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2022-23 Season in Review: Pierre-Olivier Joseph

Joseph’s first full season in Pittsburgh was filled with some sparkling moments and some natural growing pains.

NHL: Pittsburgh Penguins at Dallas Stars Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports


Player: Pierre-Olivier Joseph
Born: July 1, 1999 (Will be 24 years old this July).
Height: 6-foot-2
Weight: 185 pounds
Hometown: Laval, Quebec, Canada
Shoots: Left
Draft: First round, 23rd overall, Arizona Coyotes (2017)
2022-23 Statistics: 75 games played, five goals, 16 assists, 21 points, 44 penalty minutes
Contract Status: Signed through 2023-24 season with a cap hit of $825,000
Fun fact: P.O Joseph played against his older brother, Mathieu, for the first time in their NHL careers on January 20, 2023. Both brothers were penalized and sent to the penalty box simultaneously in a funny moment during Pittsburgh’s 4-1 win over the Ottawa Senators.
Hidden Stat: Tied for second most goals scored by Penguins defensemen during the 2022-23 season with five goals (Jeff Petry).
History: Incomplete 2021-22 NHL grade; only played in four NHL games during the 2021-22 season. >> PensBurgh Top 25 Under 25 (2022): #2 - P.O Joseph

Monthly Splits

P.O Joseph - Monthly Splits
Yahoo! Sports

The young blue-liner came out of the gates with an impressive three assists in the first eight games he appeared in during the 2022-23 campaign. Joseph's reputation has always been that of a more offensively-inclined defenseman (as you will see below), and as he got into the holiday season, his game appeared to ascend to a different level before struggling mightily as the calendar turned to 2023.

Story of the Season

This always felt like it was going to be the season for P.O Joseph. After continued marination in the AHL during the 2021-22 season, Joseph worked his way into the Pittsburgh Penguins’ lineup as a regular, even with the bevy of left-handed shots on the blue line. Marcus Pettersson, Brian Dumoulin, and Joseph proved to be the Penguins’ go-to southpaws when healthy.

Joseph’s play that earned him heaps of praise as the season went on was during a time when he was in a more sheltered role.

Of course, it wouldn't be a normal Penguins season without several key injuries. With injuries and absences to the likes of Kris Letang, Jeff Petry, and others, when Joseph was elevated into a more prominent role, more of his warts were on display.

It could have been the classic case of being given too much responsibility too soon. For what was essentially a rookie, that’s not the worst thing in the world. Sheathe your bust swords for now.

Regular season 5v5 advanced stats

Data via Natural Stat Trick. The ranking is out of eight defensemen on the team who qualified by playing a minimum of 150 minutes.

Corsi For%: 53.41 (2nd)
Goals For%: 56.38 (1st)
xGF%: 52.66 (6th)
Scoring Chance %: 53.44 (2nd)
High Danger Scoring Chance%: 51.97 (6th)
5v5 on-ice shooting%: 8.56 (2nd)
On-ice save%: 92.55 (2nd)
Goals/60: 0.23 (1st)
Assist/60: 0.81 (3rd)
Points/60: 1.04 (2nd)

Offense galore, at least according to these statistics.

Of Joseph’s eighteen even-strength points, 38.9 % of those points came alongside right-hander Chad Ruhwedel as his defensive partner. Joseph and Ruhwedel played just over 300 minutes of ice time, by far the largest amount of ice time with any other Penguins defender.

However, it was with another partner that Joseph experienced some of his best all-around play. When deployed with Jeff Petry (221 minutes of ice time), Joseph had an SF% (shots for %) of 56.6 (128 shots for, 98 shots against) while being on the ice for 17 goals and 12 goals against.

Charts n’at

As mentioned above, Joseph saw most of his action with Chad Ruhwedel at even strength. He was very rarely asked to shoulder a load on the power play, though, with one of either Kris Letang or Jeff Petry, there was no need to be a power-play quarterback.

Moderate defensive struggles (left). The dark red in front of his own net is never ideal. In nearly 1,900 minutes of ice time, the Penguins proved to be a better defensive team without Joseph.

That’s not a death nail in any player’s career, but a concern the Penguins coaches are hoping can be mitigated as Joseph matures.

Encouraging results in the offensive zone but struggled at preventing entries and retrieving pucks in his own end.

More of what was illustrated above. Joseph makes good offensive impacts but struggles to do the same defensively. That’s the theme with this player. All evidence above shows a competent, offensive defenseman who has trouble with the defending part of being a defenseman.

Again, though, not to sound overly critical, as players have earned solid reputations for not being the crispest defensive skaters. If Joseph is anchored with more of your typical “shutdown” defender, he could find success.


Bottom Line

Joseph had what many consider to be a typical rookie season for defensemen. Throw in some flashes of offensive genius and questionable play at times in his own zone, and you have what P.O Joseph was labeled as coming into the 2022-23 season.

Ideal 2023-24

Joseph’s first full season at the NHL level proved valuable, and whoever is the new general manager of the Pittsburgh Penguins will likely be relying on the services of the young French-Canadian heading into 2023-24. Joseph is slotted into the lineup at a very team-friendly cap hit of just $825K, likely behind Marcus Pettersson as the team’s left-handed option that rounds out the top four.

Will Joseph be able to grow his game, take that next step, and limit some of his defensive shortcomings to become a reliable two-way defender?


How would you grade P.O Joseph’s 2022-23 season?

This poll is closed

  • 3%
    (14 votes)
  • 57%
    (212 votes)
  • 35%
    (132 votes)
  • 2%
    (9 votes)
  • 0%
    (2 votes)
369 votes total Vote Now