Pittsburgh Penguins’ Bryan Rust has been labeled as a grinder during his 4 season career. But with bursts of offense, a beautiful “Rustache”, and some choice words for the opposing team, Rust has earned a new moniker: fan favorite.
Look I’ve been a Bryan Rust guy for while. That 2 goal performance in Game 7 of the 2016 ECF was the stuff of (local) legend. It helped propel the Pittsburgh Penguins to their first of back-to-back Stanley Cup victories.
But I feel like we aren’t celebrating him enough. Fan love Sid, Geno, Letang, and Phil. And rightfully so. However lets not forget the supporting cast and take a moment to analyze the criminally underappreciated Rust.
- 2 shorthanded goals (1st on team)
- 55.45 SAT% aka Corsi For % (1st on team)
- 42 hits (5th among forwards)
- 18 blocked shots ( 3rd among forwards)
The surprising takeaway here is the 55.45% Corsi For. For anyone who may not know what that means, NHL.com explains it well here. Basically when Rust is on the ice, the team is possessing the puck in the offensive zone more. More offensive zone time leads to more shots. And more shots leads to more goals.
Rust leads the team with 2 shorthanded goals while ranking fourth among forwards 45:44 with shorthanded TOI. He exhibits an ability to make smart defensive plays but also has the skill to deliver offensively.
Number 17 averages 1:40 of short handed TOI per game to go along with 1:25 of PP TOI per game. This makes Rust the only Pittsburgh Penguins forward to average over a minute in all scenarios. His versatility proves to come in handy, especially when it comes time to shake up the power play.
A “Team Guy”
Affectionately referred to as Rusty by teammates and fans alike (side note: hockey nicknames, wildly original), the forward brings some character to back up the stats.
Take the match up against the Buffalo Sabres on December 1st. After Buffalo forward Evander Kane took a run at an exposed Rust along the boards, Rusty was quick to stand up for himself. A bit of grit goes a long way, especially against a heavier opponent like Kane. He even offered up some choice words after being put in the box (NSFW).
We should also take this opportunity to offer up a moment of silence for the Rustache.
What a thing of beauty. Best ‘stache the Penguins have seen since Bryan Trottier. And that is some high praise.