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2022-23 Season in Review: Mark Friedman

The Penguins have him signed on at a league-minimum salary for one more season.

Pittsburgh Penguins v New Jersey Devils Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images

Vitals

Player: Mark Friedman

Born: December 25, 1995 (27 years old)

Height: 5’11”

Weight: 185 pounds

Hometown: Toronto, Ontario, Canada

Shoots: Right

Draft: 2014 Philadelphia Flyers, third round, 86th overall

2022-23 Statistics: 23 games played, one goal, two assists, three points, 15 PIM

Contract Status: Friedman has one more year on the league-minimum $775,000 AAV contract he signed with the Pens last season.

Fun fact: Friedman’s namesake, his grandfather Mark Friedman, played golf at the University of Miami.

Hidden Stat: Friedman earned some love from the PPG Paints Arena crowd when he laid a season-high six hits against his former team, the Philadelphia Flyers, during a 4-2 home win on April 2.

History: Friedman earned a majority ‘B’ grade from Pensburgh readers last season.

Monthly Splits

via Yahoo Sports

Friedman’s most impactful stretch came in January-February, when in six games between January 13 and January 22 he scored a goal, recorded 9 PIM and laid 13 hits.

Story of the Season

Friedman made his Penguins season debut when injuries began to pile up during a 5-4 overtime loss to the Red Wings on December 28 in Detroit.

He split this season almost evenly between Wilkes-Barre/Scranton and Pittsburgh (he played 23 games in the NHL, 24 in the AHL.) Friedman recorded one goal, five assists and 19 PIM for WBS in between his trips to join the Pens.

The defenseman cleared waivers three times this season. (That’s also how he came to Pittsburgh in the first place, when the Pens grabbed him off waivers from the Philadelphia Flyers in February 2021.)

Friedman’s defensive partner throughout the campaign depended mostly on whose injury he had been called up to replace. He spent time skating alongside Brian Dumoulin, Chad Ruhwedel, Pierre Olivier-Joseph, Taylor Fedun and Marcus Pettersson and spent limited time on the penalty kill.

Regular season 5v5 advanced stats

Data via Natural Stat Trick. The ranking is out of eight defensemen who qualified by playing at least 150 minutes.

Corsi For%: 53.79 (1st)

Goals For%: 54.55 (2nd)

xGF%: 57.40 (1st)

Scoring Chance %: 54.58 (1st)

High Danger Scoring Chance%: 54.92 (2nd)

5v5 on-ice shooting%: 6.86 (7th)

On-ice save%: 92.59 (1st)

Goals/60: 0.2 (4th)

Assist/60: 0.4 (7th)

Points/60: 0.6 (6th)

  • There’s small sample size at play here. Friedman’s 301 total minutes of ice time were the least of all defenseman on the team (for context, he played about half as much as Chad Ruhwedel.) He also skated with a variety of defensive partners, making it hard to pin down his precise statistical impact on the Penguins’ game. In general, though, the Penguins were fairly successful at stymying chances against when he was on the ice (the .926 save percentage is a good indicator.)

Highlights

Friedman spread his arms for one of the most exuberant cellys of the 2022-23 Pens season when he wired a shot past Ottawa’s Cam Talbot for his first NHL goal since the 2022 playoffs.

Two days later, he dropped the gloves against the Ottawa Senators’ Brady Tkachuk.

Talbot was a wrecking ball against Wilkes-Barre/Scranton opponents.

He was also vocally supportive of his Penguins teammates, particularly the stars, as they hit a few notable milestones last season.

He also provided some relatable blooper reel moments for team content.

Bottom line

For the second consecutive season, Friedman brought a physical presence to the team as a go-to call-up when the Penguins ran short on defensemen.

Ideal 2023-24

Friedman himself put it best: his game is best when he’s able to “be a pest.” That, plus his league-minimum cost and his experience with the team, makes him the perfect call-up. The ideal next season for the Penguins would likely be for them to roll out a strong enough defensive lineup that Friedman is a seventh (or deeper) d-man but then, when injuries inevitably occur, give Friedman the chance to lay a few more hits—and maybe drop the gloves once or twice—in 2023-24.

Poll

How would you grade Mark Friedman’s 2022-23 season?

This poll is closed

  • 6%
    A
    (24 votes)
  • 56%
    B
    (206 votes)
  • 33%
    C
    (123 votes)
  • 2%
    D
    (8 votes)
  • 0%
    F
    (2 votes)
363 votes total Vote Now