Pittsburgh Penguins History: Best Goal Scoring Rookie Defensemen

Pittsburgh Penguins, John Marino. (Photo by Tim Bradbury/Getty Images)
Pittsburgh Penguins, John Marino. (Photo by Tim Bradbury/Getty Images) /

Here’s a look at the Pittsburgh Penguins best goal-scoring D-men.

One of the bright spots for the Pittsburgh Penguins during the 2019-20 season was the emergence of John Marino. Marino provided some much-needed stability for a Penguins defense core that at times was in tatters.

Note: We decided to use goals scored as the criteria to rank the defensemen on our list and not evaluate the players based on their defensive skillset because goal-scoring defensemen are a lot of fun to watch, especially if you’re a Penguins fan.

So where does Marino’s exceptional campaign rank amongst other rookie defenders since 2005?

Let’s take a look.

Goose Before the Gander

Alex Goligoski

Goligoski’s first sustained period of time with the Penguins occurred during the 2008-09 season, where he made appearances in 45 games with the club. Goligoski did crack the line-up for three games in 2007-08 and scored three points.

In 45 games, Goligoski scored six goals and 20 points, with 14 penalty minutes (PIM). Goligoski also laid 49 hits, blocked 30 shots, with nine takeaways and 24 giveaways, putting at number five on our list.

Kris Letang

Letang has reached somewhat of “cult” status around Pittsburgh these days and has faced as much adversity, as scrutiny since he joined the Penguins for seven games during the 2006-07 season.

In 2007-08 Letang played 63 games and scored six goals and 20 points with 23 PIM. Letang also had 75 blocks, 79 hits, 16 takeaways, and 39 giveaways, which puts him at number four on our list.

In case you’re wondering, Letang has averaged one giveaway per game in his 808 GP.

New Blood Joins the Team

John Marino

In an era where GM Jim Rutherford has made some perplexing moves, the Marino trade is proving to be quite a revelation.

The Penguins picked up Marino from the Edmonton Oilers for a 6th round pick in 2021 NHL Entry Draft, and he has made an immediate impact.

Marino appeared in 56 games during the 2019-20 season and scored six goals and 26 points with

Marino also has 77 blocks, 72 hits, and 42 giveaways.

Ryan Whitney

Whitney was selected 5th overall by the Penguins in the 2002 NHL Entry Draft and joined the club for the 2005-06 season.

Whitney appeared in 68 games during his rookie season and scored six goals and 59 points, with 16 points scored on the powerplay. Whitney also earned 77 PIM and put 113 shots on net, which stands as the fourth-highest shot total of his career.

Olli Maatta

Maatta was selected by the Penguins with the 22nd pick in the 2012 NHL Entry Draft and had the added benefit of appearing in 78 games during his rookie season, which may have helped pad his stats just a little to put him number one on our list.

Maatta scored 9 goals and 20 points in his 78 game rookie campaign, with Pittsburgh and earned 14 PIM.

Matta ate a ton of pucks, making 112 blocks, 41 hits, with 10 takeaways and 35 giveaways.

What do you think about the Pittsburgh Penguins Rookies that made our list and how would you rank them? Drop them in the comment section below.