This year could’ve looked a lot different for this defender and the Pittsburgh Penguins. However, he stayed and rewarded leadership’s faith with his play on and off the ice.
Marcus Pettersson had a choice to make last September. He could stay with the Pittsburgh Penguins and sign a 1-year tendered offer or hold out as an RFA like so many others. Pettersson decided to trust the Penguin’s leadership, sign the contract, and stay. Fast forward 6 months later, and he and the Pens agreed on a deal that will keep him in Pittsburgh for a long, long time.
That trust spoke of went both ways. For Pettersson, it was trusting that the Penguins would full fill their side of the bargain. For the Penguins, it was that he would perform on and off the ice. It’s now safe to say that both parties in this equation came through on their ends of the deal, making all things right in the Pittsburgh defense.
This year was Pettersson’s second-best career year when it comes to points (22 points, 2 goals, 20 assists), and he inevitably would have eclipsed his record if the season continued. He also played his most ice time since joining the NHL a few years back, averaging just under 18 minutes a game.
Pittsburgh Penguins by the numbers: Marcus Pettersson
Marcus Pettersson started the season on the third line, typically pairing with Jack Johnson. After a few injuries and other misfortunes, Pettersson found himself upon the second line. Injuries aside, he moved up on skill as well. The more he played, the better he progressed and matured, hence the influx of minutes per game.
Known for being long and lean, he has progressed in other ways, becoming more versatile on offense. The once disruptive defender now is feared on both ends of the spectrum. Moving forward, the future looks mightily bright for both he and the Penguin’s defense.
The second line pairing of Pettersson and Marino will give the Pens a 1, 2 punch in the playoffs and moving onto next season. As both he and his linemate are young, they could soon be challenging Letang and Dumo for the number one slot.