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31 in 31

Pittsburgh Penguins key statistics

Guentzel's points, Murray's save percentage each could increase this season

by Rob Reese @NHLReese / NHL.com Staff Writer

NHL.com is providing in-depth analysis for each of its 31 teams throughout August. Today, three key statistics for the Pittsburgh Penguins.

 

[Penguins 31 IN 31: Season preview | 3 Questions | Top prospects | Fantasy breakdown]

 

1. Guentzel's points

Jake Guentzel had 76 points (40 goals, 36 assists) in 82 games last season, including 64 at even strength (tied for 10th in NHL with Aleksander Barkov of the Florida Panthers), skating mostly with center Sidney Crosby on the top line. Guentzel has solidified his spot playing alongside Crosby and could also be on the Penguins' first power-play unit this season. Right wing Phil Kessel led Pittsburgh with 78 power-play points over the past two seasons (second in NHL behind Tampa Bay Lightning forward Nikita Kucherov's 84) but was traded to the Arizona Coyotes on June 29. If Guentzel inherits Kessel's role on the Penguins power play, which was fifth in the NHL last season (24.6 percent), he likely will be a point-per-game player.

Video: 31 in 31: Pittsburgh Penguins 2019-20 season preview

 

2. Galchenyuk's goals per 60

Alex Galchenyuk led Arizona in goals per 60 minutes last season (1.01; minimum 20 games). The Coyotes' 209 goals were tied for 29th in the NHL, so it's not far-fetched to suggest Galchenyuk should score more goals with Pittsburgh this season than the 19 he had to finish tied with Brad Richardson for the Arizona lead. Galchenyuk led the Coyotes with 21 power-play points last season, but he may not skate on the Penguins' top unit.

Video: Top five plays of 2018-19: Galchenyuk

 

3. Murray's save percentage

Matt Murray was first in even-strength save percentage (.930) and third in save percentage (.919) among the 19 NHL goalies who played at least 50 games last season. His play was impressive considering the Penguins penalty kill was tied for 19th in the NHL (79.7 percent), and his .856 save percentage against the power play ranked 14th out of those 19 goalies. Murray could emerge as one of the top goalies in the NHL if Pittsburgh finds a way to sort out the penalty kill.

Video: Top 10 saves of 2018-19: Murray

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