Part two of our series to recap the seasons and stories of former Penguins players who are plying their craft on different NHL teams this season.
Stats: 71 games played, 25 goals, 35 assists, 52 PIMs, +2
—Perron was great in the playoffs (16 points in 26 games) and continued to produce well offensively in 2019-20, his age 31 season now on his third stint with the Blues. In fact, he’s possibly better than ever, the shutdown looks like it’s likely to have stopped him from setting a career-high in goals (28) and points (66), even at a relatively older age. Perron just fits in STL and has maintained his mojo there.
Stats: 57 GP, 12G+11A, 28 PIMs, +5
—Sundqvist followed up his first successful NHL season in 2018-19 with another good one in 2019-20, ranking 8th among Blues forwards in TOI/game and 9th in ES points (21). Sundqvist has basically shifted to wing, as he’s not great at faceoffs (44% in 105 draws).
Stats: 42 GP, 2G+4A, 21 PIMs, +12
—Another season in the books for Bortuzzo towards the bottom of the lineup. He was suspended for four games in November for cross-checking Nashville’s Viktor Arvidsson in the back in a similar manner to what Bortuzzo did to Evgeni Malkin last season.
Stats: 2 GP, 0G+0A, 2 PIMs, -1
—A brief two-game cameo for the former high pick this year, only necessitated by injury. Pouliot spent the rest of the season with St. Louis’ AHL affiliate in San Antonio, putting up 38 points (7G+32A) in 59 games.
Stats: 65 GP, 4G+22A, 36 PIMs, +26
—A nice season for Big Red out in Colorado, he’s basically a No. 6 defenseman at 17:42 per game, but still moving the puck pretty well with those assists numbers and a key member of the PK. Which also speaks to the strength of the first place Avs that they can used an experience and actually-not-bad defensive defenseman
Stats: 8 GP, 0G+0A, 2 PIMs, -1
—Remember Megna? He played with the Pens from 2013-15 and has bounced around a bit, and is only 30 years old. These games were the first he had in the NHL since one game in Vancouver in 2017-18. Megna spent the majority of the season with AHL Colorado Eagles where he scored 34 points in 43 games.
Stats: 55 GP, 8G+8A, 36 PIMs, -6
—It’s been five seasons since the Pens helped get Comeau’s career back on track and he’s finished his second year in Dallas now of a three year contract. At almost 15 minutes a game it wasn’t a very productive season this year. Comeau, 34, has carved out a really lengthy NHL career with 852 games, which considering he only has 136 goals is pretty nice run of well-rounded play.
Stats: 69 GP, 3G+7A, 41 PIMs, -6
—Oleksiak’s return to Dallas in a trade last season has gone OK. He played a career high of 69 games in a season and at 15:49 per game was used as a sixth defenseman. Oleksiak, 27, is still under contract next season at $2.13m and probably will remain in that bottom-pair type of role and is probably playing for a contract either in Dallas or somewhere else to remain in the NHL beyond the 2020-21 season.
Stats: 7 GP, 0G+0A, 0 PIMs, even
—There’s a blast from the past, huh? Letestu, 35, hasn’t been with the Pens since 2011 and bounced around the league ever since. This was his first year in Winnipeg, signing last summer as a free agent, but unfortunately it wasn’t a good season. Letestu only appeared in seven games and was shut down from physical activity in October after being diagnosed with a heart condition known as myocarditis. Haven’t seen any updates on him, but this could be the end of the road for his competitive professional hockey days given that disease, plus his age and status.
Stats: 67 GP, 18G+17A, 16 PIMs, +17
—A good, typical season for Bonino. In fact, maybe one of the best seasons of his career. Bonino’s 2.48 5v5 P/60 led the Preds and he also set personal career-highs in 5v5 goals (16) and points (33). All this despite most common linemates of Rocco Grimaldi and Craig Smith, in a checking/energy type role. Bonino done really well in Nashville to stay on the right side of the goals going in the net (63.7 GF% last year, 62.7% this year), good things tend to happen when he’s on the ice.
Stats (with Minnesota): 14 GP, 3G+4A, 6 PIMs, +2
—Galchenyuk was able to pull the nose up a bit after another trade. He scored almost as many goals as he did with the Pens (5 in 45 games) showing a bit of a bounce-back. He only played 14:57 per game in Minnesota, and as an impending free agent he’ll need to find a new home. Minnesota wouldn’t be a bad place to try and carve out a niche.
Stats: 65 GP, 4G+13A, 20 PIMs
—First, Maatta at least retained his health this year (missing only five games, four to illness and another which looks like a healthy scratch), so that’s the important first note about him, as always. Beyond that, it was a middling season for Maatta. His CF% of 48.56% ranked virtually tied with Duncan Keith (48.57%) for fourth among nine regular defensemen. Maatta was used in a second pair No. 3 or 4 type role with an average of 18:25 per game, in a largely defensive role in terms of some of the toughest zone starts on the team.
The Blackhawks had a lot of roster changes, Maatta played 100+ minutes with three different partners (Slater Koekkoek, Connor Murphy and Brent Seabrook) and seemed to have the best process with the pretty under-rated Murphy with a CF% above 50% (though they got slaughtered with 6 GF to 17 GA). Maatta+Seabrook would have been an awful idea of two below average skaters, so Maatta personally was pretty lucky Seabrook’s surgeries avoided that situation. Personally, for Maatta, it would be best if he could play on a shutdown pair with Murphy and be a quiet defensive defenseman. (It’s probably better for the team though to have Murphy with Keith as a power top pair).
Maatta, 26, still has two more seasons on his $4.08m cap hit.