32-Year-Old Defenseman – Pittsburgh Penguins
Ben Lovejoy Contract Information:
Agreed to a three-year contract with the Ducks in June of 2013.
Lovejoy scored a goal on three shots to go along with two PIM and finished with a plus-2 rating in Thursday's Game 1 overtime loss to the Capitals.
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RotoWire's Preseason Outlooks
There was no outlook written for Ben Lovejoy.
Lovejoy enjoyed his first full NHL season in 2013-14 after playing in parts of the previous five seasons. He delivered 18 points and a plus-21 rating in 78 games, but will be hard-pressed to replicate those numbers. He’s now 30 and he’ll still deliver more than 200 hits as a number-six defender. But 15 points could be the top-end for this late bloomer.
Lovejoy has toiled as a third-pairing defender (or been a healthy scratch) for most of his NHL career. But it's clear that he just didn't find much of a fit within the systems he was playing in, except perhaps for the Ducks in 2012-13. He plays hard and smart, and can chip in some offense. And word to the wise -- don't stand in front of the puck when it comes off his stick. He won the hardest shot competition back in the 2009 AHL All-Star Game with a 92 mph rocket. He's part of a blue-collar group in Anaheim where it'll be rare for one guy to stand out. But he could come close to 25 points if given the opportunity to showcase his howitzer. Consider him a sleeper for 2013-14.
For the most part, Lovejoy lost his "sixth defenseman" battle with Deryk Engelland and sat out on numerous occasions, even when he was healthy. For the year, the defender potted just one goal and added four assists in 34 contests. Lovejoy has been the subject of trade talk and, with the system well-stocked with defensemen, it would be surprising to see him stay with the Pens for another season. If he ever became a top-four blueliner, then it might be good to re-visit Lovejoy's stock, but for now it's hard to recommend him in fantasy pools.
Lovejoy rotated with Deryk Engelland as the team's sixth defenseman in 2010-11 and will likely do so again this season. His game is tilted toward the offensive end of the rink, but his defense doesn't allow for him to see as many minutes as the team's other blueliners. He could move into a top-four role for short spells if injuries strike, but the organization appears to like him better as no. 5 or no. 6 defenseman. He totaled 17 points (3 G, 14 A) in 47 games and could hit the 20-point mark with some luck in 2011-12.
Lovejoy will need to have an outstanding training camp to start the season with Pittsburgh in 2010-11. He showed he can handle the speed of the NHL last year and has a solid all-around game. He could turn out to be fantasy worthy if the team suffers injury to any of its top-six defenders. Lovejoy totaled nine goals and 29 points in 65 contests at the AHL level and seems ready to take the next step at some point during the NHL season.
Lovejoy figures to see time with Pittsburgh in 2009-10, but how much remains to be the big question. Even if he doesn't start the season at Mellon Arena, history suggests that the questionable health of several of the team's top six blueliners will clear a path for Lovejoy to the NHL. The 25 year old with a right-handed shot collected 31 points (7, 24) in 76 games with the Baby Penguins a year ago. He doesn't have much offensive upside and the Pens already have plenty of that, anyhow.
Lovejoy has a right-handed shot and a bit of offensive potential for a blueliner -- 20 points in 72 games for Wilkes-Barre last year. Still, Lovejoy is in a crowded line of defensemen vying for a shot in Pittsburgh and likely won't see the Mellon Arena after training camp.