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Drive to the Net: Breaking down Blandisi


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Joseph Blandisi tussles with Flyers’ Wayne Simmonds Oct. 30 in Anaheim, Calif. - AP

The Penguins acquired Joseph Blandisi from the Ducks in exchange for Derek Grant in the wee hours of Thursday morning.

What kind of player did the Penguins get in Blandisi? Let's take a look.

Blandisi has played in 74 NHL games since making his professional debut in 2015. He's recorded eight goals and 18 assists in that time. He hasn't had many NHL goals, but the ones he has scored have been beauties.

This goal on Michal Neuvirth came in February 2016, during Blandisi's time with the Devils. It was a beautiful between-the-legs move that snuck between Neuvirth's arm and the pipe:

This goal was an overtime game-winner in March 2017:

This next goal came in the preseason in September 2017, but we'll allow it since it was against Henrik Lundqvist and the rest of the Rangers' starters. It was a quick move, catching the puck in the air with his stick, kicking it back to his stick, and tapping it in:

Blandisi also does much of his work within feet of the net, picking up deflections. This tip came in February 2017:

He has been known to play physical at times, as well. He has 82 career hits, including this one where he flattened Brad Marchand:

Blandisi has six regular-season fights in his professional career -- two in the NHL, and four in the AHL. This bout with Dmitry Orlov happened in March 2017:

How do Blandisi's numbers stack up otherwise? 12 career giveaways, 30 career takeaways. That's a good ratio.

Exactly 32.9 percent of his career shot attempts have come from the "high danger" areas of the ice, the areas within feet of the net. That's where those redirect goals are coming from.

He's played center in his career, but his primary role is that of a wing. Still, when he's been tasked with taking draws at the NHL level, his results haven't been great. He had a 33.33 percent success rate on 33 attempts in 2015-16, and a 44.97 percent success rate on 169 attempts in 2016-17.

He posted Corsi For percentages at or above average in his first three seasons -- 51.89, 53.61, and 50 -- meaning that he was on the ice for more shot attempts for his team than against on average. He only appeared in three games with Anaheim this season, and those shot attempt differential numbers were less-than-stellar. He was on the ice for a total of 24 shot attempts by the Ducks, and 38 against, for a Corsi For percentage of 38.7.

What about the things that the numbers don't show? Well, John Hynes, Blandisi's coach in New Jersey, said that Blandisi is a quick, explosive skater who provides “youthful energy.” He's been lauded for his vision on the ice and his shooting.

In March 2016, Blandisi compared his playing style to that of Marchand.

Blandisi, who has been playing with the San Diego Gulls of the AHL nearly the entire season, will join the Penguins in Arizona on Thursday rather than report to the AHL. Then, we'll be able to see how he really fits in with the Penguins.

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