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About Last Season: Brett Pesce Performance Review and Grade

Is Brett Pesce lucky or good? Maybe he’s both.

Jamie Kellner

Brett Pesce: 2018-19 By The Numbers

  • Age: 24
  • NHL seasons: 4
  • Games Played: 73
  • Scoring: 7 goals, 22 assists, 29 points
  • Ice Time: 20:29 all situations, 0:08 PP, 2:30 PK
  • 5 on 5 stats: 52.76% CF, 59.79 GF%
  • Contract: Signed through 2023-24 season with cap hit of $4.025m.

Making the Grade

On a team loaded with back-end talent, Brett Pesce was often overshadowed by his fellow blueliners. That being said, his 2018-2019 season must be viewed as a success. The Hurricanes’ 3rd round pick from the 2013 NHL draft turned in career highs in goals (7), assists (22), and points (29). The Tarrytown, NY native registered a plus/minus rating of plus 35, which trailed only Mark Giordano (+39) and Ryan McDonagh (+38) in the entire NHL. Indeed, the numbers paint a picture of a player who has improved year after year and is a bargain at $4.025m AAV.

Pesce’s PDO (team combined Save % plus Shooting % while on ice at 5v5) was 103.2. This trailed only Teuvo Teravainen’s 103.4 during the regular season. PDO is widely viewed as a statistical measure of “luck”, which - it’s argued - should be assumed to revert to 100 over time. However, this view assumes no causality, or at least a very limited one, between performance and results. Perhaps something that Pesce was doing while on the ice caused the team’s good fortune.

Adding some weight to this theory was his PDO in the playoffs - which actually increased slightly to 103.3. He was third on the team behind Warren Foegele (107.5) and Jordan Staal (105.4).

The above performance is made all the more impressive when considering this intangible: Pesce played much of the season as a left-side defenseman even though he is a right-hand shot. This is not nearly as easy as it might sound. Holding pucks in at the offensive blue line is far more difficult on your backhand. Misplays often result in odd-man breaks or outright breakaways. It requires chemistry with your teammates and quick decision making to keep from looking foolish.

Pesce’s durability was also on display this season. He played a total of 73 regular season games, missing most of November with a lower-body injury. That total was right on his average of 72.25 games per season through his first four years in the NHL. He skated in all 15 playoff games, one of 12 Canes to do so.

Looking ahead, Pesce is poised to continue as a key part of the Canes’ defense. With his strength on the penalty kill and the ability to play his off side, he provides the coaching staff with options on pairings and ice time. It appears the only two things that could keep him from the lineup next year are either an injury or a trade. The former is a concern for every player. The latter is something borne of the Canes’ defensive depth and management’s desire to acquire additional scoring up front. However, when you consider that Pesce is under contract for the next 5 seasons, any offer for Pesce would need to come with a serious return for the Canes.

Exit Interview


How do you grade Brett Pesce’s 2018-19 season?

This poll is closed

  • 65%
    A - outstanding performance
    (162 votes)
  • 33%
    B - above average performance
    (84 votes)
  • 0%
    C - average performance
    (2 votes)
  • 0%
    D - below average performance
    (0 votes)
  • 0%
    F - significantly below average performance
    (1 vote)
249 votes total Vote Now