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NHL Free Agency: Penguins sign forward Brock McGinn

Pittsburgh signs away a former Carolina Hurricane

Pittsburgh Penguins v Carolina Hurricanes Photo by Gregg Forwerck/NHLI via Getty Images

The Pittsburgh Penguins made their first major dip in free agency when they signed forward Brock McGinn to a four year deal worth an annual average value of $2.75 million per season. McGinn, 27, is coming off six seasons with the Carolina Hurricanes, where he was drafted in the second round in 2012.

For the Pens, this is basically the answer to losing Brandon Tanev. McGinn is two+ years younger than Tanev, and $750k cheaper then what Tanev’s contract would have been if Seattle didn’t take him from Pittsburgh.

McGinn is a hard-working winger who will be an addition to the PK group. He has moderate finishing and offensive ability but can play responsible hockey against tough competition. His boxcar stats are not flashy but also not poor, via hockey db:

Here’s what our Carolina blog Canes Country said in part about McGinn. Think about Brandon Tanev when you read this..

It’s no secret that McGinn isn’t going to set the scoresheet on fire, but that doesn’t mean he hasn’t been an incredibly valuable part of the Canes success over the past few years.

He’s got 51 goals and a smidge over 100 points during his six years with the Canes, though only two of those were full seasons for various reasons. In 2021, McGinn played in 34 of the team’s 56 games, battling injury in the back half of the regular season, scoring eight goals and contributing five assists.

None of those numbers are staggering, but McGinn contributes in other ways, most notably on the penalty kill. The Canes boasted a top-three penalty kill during the regular season in 2021, and McGinn was a huge part of that.

McGinn led all Carolina forwards with 2:09 average time on ice on the penalty kill during the regular season, grinding out those shifts all year in the same way he has done during his whole career with the Hurricanes. He also scored one shorthanded goal, the fifth of his career, for good measure.

McGinn also brings that certain grittiness to the table that’s hard to quantify, but is obvious when watching him and listening to the way his teammates and head coach Rod Brind’Amour talk about him.

“There’s one guy that I can tell you if he comes out of a game, he’s hurt,” said Brind’Amour after McGinn got injured in a win over the Dallas Stars in April. “If that guy comes out, and you saw he actually came out and came back and tried to play. There’s nobody around since I’ve been done playing that is tougher than that kid.”

But still with all that said, it’s not like McGinn is incapable of scoring. He has a 30-point season under his belt in the league, and a four-game goal streak this past season.

A lot checks out, McGinn is here in Pittsburgh to fill a role and helps the Pens get a little younger and cheaper than if they kept Tanev. All things considered, surely they would have just rather kept Tanev, but expansion happened and it couldn’t be avoided. McGinn will give the same toughness, grit, PK’ing and offensive numbers that Tanev did, while being younger and slightly cheaper.

It will be interesting deeper into the off-season to see what the PK impact could be, because it looks like McGinn might have helped to drive even better results short-handed than Tanev (who was prett/y good himself).