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About Last Season: Brett Pesce Performance Review and Grade

From AHL defenseman to NHL regular, Brett Pesce has come a long way in just two seasons.

Jamie Kellner

Brett Pesce: 2016- 2017 By the Numbers

  • Age: 22
  • NHL Seasons: 2
  • Games Played: 82
  • Scoring: 2g-18a-20pts
  • Ice Time per Game: 21:12 in all situations, 18:25 ES, 0:37 PP, 2:09 PK
  • 5-on-5 Stats: 54.1% CF, 56.8% GF
  • Contract Status: Completed the second year of three-year entry-level contract (cap hit $809,167)

Making the Grade

Brett Pesce was an early season call-up last year, and quickly proved he belonged in the NHL full time. After a successful 69-game rookie season, the main questions heading into the season was whether or not Pesce could avoid a sophomore slump. It’s safe to say he did.

While most in the media have singled out Jaccob Slavin as the Hurricanes’ best defenseman, Pesce has been just as good. Pesce ranked first among defensemen and third among all Hurricanes players in Corsi percentage and ranked second among all Hurricanes in goals for percentage. Pesce and Slavin were paired up for a significant portion of the season and it shows in usage stats. Pesce logged the third most TOI in all situations and on the penalty kill, behind only Slavin and Justin Faulk.

Pesce’s numbers are impressive. The combination of high ice time, high Corsi and high goals-for percentages is not typical for a young defenseman, many of whom struggle early in their careers. For a team with a -21 goal differential, it’s borderline unthinkable that a defenseman who statistically plays one-third of the game, almost an entire period 5-on-5, can maintain a 56.8 GF%.

His numbers prove that Pesce is a shutdown defenseman that can handle playing the best of the best. His positioning has improved over last year and has gotten better at how to play when the puck is behind the Canes’ net. While the Canes as a team have struggled with those scenarios, Pesce proved to be effective at handling pressure and breaking up plays at the back post by tying up forwards with physical play and an active stick.

Though offensively he is overshadowed by Slavin, Faulk, and Noah Hanifin, Pesce is cementing himself as one of the best defensive players on the team. Paired with Slavin they are a force to be reckoned with and will likely be together for years to come. For this team to be successful in the coming seasons, Pesce will have to continue playing a significant role.

Exit Interview


How do you grade Brett Pesce’s 2016-17 performance?

This poll is closed

  • 46%
    A - significantly outperformed expectations
    (135 votes)
  • 46%
    B - outperformed expectations
    (134 votes)
  • 6%
    C - met expectations
    (19 votes)
  • 0%
    D - underperformed expectations
    (0 votes)
  • 0%
    F - significantly underperformed expectations
    (0 votes)
288 votes total Vote Now