Pittsburgh Penguins History: Least used Players in Playoffs

Pittsburgh Penguins, Derrick Pouliot. (Photo by Jamie Sabau/Getty Images)
Pittsburgh Penguins, Derrick Pouliot. (Photo by Jamie Sabau/Getty Images) /

The Pittsburgh Penguins have played a lot of playoff hockey since 1970 and needed the help of a few hundred players to claim their five Stanley Cup titles, but what about the players that didn’t play a lot?

The Pittsburgh Penguins have played 381 playoff games and needed 319 players since 1970, to yield the successful results the club has seen over the course of their history in the postseason.

Sometimes, for one reason or another,  a player has had trouble earning a postseason roster spot, despite playing in a decent amount of regular-season games. Here is a look back at some of the most underutilized players in Penguins playoff history.

Note: We understand some of the players listed below may not have been available to play in all the games that are referenced due to professional or personal circumstances.

Get out of town

Derrick Pouliot

We may never understand the complete reasons behind why Pouliot never reached the lofty expectations that were placed on him while he was a member of the Penguins, but what we do know is that Pouliot never saw much playoff action.

Pouliot appeared in 67 regular-season games with the Penguins from 2014-17, scoring two goals and 14 points and averaged 16:25 of ice time (ATOI) per game.

In the playoffs, Pouliot made two appearances in the Penguins 54 playoff games from 2015-2017, and put five shots on net, earned two penalty minutes and had a 14:41 ATOI.

Michal Rozsival

Rozsival is a veteran of close to 1000 NHL games and won two Stanley Cups with the Chicago Blackhawks in 2013 and 2015.

Rozsival was a member of the Penguins from 1999-2003 and appeared in 237 regular-season games and scored 18 goals, 65 points, and an ATOI of 19:25.

Given Rozsival’s longevity in the NHL, it is mind-boggling to think that he appeared in just two of a possible 29 playoff games with the Penguins.

Rozsival’s two playoff games occurred in 2000 and it was a record-setting performance that gave him an ATOI of 30:56 per game.

Simon Despres

Hindsight is always 20/20 and Jim Rutherford is on record as saying regretted trading Despres to the Anaheim Ducks for Ben Lovejoy in 2015. In the weeks following the deal Pittsburgh lost the services of both Christian Ehrhoff and Kris Letang to concussions, leaving a hole on defense that Despres could have filled.

Despres played in 144 regular-season games with the Penguins from 2011-2015, earning five goals and 33 points, and averaged 15:54 TOI.

In the playoffs, Despres made appearances in six of a possible 21 games the Penguins played and earned 10:13 ATOI.

Make Malkin a Milkshake

Eric Tangradi

Tangradi joined the Penguins as a part of the Kunitz deal from Anaheim in Feb. 2009, and developed in a gifted grinder that chased pucks and crashed bodies whenever he had the chance.

Tangradi played in 45 regular-season games with the Penguins from 2009-2013, scoring one goal, five points, and had a 9:45 ATOI.

In 65 potential postseason games, Tangradi made appearances three matchups, scored one point, and had a 10:29 ATOI.

Robert Bortuzzo

Bortuzzo began his NHL career in 2011 and was traded to the St. Louis in 2015 along with a draft pick for Ian Cole, and probably found himself off the Malkin family Christmas card list following a hit that left Malkin injured in Mar. of 2019.

Bortuzzo played 113 regular-season games from 2011-15 with the Penguins, scoring four goals, 20 points, and had a 14:56 ATOI.

Bortuzzo made appearances in eight of the Penguins 34 playoff games from 2012-14, earning one point and a 14:56 ATOI.

Which one of these players should have made more appearances for the Pittsburgh Penguins in the playoffs? Drop them in the comment section below.