A few days after teammate Patric Hornqvist made the decision to play for his country at the 2019 IIHF World Championships, Penguins’ defenseman Marcus Pettersson also elected to join Team Sweden’s roster for this year’s tournament.
After being swapped with controversial forward Daniel Sprong in a one-for-one trade with the Anaheim Ducks back in the beginning of December, Pettersson played in 57 total games for the Penguins and racked up a conservative 19 points (two goals, 17 assists). When his statistics for both Anaheim and Pittsburgh are combined, Pettersson started in 84 NHL games (thanks to scheduling) and collected 25 points (two goals, 23 assists). In his short playoff stint, he tallied an assist in the Penguins’ four games vs. the Islanders.
Pettersson also ranked second among all Penguins’ defensemen with at least 500 minutes of TOI with a 51.35 percent Corsi, had a sparkling 32.19 Expected Goals Against line, and possessed one of the best Expected Goals Differentials on the team. Additionally, Pettersson came in first among all defensemen — and fourth on the entire Penguins’ roster — in Expected Goals For while he was on the ice at 54.45.
His High Danger Chances Against were also impressively low, and down the final regular season stretch and into the playoffs, his pairing with fellow new guy Erik Gudbranson was one of the more successful ones at mitigating the opposition’s chances and moving the puck from both an eye test and statistical standpoint. Pettersson, at only 22-years-old, was quietly excellent in his little more than half a season stint in Pittsburgh, which is great news for the team moving forward. He’ll be a stellar addition to this year’s Swedish club.
Pettersson will also join teammates Evgeni Malkin (Russia), Matt Murray (Canada), Dominik Simon (Czech Republic), Jared McCann (Canada), and Teddy Blueger (Latvia) in this year’s Worlds. As eluded to in our rundown from Saturday, and with only 10 days until the tournament starts, a handful of other Penguins could potentially follow in their footsteps in the coming days.
(All data courtesy of Natural Stat Trick)