The Pittsburgh Penguins suffered immensely all year with finding a reliable bottom-six however, the search is over. The Pittsburgh Penguins had horrible injury luck this year which lead to some interesting lines. The team has finally found exactly what they needed. Frederick Gaudreau. With a full lineup, it gives Mike Sullivan the chance to have a solid bottom six. Might I say, it was at the perfect time, during the playoffs.
Frederick Gaudreau Complements Third Line
Position in the Lineup
Although he suffered heartbreak vs this team back in the 2017 Cup Final, Frederick Gaudreau has fit in perfectly in Pittsburgh. In March he was slotted into the fourth line due to the injury of Teddy Blueger and Evgeni Malkin. He then made the jump to third-line center over Mark Jankowski who immensely underachieved this season with horrible offensive numbers with six points in 45 games. Gaudreau has played extremely well in the system racking up 10 points in 19 games along with two points in three playoff games. The aged centermen/winger has brought size and skill to the Penguins third line along with Jeff Carter and Jared McCann.
Style of Play
You’d be surprised by how quick this guy can be with his six-foot frame. He brings a wide range of tools to the team. He has the ability to score goals, throw hits, can shoot the puck, can play defence, and has drive. He’s almost like a bigger version of Brandon Tanev. Everybody loves a Tanev type player. Gaudreau’s biggest attribute is his two-way game. He makes a big impact offensively and defensively which is what Pittsburgh’s third line is all about, all three players on that line have good offensive and defensive impact. You can see the amount of energy Gaudreau brings when on the ice. He makes quick decisions in transition and is always the first one on the forecheck. In the playoffs, his line has been lined up against the Komaro, Barzal, Eberle line which is filled with skill so you can see how much Mike Sullivan trusts them to shut down top units.
Currently playing at 3.18 points per 60 rate according to moneypuck.com. Gaudreau has shown up big for the Penguins in the first three games of the playoffs. To put that into perspective, Sidney Crosby is playing at 0.98 and Kris Letang at 2.16. During the regular season, he played in 19 games and carried a solid Goals Above Replacement (GAR) rate of 3.6 while maintaining a Wins Above Replacement (WAR) rate of 0.6. Not bad for an undrafted player. Although the current line he plays on has only played five games together, they carry a goals for per 60 rate of 8.99 and a goals-against per 60 rate of zero. You can see he’s definitely impactful in both zones. It isn’t a large sample size but if he got to play the full 56 you’d expect around the same numbers.
After this season the 28-year-old will be a free agent but I have a feeling he’ll be back. He carries a low cap hit of $700,000 and his value won’t rise too much so the Penguins could easily resign him for the same amount or a bit more. He’s shown he can be a depth player for this team who seems to contend year after year. He’s a Pittsburgh-type player and I highly doubt they let a two-way player like him walk away after the impression he has made on not only management but fans too. With the Penguins being tight with cap, he’s a solid depth player who doesn’t cost much at all, hard to pass up resigning him.
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