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2018 Player Report Card: Zach Aston-Reese

The undrafted rookie broke into the lineup this year and showed some promise as a future NHL-caliber player.

Pittsburgh Penguins v New Jersey Devils Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images

Name: Zach Aston-Reese

Position: Center/Left Wing

Shoots: Left

Age: 23 (24 on 8/10/2018)

2017/2018 Stats: GP: 16, G: 4, A: 2, P: 6

Playoffs: GP: 9, G: 0, A: 1, P: 1

Career Resume

Image via: hockeyDB


Aston-Reese’s Fancy Stats

Season Team GP TOI CF CA CF% FF FA FF% SF SA SF% GF GA GF% SCF SCA SCF% HDCF HDCA HDCF% HDGF HDGA HDGF% On-Ice SH% On-Ice SV% PDO Off. Zone Faceoffs Neu. Zone Faceoffs Def. Zone Faceoffs Off. Zone Faceoff %
Season Team GP TOI CF CA CF% FF FA FF% SF SA SF% GF GA GF% SCF SCA SCF% HDCF HDCA HDCF% HDGF HDGA HDGF% On-Ice SH% On-Ice SV% PDO Off. Zone Faceoffs Neu. Zone Faceoffs Def. Zone Faceoffs Off. Zone Faceoff %
20172018 PIT 16 158.9 145 148 49.49 106 110 49.07 80 84 48.78 6 5 54.55 68 69 49.64 37 27 57.81 4 2 66.67 7.50 94.05 1.015 40 54 65 38.10
Data via: Natural Stat Trick

Aston-Reese started the 2017-18 season with the WB/S Penguins, but he would get the call to the big club for his NHL debut on February 3, 2018 against the New Jersey Devils. He recorded his first two NHL goals in a 6-3 win over the Ottawa Senators on February 13.

The Staten Island native made some waves in certain circles dating back to the 2017-18 training camp, with some prospect analysts saying Z.A.R. could have made the opening night roster. When examining the Penguins’ prospect pool, it was Daniel Sprong and Aston-Reese as the headliners with a number of fringe NHLers in the mix as well.

And when Aston-Reese was inserted into the lineup, the Penguins became a better team. Not only was Aston-Reese providing much-needed depth on the left side, the weaker of the two wings, but he was also positively impacting the game with his play.

The stats above are obviously a very limited sample size, but if it’s anything to go on, it’s that Aston-Reese was adequately settling into a bottom-6 role.


Season Splits and Miscellaneous Stats

Image via: Yahoo!
Image via: Yahoo!
Image via: Yahoo!

The biggest detail that caught my eye in these splits is the large gap between February and April. Looking at the pace Aston-Reese was on, he would have surely contributed to the team more had he not been sidelined with an injury that kept him out of action from February 28 to March 27.

On April 18, in a 5-0 win against the Philadelphia Flyers that saw the Penguins go up 3-1 in the first round series, Z.A.R. recorded his first career playoff point, assisting on a goal by Riley Sheahan.

Aston-Reese was also involved in one of the bigger talking points of the NHL playoffs and provided extra gasoline for the fire that was the second round series between the Pens and the Washington Capitals. As you know by now, during Game 3 of the series, Aston-Reese was “checked” by Tom Wilson resulting in a broken jaw and a concussion. Wilson was subsequently suspended three games for the hit. This hit would go on to end Aston-Reese’s season.


Tweets and Quotes


Final Grades

Even Strength: B

Aston-Reese’s value came from giving the bottom-6 a boost in overall production, but he’s certainly no slouch when placed alongside guys like Sidney Crosby.

Special Teams: C

There really wasn’t any room for Z.A.R. on the power-play units, but he was and will likely be relied upon for his penalty-killing ability.

Durability: C

The rookie missed a whole month of action with a UBI and missed out on (likely) adding to his regular season point totals. At the same time, he was only called up in early February, so I can’t go too hard on him here.

Playoffs: C

More of the same can be said here that was touched on in the even strength and special teams categories. 1 assist in 9 games doesn't look good on paper, but Aston-Reese’s presence was still felt with his gritty style of play.

Overall Grade: C

FINAL WORD: It’s mentioned above and I’ll say it again: Zach Aston-Reese looks to have a bright future with the Penguins, even if his rookie season was a mixed bag. He may very well mold into a younger version of Patric Hornqvist, and that’s not a bad thing. Having that pest-like presence in front of the net benefits everyone...except opposing goalies.



How would you grade Zach Aston-Reese’s 2017-18 season?

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