The Penguins weren’t expected to be busy on Day 1 of Free Agency, but GMJR came out and is reportedly bringing back Evan Rodrigues after including him in the deal that brought Kapanen back to the organization in a one year, one way deal worth $700K.
Still not finalized, but hearing Evan Rodrigues headed back to Pittsburgh (traded from Pens to the Leafs in Kapanen deal, Toronto didn't QO him)
— Pierre LeBrun (@PierreVLeBrun) October 9, 2020
Big ups to Danny for suggesting this in the first place.
The Penguins with Rodrigues on the ice at 5v5 during his 7-game stint:
•53% of goals scored
•63% of expected goals
•64% of shot attempts
— Danny (@shireyirving) October 7, 2020
Rodrigues was a solid player for the Penguins when he was given the chance to play and will be a reliable player in a bottom 6 role.
This past season, via HockeyViz.com, Rodrigues was marginally above average at both ends of the ice at even strength for both the Penguins and Sabres in what was almost exclusively in a 4th line role for both teams.
On top of that, in 736 minutes tracked by Corey Sznajder (@ShutdownLine) and visualized by CJ Turtoro (@CJTDevil), Rodrigues has found success in controlled defensive zone exits and offensive zone entries (though, this stuff does vary from team-to-team and coach-to-coach), but he’s been above average in terms of his shot contributions, specifically in shot assists.
If Rodrigues and his shot assists are deployed on Jared McCann’s flank, it could be something that optimizes and weaponizes McCann’s lethal, heavy shot down the middle.
UPDATE: 10/9/20 – 2:24 PM
GMJR continued his depth forward signing streak, bringing in former Flames depth center Mark Jankowski at the league minimum.
One year at $700,000. https://t.co/rd7laNBR3j
— Bob McKenzie (@TSNBobMcKenzie) October 9, 2020
The Flames took Jankowski 21st overall in 2012, who managed a grand total of 5 goals and 2 assist in 56 games this season. In 2018-19, he put up a career high 32 points (14G, 18A) in 79 games and has a career high of 17 goals (17-18).
Historically, Jankowski has been an all defense, no offense type of play driver at 5v5. The following three visualizations, via HockeyViz.com, show that.
First, his year by year isolate:
Primarily, his role has been a third line center until this past season, where his ice time fell as Sean Monahan, Mikael Backlund, and Derek Ryan were all above him on the depth chart.
This past season truly is a microcosm of his career. He’s an average penalty killer, having played about 2:02 minutes per game on the PK. He’s great at suppression shots in the defensive zone, but does very little to drive play in the offensive end.
We can see this even more via Evolving Hockey, where he’s a clear drag on offense and very, very good in terms of suppressing expected goals against. This is true with respect to his 3 year average as well.
He’s also a full blown center, so it’ll be interesting to see if he fills the 4C slot in the lineup with Blueger moving up to center McCann or if he’ll be moved to the wing.
Update: Appears GMJR envisions he’ll center the third line with McCann on the left and Rodrigues on the right.
Rutherford said "if they play the way they're capable," the third line would be McCann–Jankowski–Rodrigues.
"That gives us speed on the wings. That gives us the defensive center we're looking for." #Pens
— Wes Crosby (@OtherNHLCrosby) October 9, 2020
This space will be updated throughout the day(s) with more information as it trickles in.