The Pittsburgh Penguins lost Brandon Tanev, the man they called “Turbo” to the Seattle Kraken in last month’s expansion draft. The speed, tenacity, and energy that Tanev brought figured to leave a hole in the Penguins lineup, which is why GM Ron Hextall signed UFA winger Brock McGinn to a contract minutes after free agency began on July 28.
McGinn, like Tanev, had an offensive outburst last season. McGinn scored more goals per game than his previous five seasons when he popped eight goals in 37 games. Tanev scored seven in 32 games, but Penguins President of Hockey Operations recently said on SiriusXM Radio, the Penguins upgraded.
“We think we’re getting an upgrade on (Tanev). We think he can do more,” Burke said.
McGinn met the media for the first time on Monday–well, he did a Zoom chat. That’s as close to meeting as things get in 2021.
You can watch the video here or read the transcription below.
Pittsburgh Penguins, Brock McGinn Video:
Pittsburgh Penguins, Brock McGinn Press Conference:
Question 1: Good morning, Brock. Welcome to Pittsburgh and thanks for speaking with us today. Did you have any other offers that you considered seriously? And if so, what made you choose the one from the Penguins?
Brock McGinn: Yeah, there were definitely other offers, but I think when it comes down to it, I didn’t want to go anywhere where I didn’t have a chance to win the Stanley Cup. And I think coming down to looking at Pittsburgh, I think everything is great about this organization. There’s nothing bad you can say about it. And I think every single year they have a chance. So when I looked at Pittsburgh, that was one of the top choices.
Question 2: I read a story in the Raleigh newspaper today about you from a couple of years ago, It said you played a lot of the 2016-17 season with a partially separated shoulder. And you kept that from the medical staff so you wouldn’t get pulled out of the lineup. How accurate is that story? And if it is accurate, just how much does that maybe represent how you carry yourself as an NHL’er?
McGinn: I don’t think I ever want to miss a game, so this year is the first time that happened to me, but it’s pretty accurate. They they knew about it and stuff like that. But it’s going to take a lot to take me out of the lineup. So it’s pretty accurate. It did happen. But I think that is just the way I like to play the game and it’s the way I was brought up.
Question 3: What does it mean for you to be a part of the Pittsburgh Penguins?
McGinn: It’s incredible. It’s such a high class organization, and I’m really looking forward to getting down to Pittsburgh and getting things started. I think ever since I’ve grown up, you have looked at an organization like Pittsburgh, and it’s just incredible how they run it, the people that they have inside the organization. So I’m just really looking forward to it.
Question 4: I just wanted to ask you, how does it feel to start this next phase of your career?
McGinn: It’s exciting, I think it’s tough leaving Raleigh, I think that’s how I became the player I am today. They gave me that opportunity to play in the NHL and that’s every kid’s dream playing hockey. And I think I’m just coming here to Pittsburgh, it’s a new step and it’s very exciting. And I’m looking forward to getting it started.
Speaker 5: I don’t know if scoring would be like one of the primary parts of your game, but you did have the highest goals per game last season that you’ve had in your career. Is that something you focused on heading into last year? Is that something that you will continue to focus on just to help chip in here and there?
McGinn: Yeah, I think. A lot of time in Carolina, I felt like I never fully got that opportunity to show how offensive I can be; it was more the defensive side of my game that was focused on, where I think last year, I really went into it trying to prove how offensive I can actually be in the NHL. And I think last year was a true testament of how I can play and how offensive I can be as long as my defensive, full 200-foot style game doesn’t (become) hindered from that.
Question 6: Hey, Brock, welcome to Pittsburgh. Mike Vellucci was in the Hurricanes organization for a while. What’s your relationship like with him? What have your conversations been like so far? And then it also looks like you enjoy pulling a good prank or two. Will your new teammates need to be on high alert or what?
McGinn: First of all, with Mike, I think I got to know him and Carolina, and he’s a great guy. He gave me a call right after I signed the deal. He just talks so highly about Pittsburgh and he just talked about how much I’m going to like it there, how high class it is. And I don’t think people need to be aware or anything like that. But I like to keep it light. I think when it comes down to it, you’ve got to be light in the dressing room. And then but when it’s time to go, it’s a serious time.
Question 7: You mentioned you feel like your game as far as your offensive side of the game took a step forward last year. Just the last handful of years, being a consistent NHL’er, and where this contract lines up, do you feel like you’re entering the prime stage of your career?
McGinn: Yeah, I do. I think I’m at the best stage of my career here, I think in the first couple of years, you’re really trying to gain your confidence and see where you fit in the league and on teams. So I think the last couple of years, I really established myself in the part of lineups where I feel I can play. And I think going forward I want to put higher expectations on myself, and that’s how I’m going to play.
Speaker 8: Brian Burke, already set the bar for you pretty high when he said you’re going to bring more to your role than the Pittsburgh Penguins have gotten in the past. Is that one of the reasons you signed here, the chance to bring more offense or the fact that the president believes in you that much?
McGinn: Yeah, I think when an organization believes in you, it’s a good feeling, but you never want to let them down. So I think that’s not my mindset to let them down. I just want to go prove that they picked me for a reason and it was a smart choice to do so.
Question 9: You signed a four year contract. Why was getting that kind of term important to you than maybe a shorter deal?
McGinn: I think just through my career, I’ve always had these short deals, so it’s kind of on the back of your mind you’re trying to fight for your next deal, your next deal, and getting that stability that you’re still fighting for your spot every single day in the NHL you’re not given that opportunity. It’s still the drive to prove yourself every single day. But having that stability, it’s just a little more comfortable for me. And I think I’m recently engaged. I think it’s just a big step for me and my fiance. And that’s just it’s a good feeling.
Question 10: A lot has been written about your career, but how would you describe yourself as a player?
McGinn: I think I’m a 200-foot player that is going to bring energy, is going to play that physical style, and he can also contribute offensively. And I think I’ve shown that over the last couple of years. I don’t think my mindset is going to change how I’m going to play. I’m not going to come in and try to score 40 goals. I know my expectations and I’m going to come out, bring energy for the guys and hopefully help Pittsburgh win as many games as we can and hopefully bring a Cup to the city of Pittsburgh.
Question 11: A big part of your game is drawing penalties. You had one of the highest rates on the Hurricanes in terms of drawing penalties. Just how conscious are you of that as being an attribute? And is there a science or a technique or method of being able to do that effectively?
McGinn: I don’t know if there’s a science or anything, but I think my style of play might frustrate some players on the other teams where they’re going to take some penalties after the play or something like that. But I go out there and hit in between the lines and I play a physical game, but not take as many penalties. It might frustrate the other team where they’re going to take penalties and give our team a power play and more chances to score.
Question 12: What is your impression of Mike Sullivan before you found out you were coming here? And do you see any similarities to what it will be like playing under him compared to what it was like playing under Rod (Brind’Amour)?
McGinn: I think in Carolina everybody respected Rudy so much, and I think looking at Mike, I see that in Pittsburgh; Every time you look, it looks like the bench respects him so much and he has everybody’s ear. I think everybody is going to play hard for him. So there’s definitely some similarities. And I’m excited to play for him.