Originally drafted in the first round by Arizona, Pierre-Olivier Joseph got his NHL debut this season at 21 years old. He was vivid, one of the Penguins’ best defensemen at one point in the season when they were having bad injury luck. In his last five games with the Penguins, he had zero points which ultimately led to him being sent down to the minors. The Penguins acquired the Quebec native from Arizona in 2019 in the Phil Kessel trade. Although Pittsburgh lost a pure goal scorer in Kessel, they received back a piece of their future. The future looks bright in Pierre-Olivier Joseph.
Pierre-Olivier Joseph’s First NHL Experience
For someone who’s 6 foot 2 and not much fill in his body, Joseph is a great skater. You can see how agile he is by his movement on the blue line. From transitions to cycling to crossovers, he’s excellent. His hockey IQ is also one of his strengths. He makes plays at the perfect times. Look at his three-point night vs the Rangers, he displayed excellent blue line movement on two of the three assists. Another strength of his is creating low danger chances, he has 38 in 16 games.
As I mentioned above, Pierre-Olivier Joseph doesn’t have much muscle on him. He is only 21 so there’s tons of time for him to work in the off-season. If he puts on some muscle that’ll improve his shot from the point which is already pretty lethal and his defensive play in front of the Penguins goalies. Another improvement to make in his game is shooting more, he has a good shot but doesn’t create many rebounds so if he can get his shot off quicker, he’ll have the chance to create some free goals for the Penguins forwards. His offence is bound to come due to his skill set but, his defence will be the key component if he can become a two-way defenseman for the consistently contending Penguins team.
The Pittsburgh Penguins are one of the teams who need to go all-in while they still have veterans Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin, and Kris Letang. The Stanley Cup window never closes if you have those three players on your roster. A downside to this is the team is expected to have one of the worst future cores because every year they continue to load up and make a run for the cup come playoff time. The Penguins have some important future key players in Jake Guentzel, Bryan Rust, Tristan Jarry, John Marino, Kasperi Kapanen, and Jared McCann currently on the roster. The future doesn’t look horrible for the Penguins like everyone seems to think. Pierre-Olivier Joseph will likely be on the Penguins’ top pairing in the future. In the meantime, he’ll develop and learn from the likes of Kris Letang and Brian Dumoulin. The youngster definitely has the ceiling to hit the top 10 defensemen mark in a few years.
Although he got out to a hot start, Joseph’s game slowed down. You should expect nothing less with a young defenseman. This season was conditioning time for him to learn the ropes of the systems. It was definitely a good debut for Joseph. He did only play 16 games so once he gets more under his belt, you can expect more results. In 16 games he had one goal and four assists along with six penalty minutes. He was 100% better than his point total. The defensemen showed poise and that eventually, he’ll make his way to being a top pair defensemen for the Pittsburgh Penguins. It’s hard to judge young defensemen when he hasn’t played many games and it’s his first time in the NHL, take Jamie Drysdale for example.
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