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2018 Player Report Card: Carter Rowney

It was, um, not a very good season for Carter Rowney in 2017-18

NHL: Pittsburgh Penguins at Boston Bruins Bob DeChiara-USA TODAY Sports

Player Details: Carter Rowney, center/ right wing

2017-18 season Age: 28 (turned 29 last month on May 10th)

Resume (via hockeydb):

Fancier stats:

Woof. Not too much more to say, Rowney was the worst offensive forward on the team in just about every metric you could think up. He was 13th in total on ice Corsi events only because he played far more games than guys like Zach Aston-Reese. Rowney’s points/60 and Corsi was higher than fellow 4th liner Tom Kuhnhackl, for what it’s worth.

Otherwise, not too much to harp on and just be mean, Rowney was a sub-optimal part who performed poorly and looked out of his element in the NHL in 2017-18, and stuck out even further like a sore thumb due to playing on a high-skill team like the Penguins.


Coming into the season:

Rowney was thought of as as 12th/13th forward, a typical hard-working over-achiever who worked his way up the ranks from being undrafted in college to the ECHL to the AHL and finally to the NHL. Rowney’s shining moment was being a regular in the 4th line for the 2017 Stanley Cup run.

In 2017-18, Rowney would enter the season as the team’s defacto 4th line center after they were unable to replace free agent departures in Nick Bonino and Matt Cullen. The season started out OK for him until a hand injury on October 21st vs TB sidelined him for over a month. From there, Rowney was again a regular up until January 2nd when he suffered another 4 week injury.

Rowney returned in early February and played that month but found himself in and out of the lineup in March as a healthy scratch at times until suffering a third injury on the season on March 15th that would keep him out until the playoffs, where he suited up in 3 games (all as an injury replacement).

(Data via Natural Stat Trick)

—The 4th line was bad this year! It’s a bit admirable that Rowney + Ryan Reaves were able to keep the Corsi somewhat close to 50%, but they just got slaughtered on goals.

—It’s also telling (and a testament) that the 1st pair defense in Brian Dumoulin and Kris Letang could somewhat prop up the grinders, but they had high goals allowed as well.

(via Hockey Viz)

Not great stuff here. The second chart in particular can show just how quickly a player can “lose it”. In 2016-17, Rowney was a contributing bottom-6 player that was coming on stronger as the season went along. Nothing special, no all-star, but playing as a quality type of piece.

2017-18 the bottom dropped out. The three significant injuries causing time missed couldn’t have helped, but even when in the lineup Rowney didn’t do much well and quickly got shuffled out to lesser and lesser ice time and eventually healthy scratch territory once the Penguins acquired superior players like Derick Brassard and Riley Sheahan to fill lower line center roles.

It’s very, very tough to make it to the NHL, and tougher still to be able to keep a caliber of play high enough to stay. It took Carter Rowney until age-27 to make the NHL, which is almost unheard of in this day and age. Unfortunately he was not able to follow that up with any sort of continuing momentum and really brings into question his future.

Rowney is an unrestricted free agent and it’s believed and been widely mentioned in the local media that the Penguins aren’t interested in bringing him back. General manager Jim Rutherford has talked recently about more balance, depth and scoring on the 4th line, another sign Rowney’s services won’t be requested. Hopefully he can hook on with another NHL team and be given a chance at a 4th line job.


Monthly Splits (via yahoo)

Rowney got a chance for some decent minutes in Oct+Nov when the Pens didn’t have Sheahan/Brassard but didn’t make much of it (check those faceoff % numbers early on) and the team wasn’t exactly doing well here either and that opportunity quickly went away.

Rowney had a 21 game point-less streak that stretched from December 18 - March 14.

Recording only 5 shots on goal in the final 18 games played is just kind sad. It’s tough to expect too much out of a seldom used 4th liner but that’s simply a player on life support.

Funky stat:

(Jon Gruden voice) I call this one, “Workin’ for the weekend!” (/Gruden voice). In 19 games Rowney played on Fridays/Saturdays he had 2 goals + 1 assist and a plus/minus rating of -3.

In the 25 other games he played he had 0 goals, 2 assists and was a -10.

Funky stat II:

On March 1st the Pens lost 8-4 to Boston in one of the worst games of the year. Rowney only played 8:06.

He was on the ice for 5 goals against (all within the first 2 periods) and also had a goal disallowed for kicking it into the net. OK, maybe that’s not so much funky as just unfortunate.

The Grades:

PK: B- (actually had a decent GA/60, though his Corsi events against were middle of the road. So it wasn’t like Rowney was doing much to prevent chances or doing anything special, but the team had fair enough results with him out there)

Even Strength: F

Durability: F

Playoffs (0 points in 3 games): Incomplete

Comments: Well, we always have 2017. Thanks for the hard work and best of luck in the future.

Overall Grade: F


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