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About Last Season: Brett Pesce Performance Review and Grade

A solid season, but a sense that something more is available leaves Pesce seeking the next step in his development.

Jamie Kellner

Brett Pesce: 2017-18 By The Numbers

  • Age: 23
  • NHL Seasons: 3
  • Scoring: 3g - 16a - 19 points
  • Ice Time: 20:54 all situations, 18:16 at ES, 0:17 on PP, 2:21 on PK per game.
  • 5-on-5 stats: 54.0% CF, 43.96% GF
  • Contract Status: Completed final year of ELC; six-year, $24.15 million extension begins next season

Making the Grade

Following an off-season that saw Brett Pesce and the Carolina Hurricanes commit long-term to each other in the form of a 6-year contract extension, Pesce continued much of his solid work alongside Jaccob Slavin. However, nagging injuries and a bout of somewhat inconsistent play leaves room for further growth if Pesce and his blueline partner wish to be thought of as a tandem in the upper echelon of the NHL.

One of the great joys of watching Carolina Hurricanes hockey the past few seasons has been watching the Pesce and Slavin at times completely shut down opposing top lines in matchups against some of the most dangerous players in the game. Their performances against Connor McDavid in their few matchups have been great showcases for the ability these defenders possess, as have a number of the terrific performances against the Pittsburgh Penguins and their star-studded attack.

The next step for Pesce, like many Hurricanes, is to become more consistent in the product they are putting out. The lapses that have occurred certainly are highlighted more when accompanied by below league average goaltending and an offense prone to dry-spells, but while the chances are fewer and farther between against Pesce and the Canes defense in general, the quality of those chances are what they must attempt to curtail.

Pesce did spend some time on IR this season, playing a career low 65 games while dealing with a concussion and a shoulder injury that sidelined him at the end of the season. Overall, however, his durability and ability to log heavy minutes has proven to be a massive asset and has allowed Pesce to become the undeniable top right-shot defenseman on the roster (although some of that has to do with the stagnant trajectory of Justin Faulk’s career).

The next step for Pesce not only includes more consistent work on the back end, but also the development of his game in the offensive zone. Pesce was the last Cane to tally in the goal column (not including those who didn’t score a goal), which is certainly a bit of an aberration, but nevertheless he can certainly stand to become a more confident and decisive player with the puck at the point. Nineteen points in 65 games isn’t unproductive, but in watching Pesce on the ice it is clear that more is there if Pesce can simply figure out how to tap into it.

As you see Slavin begin to slowly engage on the offensive end, look to see Pesce slowly develop that extended game that only comes with additional time and experience. Pesce will never be a high-powered two way player in the vein of an Erik Karlsson or Brent Burns, but by developing a more reliable shot and confidence in his offensive game, expect to see more production from Pesce in the future.

One additional note that will certainly be an important factor in the future development of a number of Canes will be the system in which they play. Pesce (along with Slavin and many others) have only played at the NHL level under the defensive-minded system of former head coach Bill Peters. To the extent that changes and tweaks to the system are made, how it impacts the performances from players such as Pesce will be one of the most interesting things to follow in the 2018-19 season.

Exit Interview


How do you grade Brett Pesce’s 2017-18 season?

This poll is closed

  • 5%
    A - outstanding performance
    (14 votes)
  • 54%
    B - above average performance
    (136 votes)
  • 35%
    C - average performance
    (88 votes)
  • 3%
    D - below average performance
    (8 votes)
  • 1%
    F - significantly below average performance
    (3 votes)
249 votes total Vote Now