six different teams.
All of his goals and 17 of his 18 points came during night games but that makes sense given the disparity of evening games he played in this season.
Last week, we graded Patric Hornqvist and noted the consistency between his home and road splits this season. Well Dumoulin must be taking notes from Hornqvist because his splits are remarkably consistent as well.
The plus/minus differential is drastic but that neither here nor there.
Praise and Quotes
When you play as well as Dumoulin did this season you are going to receive and fair amount of praise from media and fans. Here’s just a sample of what was said about Dumoulin’s strong campaign:
“A few things he does remind me of Lidstrom. With his body positioning and his stick-on-stick play. He’s done a tremendous job playing against the top lines.” —Sergei Gonchar
No pressure or anything.
“The thing that jumps out to me the most with Brian is his compete level. He’s a guy who plays really well when the stakes are high. His best hockey in my tenure here has been in the playoff runs.” —Mike Sullivan
“He just has a mind for hockey” —Kris Letang
Brian Dumoulin is the Penguins best defenseman.— Andrew Fillipponi (@ThePoniExpress) May 7, 2018
Just let out an audible “Oh man” when, while researching a story, I discovered that Brian Dumoulin had more shots on goal in the playoffs than Phil Kessel.— Sam Werner (@SWernerPG) May 10, 2018
How about Brian Dumoulin tonight?— Jesse Marshall (@jmarshfof) May 4, 2018
17:27 at even-strength
23 shot attempts for
12 scoring chances for
Brian Dumoulin has somehow transitioned into Larry Murphy. Driving to the net game after game. He's going bury one of those sooner or later.— Jesse Marshall (@jmarshfof) May 7, 2018
Just chiming in this Sunday morning to say I've really enjoyed watching Brian Dumoulin play in these playoffs. Guy is playing at a level commensurate with his pay, if not exceeding it.— Matt Gajtka (@MattGajtka) May 6, 2018
Olli Maatta now leads Penguins defensemen this season with six goals. Brian Dumoulin has a four-game point streak. What a world.— Jason Mackey (@JMackeyPG) March 2, 2018
New @TheAthleticPGH - Brian Dumoulin is the Penguins best kept secret. A look at his year versus the rest of the league, and his unbelievable effort in game four vs. the Flyers. The most fun I've ever had writing about something. https://t.co/lqyFzqgect— Jesse Marshall (@jmarshfof) April 20, 2018
Even Strength: A-
Won’t give you much on the offensive end but he’s always solid in his own zone. When he’s on the ice the Penguins are a better team.
Special Teams: B+
Not really an option on the power play but he can kill penalties where is effective. He also doesn’t take many penalties.
Only missed two games this season. For a team that has battled injuries on the blue line that’s nothing to just bat your eyes at.
Playoffs: A (7 points [1G+6A] in 12 games)
He was arguably their best defenseman in the playoffs and you could see how much confidence he was playing with. Was never quite the same after taking a headshot from Tom Wilson.
Overall 2017/2018 Grade: A
FINAL WORD: This was only Dumoulin’s third full season in the NHL but it is clear he is developing into a top pairing defenseman the Penguins will rely on for years to come. He posted a career high in both goals and points and hopefully that is a sign of things to come. Playing alongside Kris Letang has its pros and cons and Dumoulin experienced both during this season. Often times he had to compensate for Letang’s style of play which meant sacrificing offense to fall back and cover his partner.
For the Penguins, signing Dumoulin to a long term deal last offseason looks better by the day. If he continued to develop like he has, he could easily have commanded a much higher salary in 2-3 years. Sitting at a cap hit of $4.1 million for the next five seasons, Dumoulin looks like he’ll be one of the best bargains in hockey.
If the Penguins are to maximize the Crosby/Malkin era, Dumoulin will play a major role in bringing more Stanley Cup championships to Pittsburgh.
How would you grade Brian Dumoulin’s 2017-2018 season?
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