Analyzing the Miracle Run of Evan Rodrigues

Penguins Evan Rodrigues
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Towards the end of 2021Evan Rodrigues was undoubtedly one of the top and most exciting players in the NHL. His release on a wrist shot was a thing of beauty when he had the puck on the right-wing. Since then he’s cooled down. It doesn’t help he’s playing in a more defensive bottom-six role. With 37 points in 61 games in the 2021-22 season, there’s no doubt he’s had an amazing year compared to expectations. The Toronto native has been no more than a fourth-line player in his 8 year NHL career. With his career-high being 29 points while playing for Buffalo Sabres, it was definitely worth sending Dominik Kahun, who’s no longer an NHL’er, the other way.

Evan Rodrigues Shines Playing In Top Six For Penguins

Style Of Play

Rodrigues really is a swiss army knife player. The most notable part of his game is the shot. His ability to load up and release is a thing of beauty. He can be a playmaker and sniper with his shot and awareness. The Toronto native is a zone entry beast, averaging over 26 entries per game. It doesn’t stop there, he’s generating over five scoring chances off the rush, which is up there with Hart trophy candidates Johnny Gaudreau and Connor McDavid.

Besides the offence, his ability to play defensively is what makes him so valuable. Rodrigues has excelled in both a shutdown role and a top-line scoring role. As he’s cooled off since his miracle run, it’s easy to see he’s overthinking things. Who wouldn’t if they had 2 goals since February 1st. However, after collecting 40 points in 68 games this season, it’s fair to say he’s surprised all Penguins fans.

Contract Situation

If you would have asked Penguins fans what Evan Rodrigues was worth in January, they would have told you at least 3 million. Since then, his play has very much diminished. With only 2 goals since February 1st, it’s fair to say he won’t be getting the big-ticket raise. This may be a blessing in disguise for the Penguins as they have some major negotiations this summer.

However, in the final year of his contract, the 28-year-old can definitely hope for a raise, as he deserves with the way he raised his game in the absence of the stars. He’s one of the main reasons the Penguins are where they are. With no scoring while the stars are out, who knows where they’d be in this tight Metropolitan division race.

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Outlook

After the addition of Rickard Rakell, it was hard to identify where exactly down the lineup he would be. He’s had time on a wing with Sidney Crosby, Jake Guentzel, Jason Zucker, and Kasperi Kapanen. He’s also slid in at center quite a few times in addition to being on both powerplay units. He can play anywhere if you maximize the opportunity for him to use his offensive game. Unlike his high point of the season, he’s in a goal-scoring slump while shooting only 8.72%. But Evan Rodrigues has a prime chance to solidify a spot come playoff time in the Penguins lineup. Although he’s cooled off, “Erod” deserves more love from Steel City for his magical performance this season. He’s not going to get the big payday but there may be some teams wanting his services. Only time will tell his future.

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