Ben Lovejoy Could Be ‘The Piece’


When the Pittsburgh Penguins reacquired their former defender (Ben Lovejoy) at the trade deadline, many people were shocked and confused. Now as Ben Lovejoy has settled into his role inside the Penguins top four, the buzz has worn off. When he left Pittsburgh, Ben Lovejoy was at best, a bottom pair defender. However, it is quite amazing what a few years can do for someone. In his second stint with the Pittsburgh Penguins, Ben Lovejoy has been a solid contributor in the top four. In his first five games back with the Penguins, Lovejoy has 1 point (0 G – 1 A) and is a plus 1 skater. 

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Something is different about Lovejoy, his skating and his vision has improved dramatically from his time with the Anaheim Ducks. Perhaps the best part of Ben Lovejoy returning is the dramatic difference in the level of play of Derrick Pouliot. Ever since Lovejoy came back to Pittsburgh, Pouliot has been a more explosive player and the results have been showing on the scoreboard. In this last five games playing alongside Ben Lovejoy, Derrick Pouliot has three points (1 G – 2 A).

This pairing has been lights out for the Penguins and Ben Lovejoy has developed phenomenal chemistry with the 21 year old offensive defender.

In fact, the entire Pittsburgh Penguins team (overall) has played much better since the addition of Ben Lovejoy. After watching the last five games, I’ve begun to ask myself this question. Is Ben Lovejoy “The Piece” for this current Penguin team? Like Rob Scuderi before him, the more I watch, the more I realize that he is the leader the Penguins have been searching for.

March 6, 2015; Anaheim, CA, USA; Pittsburgh Penguins defenseman Derrick Pouliot (51) moves the puck ahead of Anaheim Ducks defenseman Clayton Stoner (3) during the first period at Honda Center. Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

Ben Lovejoy had always been known to be a humorous character in his interactions with the media, but still was a respected leader on the team. Right now, Ben Lovejoy is exactly what the Pittsburgh Penguins need to make a deep postseason run. However, I do not think his tenure with the Penguins should be long.

Frankly, Ben Lovejoy is a top four defender right now, but I doubt he will be able to maintain that level of play as he ages. Lovejoy is 31 years old and under contract through next season. Ben Lovejoy, while a great player, is no Kris Letang and should not be treated like he is. When his contract expires Ben Lovejoy will be 32 and that is where he and the Penguins should part.

Sans the Rob Scuderi resigning, the Penguins have been fairly competent at letting veteran players walk as their begins to decline. I do not want another “Scuderi” signing, a deal that everyone knew was too long for an old player who has been a detriment to the hockey club. Not only is Scuderi not a poor fit for head coach Mike Johnston’s system, but his play has fallen dramatically over the last two seasons and he still receives a high salary and valuable portion of the salary cap.

For the present, Ben Lovejoy will significantly help the Pittsburgh Penguins during the upcoming playoff run and next season. All good things come to an end and the Penguins management, despite numerous reports of how valuable the Assistant GMs think Lovejoy is, need to part with Ben Lovejoy after his contract expires.’

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