By: Melissa Esing (Off_thePost)
Throughout the 2013-2014 NHL season, I’ll be posting player features each Friday. This week, we’re going to take a look at Marcel Goc.
Experience and depth is what Ray Shero was looking for as the March 5 NHL Trade Deadline approached, and he was able to find those assets within two-way forward, Marcel Goc.
Shero was searching in hopes of fixing the unsatisfying third line, which seemed to be missing something. Goc is one of the most underrated defensive centers within the NHL that could possibly do well on this team.
While previously playing for the Florida Panthers this season, Goc was a solid player for a weak team. He led the Panthers among forwards in both faceoff percentage and hits. He played well on the third line and produced 11 goals and 12 assists to show for it. He’s also a flexible player, available to play 4th or 3rd line center.
By coming to Pittsburgh, he’s no longer shining on a weak team, but he is definitely expected to help where the Penguins are lacking. In past years, he’s played for the Nashville Predators and the San Jose Sharks, where he was a first-round pick (20th overall) in the 2001.
With well over 500 regular-season games and 50 NHL playoff games, this veteran was needed for adding a little bit of grit to an injured roster. Although, he’s not much of a point-producer. His career high was his 12 goals and 18 assists in the 2009 regular-season with Nashville.
In his Pittsburgh debut against San Jose on March 6, he notched his first assist for Olli Maatta in 11:03 minutes. It was a quick start for him. He went 7/13 with faceoffs and registered two hits and one shot. During the debut, he was used on the 4th line, but also saw time on the 2nd and 3rd lines.
His next game with Pittsburgh was rather quiet. However, he did well in the faceoff circle. He got the chance to play in overtime, where he won a faceoff and dashed to the bench, allowing Evgeni Malkin to come on the ice. Situations like that shows Goc’s flexibility.
While the Penguins took on the Phoenix Coyotes on March 25, Goc played a strong game, significantly improving from what we saw from him over the past few games. The penalty kill is where we saw the most improvement from him.
Last night against the Lost Angeles Kings, Goc unfortunately joined the list of injured Penguins as he slid into the boards after a race for the puck, bending his left ankle backwards… in a way that ankles are not exactly supposed to bend. The replay is enough to make you cringe. The severity of his injury has not yet been stated by head coach Dan Bylsma.
The Penguins can only hope that this injury won’t result in Goc’s absence for the remainder of the season. While the depth of the bottom six forwards wasn’t completely solved by bringing in Marcel Goc and Lee Stempniak, the Penguins will be set even further back now.