Mar 25, 2014; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; Pittsburgh Penguins center Marcel Goc (57) skates with the puck against the Phoenix Coyotes during the second period at the CONSOL Energy Center. The Phoenix Coyotes won 3-2. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

Marcel Goc To Improve Next Season For Pittsburgh Penguins?

While most of the Pittsburgh Penguins’ 2013-14 roster signed on with other teams, they were able to re-sign a couple.

One of them was center Marcel Goc.

Goc, 30, was inked to a one-year, $1.2 million deal, and is expected to man the fourth-line for Pittsburgh. And when given a full season, Goc’s effectiveness/production could increase.

Acquired at the trade deadline from the Florida Panthers, Goc only wound up playing in 12 regular-season contests for the Pens, due to an ankle injury he sustained on Mar. 27 against the Los Angeles Kings. The ailment kept him out for the remainder of the regular-season, and his absence even leaked into the postseason.

Chemistry is everything in hockey. If a player doesn’t have enough time to get adjusted to his new squad, it’s utterly difficult to find that rhythm. However, now that Goc has had a little stint with Pittsburgh, this next season we could see him gel and generate more quality scoring opportunities, despite having a new head coach.

Goc has never registered past 30 points in a season, and Pittsburgh doesn’t need him to. They just have to have Goc be a steady contributor on the fourth-line, and manufacture valiant pressure on the opposition’s netminder. That, and Goc must establish a sufficient forecheck. If he can muster all the little tangibles a fourth-liner needs to in order to be reliable, Goc could turn out to be an underrated re-addition for Pittsburgh.

I compare Goc’s situation to Jussi Jokinen‘s.

Jokinen, who like Goc was acquired at the deadline, didn’t really sync with the Pens at first. The Finnish winger was benched in the playoffs more often than not, and he failed to bring that boom he did this past season. Now, of course, Goc isn’t a former 30-goal scorer like Jokinen was, but you see the point I’m trying to get at. When provided enough leeway, Goc’s value will ascend.

Before Pittsburgh traded for him, Goc put up 23 points (11G, 12A) in 62 games. Joe Vitale, who was Pittsburgh’s fourth-line center last season, garnered just 14 points (1G, 13A) in 53 outings. If you combine Craig Adamsnumbers with Vitale’s, Goc had one less point from just his Panthers’ numbers, and he wound up owning one more point overall. So, at the very least, Goc will be an improvement over last year’s fourth-line players.

As I mentioned earlier, Goc will have to embrace a new head coach, but that’s a learning curve for everybody on the roster. In the end, I fully expect Goc to have more symmetry this next season for the Penguins. Provided that he’s 100-percent healthy, Goc’s contributions will be key to Pittsburgh’s Cup hopes.

Personally, I’d prefer to have Blake Comeau and Zach Sill as his linemates, just because I feel they’d mesh well together. However, whichever players Goc gets assigned with, his readiness is greatly essential.

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