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2018-19 Penguins’ Season in Review: Sidney Crosby

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Individually, a terrific season for the Pens’ captain

NHL: Nashville Predators at Pittsburgh Penguins Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

Vitals

Player: Sidney Crosby

Born: 8/7/87

Height: 5’ 11”

Weight: 200 pounds

Birthplace: Cole Harbour, NS, Canada

Position: Center

Shoots: Left

Draft: 2005 PIT, 1st Round (1st Overall)

Contract status: Crosby’s contract (at a $8.7 million cap hit) continues through the 2024-25 season, at which point he will be a few months shy of his 38th birthday.

The past: Last season, Crosby commanded 80% of the Pensburgh vote for an “A or A+”. 2017-18 was a frustrating one for Crosby, whose on-ice shooting % cratered for unknown and unlucky reasons, dragging down his norms a bit (but just a bit) as far as point production.

Regular Season History

Great year all around for Crosby, who (knock on wood) it should be noted made it through a sixth straight season of practically full health. For a player with so many injury concerns at the early half of this decade it certainly is a welcome turn of events to see him make it through relatively unscathed again, and note he’s averaged 79 games over the past six seasons.

And it was a successful year, a boost in scoring - recording the most assists and points he’s registered in a campaign since 2013-14. His faceoff numbers are up to about elite status north of 55%, just good things about everywhere you look.

Nominations

A special player like Crosby can use special markers to measure up if it’s been a good season or not, and being nominated (and winning) end-of-year league awards is the way it happens for Sid. This year he’s a finalist for the Hart Trophy for NHL MVP for the fifth time in the last seven years.

Crosby isn’t expected to win the award — he ranks second based on what the Vegas odds say — but he almost certainly will be named to the first or second team NHL All-Star team for the eight time.

Legend status

Crosby started the 2018-19 season with 1,116 points, 62nd all-time in NHL league history. Tack on the 100 he earned this season to get to 1,216 and he’s now up to 43rd place all-time, with absolute legends of the game in his sights.

This season alone Crosby surpassed the following players: Bobby Clarke, Sergei Fedorov, Nicklas Lidstrom, Bobby Hull, Mike Bossy and Darryl Sittler, among other hall of famers that he is now in the midst of, and passing all the time.

Crosby is also second place among all active NHLers in scoring currently, with first place Joe Thornton facing a currently undecided NHL future, so there’s a chance Sid could assume his position as the league’s highest active scorer.

With his next point, Crosby will pull into a tie for 42nd place with former Penguin Larry Murphy, and be two points back of the legendary Jean Beliveau as Sid continues his climb into the pantheon of all-time greats.

Sid is 507 career points behind Mario Lemieux, and with six seasons remaining on his current contract would have to average 84.5 points/season to pass Lemieux. (With always the possibility that he could sign another contract as well). At this point, Mario’s all-time franchise records are a ways off, but pretty much attainably so given the pace Crosby is scoring at.

Crosby is 374 points away from becoming 10th all time in NHL scoring, which again while it won’t be a milestone on the near horizon it certainly feels like it’s coming into focus fairly quickly.

Fancier Stats

Crosby had a strong year possession-wise, especially relative to his teammates who did not have a particularly strong season.

Playoffs

Have to give the Islanders team defense and goaltending a lot of credit, they were able to keep Crosby off the scoresheet almost completely in an unfortunate time for a cold streak. Whether it was the aggressive forechecking, a persistent defense, tough goaltending, the Isles’ frustrated no one any more than they did Crosby and Guentzel for what turned out to be a stunningly short series.

Monthly Split

(via yahoo!)

As expected, an incredible split of production and consistency. The Pens started the year slow but Crosby (13 goals and 15 assists in the first 21 games) was doing his part. Across the board we have 30-40 shots per month and steady scoring in 20 minutes a game, with strong face off results every month but one. There was also one little hiccup in January when the power play scoring went away for a stretch.

Crosby scored 57 points in 45 games before the All-Star break (1.26 points/game) and followed it up with 43 points in 34 games after the break (1.26 points/game). A finely tuned watch couldn’t be any more precise and consistent.

Sid’s at 1.29 points/game over his entire career, so even this year in his age-31 season with the ice pretty wide open and scoring high across the league, Crosby is as dangerous and producing as much as his career norm. Put plainly, he’s getting older but certainly not yet aging out as a top-scoring player in the league.

Charts

This is just humorous, Crosby is off the charts productive and without him the Pens are dull, with him they are good.

Lots of Jake Guentzel there in red as a steady Crosby LW. The right rotated a lot, mostly Bryan Rust but a bit more Jared McCann as the season went on.

That’s a thing of beauty.

Sidney Crosby: makes people better! Who knew?

This one is fun, as goalies all over the league know, you have to be razor sharp at every moment because Sidney Crosby can and will shoot from any angle on the ice, at any time. In recent years Crosby has been like an artist toying with the league on how to score on deflections, baseball bat-like swings, banking in goals from behind the line, playing the puck off the goalie’s back or head. Just total mastery of how to create wonderful plays.

Highlights

Ideal 2019-20

Crosby and Jake Guentzel keep it rolling and the year looks like this one, with a run at 100 points and more nods for Hart and Selke trophies as a great two-way player making an impact all over the ice.

Realistic 2019-20

The great thing about a beyond-generational type talent in Sidney Crosby is that unlike for 99% of the league, the realistic outcome is probably close to the ideal. You can count on Crosby having a great season already next year, barring something strange happening.

Worst Case 2019-20

For good reason, everyone is over-protective about injury, though as mentioned above it’s been over six years since Crosby has suffered a major injury, and even that was freaky and bad luck (a broken jaw in 2013 from a deflected shot). There’s also the case like in 2017-18 that shooting percentages could produce an extended cold streak, but usually Crosby is too talented and generates too much for the bounces not to go his way sooner than later.

There’s also the chance that Mike Sullivan’s system keeps morphing into Mike Johnston’s ill-advised “200 foot game” that he wanted from Crosby. That stretch lead to some horrible offensive seasons and Crosby had to play too much in his own end and didn’t have the support of teammates and system to be able and shift gears to offense. Crosby is a great two-way player, but worth more doing things that no one else can do in the offensive zone, not collapsing down low as an outlet option because the team is stocked with players who aren’t capable enough to move the puck.

Discussion

With the emergence of players like Nikita Kucherov and Connor McDavid, will Crosby ever win a scoring title again? Who is best on Sid’s right wing?

Poll

Grade Sidney Crosby’s 2018-19 season

This poll is closed

  • 71%
    A+
    (552 votes)
  • 25%
    A
    (193 votes)
  • 2%
    A-
    (18 votes)
  • 0%
    B
    (4 votes)
767 votes total Vote Now