Marcel Goc is a player the Penguins have wanted for some time now, and they were finally able to add him to their roster this season.
“It’s a guy we had our eye on for a little while, including last year,” Penguins general manager Ray Shero said. “But it worked out for us this year.”
The Penguins were able to acquire Goc, a Panthers alternate captain, from Florida for a 2014 fifth-round draft pick and a 2015 third-round draft pick hours before the trade deadline to bolster their forward depth, and the 30-year-old German native is excited to be coming to Pittsburgh.
“Being part of a top team in the league is exciting, and I’m looking forward to playing playoff hockey again,” Goc said.
Shero loves that Goc, in his ninth NHL season, has proven to be a capable player in all situations.
“I think the great thing with Marcel is that he’s versatile,” Shero said. “He’s been a very good center-ice man, a very good penalty killer. Back in ’01, he was a first-round draft pick. But he’s really found his way in the league to become a very useful player. I think that’s what we’re looking for.”
While Goc is a complete player who can make an impact in all three zones, in Florida, he was relied upon most heavily to match up against other team’s top players and log shorthanded minutes.
“I just try to play a solid defensive game,” he said. “Most of the time, I was playing against like the Malkin line or the Crosby line when we played against Pittsburgh, so I tried to keep them off the scoresheet. Sometimes it worked, sometimes it didn’t (laughs). That was my role there. I had quite a bit of time on the penalty kill, and I got used on the power play as well. But I guess the biggest part was playing against the other teams’ top lines and the penalty kill.”
Being responsible in his own end is certainly his focus, but Goc does have the speed to be a factor offensively and has chipped in 11 goals this season.
“Pittsburgh plays an aggressive forechecking game, so hopefully I can be a big part of that,” he said.
Goc has played primarily at center, and has been dominant in the faceoff circle there. He’s won 52.8 percent of his draws, with his 576 wins ranking 13th in the league. However, he’s played wing as well and is comfortable moving to either side if needed.
“Goc is great in the circle but also a good responsible forward, can play on the wing as well,” head coach Dan Bylsma said. “Goc is a great two-way responsible player.”
Goc plans to meet the Penguins in San Jose Thursday, with hopes of possibly suiting up for their game against the Sharks that night. He can’t wait to start getting to know his new teammates as they prepare to head down the stretch.
“I know all the guys pretty much just from playing against them. I don’t think I’ve played with anybody,” he said. “I’ve seen (Tomas) Vokoun here in Florida a couple times, but other than that, I’m just going to meet everybody there on the road trip. I’m trying to fly out tomorrow and meet the team there. Maybe get in before the game.
“I’m excited to meet the team and play for the Penguins.”