All posts by Steven Czarnecki

Penguins Organizational Depth Chart

FORWARDS
AHL contracted players are in itallics

Left Wing Center Right Wing
Jake Guentzel Sidney Crosby Phil Kessel
Conor Sheary Evgeni Malkin Patric Hornqvist
Scott Wilson Carter Rowney Bryan Rust
Carl Hagelin Ryan Reaves
Tom Kuhnhackl Josh Archibald
Minor Leagues
Zach
Aston-Reese
Greg McKegg Daniel Sprong
Dominik Simon Teddy Bluegers Tom Kostopoulos
Thomas DiPauli JS Dea (RFA) Garret Wilson
Frederik Tieffels Colin Smith Patrick McGrath
Tom Sestito Troy Joseph  Reid Gardnier
Adam Johnson Jarrett Burton Ryan Haggerty
Cody Wydo Riley Bourbannis 
Gage Quinney 

DEFENSE AND GOALIES
AHL contracted players are in italics

LD RD G
Brian Dumoulin Kris Letang Matt Murray
Olli Maatta Justin Schultz Antti Niemi
Ian Cole Matt Hunwick
Derrick Pouliot  Chad Ruhwedel
Minor Leagues
Chris Summers Frank Corrado Tristan Jarry
Jarred Tinordi Zach Trotman Casey DeSmith
Jeff Taylor Lukas Bengtsson Sean Maguire
Kevin Czuczman Ethan Prow
Dlyan Zink

WBS Penguins Finalize Coaching Staff

The Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins have hired Tim Army as an assistant coach for the 2017-2018 season, finalizing their coaching staff for the season.

The 54 year old coach brings a wealth of experience, with 15 years as an NHL assistant. Most recently serving an assistant coach for the past 6 seasons at the Colorado Avalanche, Army has been coaching since 1987, serving as an assistant and head coach at Providence College as well as spending 3 years as the head coach of the Portland Pirates from 2002 to 2005.

Some WBS fans may recognize the surname Army for other reasons, as Tim’s son, Derek appeared in 13 games for the Baby Penguins in 2015-16 on loan from the Wheeling Nailers, where he was contracted for the last 3 years before earning an AHL contract with Milwaukee.

The hiring of Tim Army completes the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins coaching staff with Clark Donatelli returning as head coach fresh off an AHL best 51-20-5 record last year in his first full year coaching the team. This success led to Donatelli being selected to coach the USA U18 National Team in the Ivan Hlinka tournament for the second consecutive year this August.

This year, he got to bring along his WBS assistant JD Forrest, who also returns as an assistant for the 2017-2018 season. Plucked out of the relative obscurity of head coaching an Austrian based junior all-star team funded by Red Bull, Forrest took the lead on the development of some of the younger guys in WBS and was one of the coaches relied upon for development instruction at the Penguins Development Camp that took place in late June/early July.

The vacancy Army filled was created by Chris Taylor returning to head coach the Rochester Americans after spending one year in WBS as an assistant. Replacing Taylor’s experience as an assistant AHL coach with Army’s great breadth of experiences as an NHL, NCAA and AHL coach will only stand to create a stronger AHL coach staff.

Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Roster Preview: Right Wing

It’s the third installment of this series and we start to see somewhat of a hole in the Penguins system, with only one of the players on an NHL contract being a right handed right winger. JS Dea may see some time on RW as we covered in the previous preview, but for now, we’ll consider him a C. I’m also going to include Cody Wydo who signed on the day of my writing this article, even though he’s a LW. WBS seems to conspire against me.

Daniel Sprong, AHL Experience : Rookie

Minnesota Wild v Pittsburgh Penguins

As I mentioned in a previous article, Daniel Sprong has been covered from pretty much every angle by any media associated with the Penguins and there isn’t much left to say about him. While I expect him to start in the AHL, if he translates as well to the pro game as is expected, he’ll be up with the Penguins by the turn of 2018. Expect him to produce at a 40 goal pace while he is in the AHL.

Tom Kostopolous, AHL Experience : 11 Years

Kostopoulos

A consummate professional entering his 5th year in his current stint with the Baby Penguins and his 5th year as captain, Tom Kostopolous has had an offensive resurgence. Since signing with the WBS Penguins in 2013-2014, Kostopolous has consistently scored at over 0.5 PPG and has seen his offensive production increase over the last two seasons. Expect more of Kostopolous being a versatile piece for WBS this year bouncing between top 6 and bottom 6 depending on the call up situation. 20 goals and 30 assists is a solid estimate for what is to be expected from Kostopolous.

Garrett Wilson, AHL Experience: 6 Years

Garrett Wilson

Fresh off signing a 2 year extension with the Penguins, Garrett Wilson is usually more of a left winger, but given his experience and WBS’ lack of right wingers, I expect him to play on his off wing. Not a particularly dynamic offensive player, scoring just 31 points in 59 games last year, Wilson works extremely hard and has significant leadership abilities serving as an alternate captain last year. I expect Wilson to retain his alternate captaincy this year as he is the only one of the four 2016-2017 alternates to return this year. As for scoring, Wilson will be in a bottom 6 role for much of the year depending on call ups, and I expect 15 goals, 20 assists from him if he plays a full schedule.

Patrick McGrath, AHL Experience : 3 Years

McGrath

Patrick McGrath is best known for his ability to get punched in the face and generally being an irritating presence. A fan favorite and Wilkes-Barre local, McGrath is all heart, with noted fighters Tyler Randall of Providence, Tanner Glass of Hartford and Eric Selleck formerly of Syracuse all on his card and all of whom are significantly taller than McGrath. Despite his height disadvantage against most AHL tough guys at 5’10, McGrath will fight anyone at any time for basically any reason. Questionable effectiveness as a hockey player, incredibly entertaining none the less. He will split time between WBS and Wheeling pretty consistently. As for a prediction on points, I expect 2-3 goals and 4-5 assists depending on how much time he plays with WBS.

Reid Gardiner, AHL Experience: 1 Year

Kamloops Blazers v Kelowna Rockets

I had honestly expected the Penguins to roll the dice on Reid Gardiner on an ELC given the promise he showed in the half season he played in WBS before returning to junior for an avearge year with Kelowna. While playing in the WHL, he scored an impressive 15 goals in 17 playoff games to finish 2nd  in playoff goals, one goal behind the leader who had played 5 more games. While in WBS last year, Gardiner played a lot of his time on the 4th line, but expect him to be used a little higher up the lineup as injuries and call ups occur. Gardiner falls in line with Penguins development as he was a goal scorer in junior that the Penguins are attempting to develop into more of a bottom-6 player, much along the lines of what they have done with JS Dea. Expect Gardiner to score 10-15 goals with 20 assists this year, gaining ice-time as the season progresses and potentially gaining an ELC before the end of the season.

Ryan Haggerty, AHL Experience: 3 Years

Haggerty.jpg

Another later signing, Ryan Haggerty signed for another year with the Baby Penguins on Thursday morning. A solid bottom 6 player in the AHL, potting 11 goals and 12 assists in 58 games last year, expect a lot more of the same from Haggerty. There is a lot of forwards in WBS right now, so Haggerty may find himself rotated out of the lineup more than the previous year, but as has been mentioned many times over, his time and deployment will depend hugely on the injuries that occur with the NHL Penguins. I expect him to pot a similar amount to last year, 10 goals and 15 assists over a full season.

Cody Wydo, AHL Experience: 1 Year

Wydo

Special bonus preview time! Cody Wydo signed Wednesday morning for Wilkes-Barre after scoring 30 goals and 30 assists in 70 games for Wheeling last year. A graduate of Robert Morris University, Wydo gets rewarded with an AHL contract after 2 good years in the ECHL for Wheeling. While I expect Wydo to remain down there for most of the year, he’ll see some time in WBS when injuries and call ups happen. If that happens, I’d be interested to see what he can produce as admittedly, I haven’t see much of Wydo as Wheeling doesn’t get great coverage!

Why Tyler Bozak Is Not The Answer

The Pittsburgh Penguins search for a third line center continues, with an article on trade options written by fellow LetsTalkPenguins contributor Connor Andrews giving a realistic take on who the Penguins might target for that spot.

However, those on the Pittsburgh beat, specifically Jason Mackey, and other more national media figures like Elliotte Friedman have floated the idea that the Penguins have interest in Tyler Bozak, the current third line center for the Toronto Maple Leafs. While I suspect this is mostly speculation, this idea has been taken by some Penguins fans to mean this is the Penguins target. I do not believe that to be the case and below, I will outline a number of reasons why.

1) The Salary Cap Exists

Tyler Bozak carries a cap hit of $4.2M that expires at the end of the coming season. The Penguins current cap space is at an estimated $2.48M, including Chad Ruhwedel, Josh Archibald and Derrick Pouliot as the extra skaters for the time being. This would make it impossible for the Penguins to acquire Bozak and maintain their 1 million dollar buffer that they like to have without moving significant salary out from the team. I will get more into the idea of moving people from the team later, in a separate point.

2) Tyler Bozak does not fit the need


The Penguins need at third line center is not as simple as finding a center that plays the third most ice time on his team for centers. As the Penguins roster currently stands, and that’s without Matt Cullen, there is only one center that plays on the penalty kill and that is Carter Rowney. While the Penguins are flush with potential penalty kill forwards (Archibald, Carl Hagelin, Bryan Rust, Scott Wilson, Tom Kuhnhackl, Rowney), only Rowney has any experience at center. Acquiring Bozak does not help this matter as Bozak has not been a consistent penalty killer for the last 3 years playing in Toronto. Bozak is also an average at best defensive player if we use Fenwick as an authority.

Fenwick, which differs from Corsi in that Fenwick considers shot blocks to be a skilled play, is my preferred advanced statistic for use with the Penguins and their tendency to block a lot of shots. Throughout his career, Bozak has had a negative relative Fenwick to his team outside of the 2015-2016 season, meaning that his team suffers more unblocked shots against than average when he is on the ice. (Shout out to Puckalytics for the assist on this one).

For his lack of defensive play, and his lack of PK ability, this makes the fit for Bozak at third line center to be a bad one for the Penguins, no matter his offensive abilities.

3) The trade value


Sadly, teams are not in the interest of doing discounts for the back to back cup winners and in such, acquiring Bozak would require a significant payment. Bozak is a 2nd line center at his true value, and for the Leafs to split with him would require the Penguins sending back an equitable amount of value. The floated name by Mackey is that of Olli Maatta. It is here where I disagree with Mackey, and fellow LetsTalkPenguins contributor Brendan Labra, about the value of Olli Maatta.

Olli Maatta is a young top 4 puck moving defenseman with a long term contract at a reasonable cap hit for his level of play. Some will point to the flaws in his game, such as his foot speed, but it is worth noting that Maatta’s level of play is recognized by the coaching staff, who had Maatta skating an average of 20:36 minutes per game in the playoffs. This is higher than Ian Cole, who only skated 18:50 on average.

The issue with moving Maatta, and the reason I highlighted Cole, is that people believe that Cole would be able to move up to play top 4 minutes if Maatta was moved. This is clearly not an opinion held by the Penguins coaching staff and neither by me, as Cole skated the least amount of average TOI of the 6 full time NHL D that played in the playoffs.

If Maatta is not the piece moved, the Penguins would have to gamble a significant amount of futures on one year of Bozak. This may not even work as the Leafs have transitioned from a rebuiliding team into a playoff team within the last year.

For these reasons, I do not see Bozak as an adequate fit for the Penguins.

Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Roster Preview: Center

For the second instalment of this series, we’re turning our attention to the center position. I’m going to include JS Dea in this, even though he hasn’t technically been re-signed yet. He has been qualified as an RFA and has no arbitration rights, so he will either be signed or face a year of not playing any hockey whatsoever. We also encounter our first players on AHL only contracts.

Greg McKegg, AHL Experience : 4 Years

McKegg_Panthers_2017

A free agent signing from Tampa Bay who had picked him up on waivers from Florida around the 2017 trade deadline, Greg McKegg, brings a good amount of AHL experience to the Baby Penguins as well as an understanding of what it entails to be a call-up option for the big club. Following the path of many AHL players, McKegg plays a bottom-6 role in the NHL, but when it comes to the AHL, he plays in a scoring role more often than not. He also has some untapped offensive potential, as shown by his junior scoring totals and that he has only just turned 25. Surrounded by the offensive talent in the WBS top-6, McKegg is my pick to surprise a lot of people with his AHL play and may genuinely bring some competition to the 4th line C spot in the NHL. If he spends the entire year in the AHL, I expect him to pot 20 goals, with 25-30 assists.

Teddy Blueger, AHL Experience : 1 Year


Teddy Blugers

We have previously discussed my expectations for Teddy Blueger here, and I cannot state how much of a solid prospect I believe he is. His offensive production was a significant sign of a player who is growing rapidly, and I wouldn’t get too comfortable seeing Blueger in WBS long term. I predict Bluger will pot 10 goals with 35-40 assists while playing as the 2nd line center for much of the year when he is in the AHL.

JS Dea, AHL Experience: 3 Years

Jean-Sebastien-Dea.jpg

Currently an unsigned RFA, Jean-Sébastien Dea has no arbitration rights so he will return to the Penguins. Although he is waiver eligible, I do not expect teams to be queueing up to try and pluck Dea off waivers. While age is on his side at the age of 23, Dea has shown little progress on his offense and has been molded by the Penguins into more of a defensively conscious player than he was coming in from juniors. What Dea does have to his advantage is that he has experience playing on the right wing, so expect to see him get plenty of time out there throughout the season. I expect 20 goals, 20 assists for a full year of AHL play from Dea, but he may see some spot call-up duty depending on how injured the NHL Penguins get up front.

Colin Smith, AHL Experience : 4 Years

AHL: FEB 20 San Antonio Rampage at Lake Erie Monsters

A small but speedy center, Colin Smith is the first of the AHL only signings that we have come across. Previously playing for San Antonio, Toronto, and Lake Erie, Smith has a massive amount of AHL experience for having only just turned 24. His role on WBS is yet to be decided, with McKegg, Blugers, and Dea likely to be ahead of him on the depth chart. While Smith is likely more suited to a scoring role based on his passing ability and his size, he also has a strong enough two-way game in order to play in a bottom-six role. With call-ups, rotations, and form taken into account, I expect to see Smith appear in about 60 games, potting about 15 goals and 30 assists.

Jarrett Burton, AHL Experience: 2 Years

Jarrett Burton

Jarrett Burton split his time between Wheeling and WBS last season after signing his first AHL pro contract. I’d expect more of the same this year. A bottom-6 guy in the AHL, Burton will likely start the year in Wheeling again until call-ups hit Wilkes-Barre and then he’ll slot into the bottom-6 at either wing or center, depending on the need of the team. I expect not a tremendous amount out of Burton this year, hitting 10 goals and 10 assists if he spends about 60 games in the AHL.

Troy Josephs, AHL Experience: Rookie

Troy Josephs


A 7th round pick of the Penguins back in 2013, Troy Josephs signed to an AHL contract at the conclusion of Clarkson University’s season and his senior season. A pretty averagely sized center at 6 foot and 194 pounds, Josephs fits a similar mold to most of the players in WBS in that they skate like the wind and they play a solid 200 foot game. He managed to appear in 13 regular season games and 1 playoff game playing on the 4th line; and given his potential development, he’ll likely start in the AHL and remain there. I expect 10 goals and 15 assists from a full season in the AHL for Josephs.

Riley Bourbonnais, AHL Experience: Rookie


Just signed as I’m writing this article (good timing Riley), Riley Bourbonnais is a center who was playing for Wheeling after the end of RPI’s college season where he was the captain. He then put up 8 points through 10 ECHL games for Wheeling and made an appearance at the NHL Penguins development camp, earning himself an AHL contract. A smaller but skilled forward, Bourbonnais was one of the few bright spots on a pretty abysmal RPI and while he is likely to start in the ECHL, expect to see Bourbonnais make a solid impression in the AHL by the end of the year, probably approaching 0.5 points per game when he does play up for Wilkes-Barre.

Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Roster Preview: Left Wing

For the purpose of this series of articles, I am presuming that both Zach Aston-Reese and Daniel Sprong begin the season in the minors, and that all players on one-way contracts who played for WBS last year (Chad Ruhwedel, Derrick Pouliot and Josh Archibald) are with the NHL Penguins full time. Due to the size of the roster WBS has acquired this year, I’m going to break it down by position for each article.

LEFT WING

Zach Aston-Reese, AHL Experience : Rookie

Zach-Aston-Reese


We have previously covered the potential that Aston-Reese has, with his relentless, gritty game providing immediate production for WBS in the 10 games he played on an ATO. Aston-Reese will be relied upon by WBS to play in a scoring role to begin the year, likely providing a net-front presence on the first PP and playing top-6 ice time. Don’t be surprised to see his AHL production disrupted by a call-up to the NHL, whether that’s as a result of injury or a result of his play warranting a permanent promotion. Expect Aston-Reese to contribute a rate of 20-25 goals and 50-60 points if he were to remain in the AHL the entire year.

Dominik Simon, AHL Experience : 2 Years


Simon


Dominik Simon, a 2015 draft pick of the Penguins, has spent the past 2 seasons playing for Wilkes-Barre/Scranton. He started his career off to a hot start, before tailing off towards the end of the 2015-2016 season, with another inconsistent year following in 2016-2017. While his overall production of both years was good, Simon’s consistency is what needs to develop, with 3 separate instances in the 2016-2017 seasons where he went 4 or more games without registering a point. Simon has a high level of skill, and plays a solid 200 foot game, so expect to see him skating in the top-6 and seeing some PK time, where the Penguins will hope to see him develop into a more consistent offensive threat. Expect to see a slightly improved third year from Simon with a similar projection to Aston-Reese’s 20-25 goals and 60 points.

Tom Sestito, AHL Experience: 8 Years

Sestito


Face punching extraordinaire Tom Sestito returns for his third year in the Penguins organisation. While the role of an enforcer may be all but extinct in the NHL (unless you ask Jim Rutherford), in the AHL, games have a higher likelihood of getting a little out of control. Many teams retain a primary face puncher in their organisation, and the Penguins have one of the better nuclear options to keep stored in your minors. Sestito possess a surprising amount of skill and produces at a reasonable rate when given the opportunity to do so, with a career AHL scoring rate of 0.43 points per game. This unexpected production, plus his ability to skate a regular shift in the AHL makes him a valuable asset for an AHL team that somewhat lacks in size (Elite Prospects has the WBS current roster at the 24th tallest). Sestito may get as high as 15 goals this year if he remains in the AHL the entire year, and don’t be shocked if you catch him out as a net front presence on the powerplay.

Thomas DiPauli, AHL Experience : 1 year

DiPauli


A disappointing year for Thomas DiPauli, who was derailed by multiple injuries and only managed to appear in 12 games, scoring 2 assists. Touted as a speedy, defensive minded forward coming out of college, the former Washington Capitals forward was signed to an ELC by the Penguins when his draft rights expired. It is difficult to put a number projection on what to expect of DiPauli given his lack of experience in pro hockey and coming off injuries. A year of 10-15 goals, 30-40 points and staying healthy will be a move in the right direction for DiPauli. He’ll be used in a bottom-6 role to make use of his speed and defensive ability, and may see some time at centre depending on what happens to WBS’ centre depth throughout the year.

Frederik Tiffels, AHL Experience: Rookie

Switzerland V Germany - Relegation - 2015 IIHF World Junior Championship


A 6th round overager drafted in 2015, Frederik Tiffels just signed an ELC after finishing his junior year at Western Michigan University. Never quite producing offensively or developing the way the Penguins hoped, the Penguins likely moved to turn Tiffels turn pro as a result of this and the belief they can reset his development course as he was stuck in a bottom 6 role in college. Tiffels will likely start the year in Wheeling due to the amount of forwards in WBS this year, but will inevitably make some appearances. Look for him to play top-6 minutes in Wheeling but slot into a more defensive role for WBS when he is playing in the AHL.

Adam Johnson, AHL Experience: Rookie

Adam Johnson


A NCAA free agent signed by the Penguins after impressing at the recent development camp, Adam Johnson has a history of good production in the USHL and in college through his two years at Minnesota-Duluth. A creative, offensive minded player, Johnson has a tough crack to make it onto the opening WBS roster due to the number of forwards, so much like Tiffels above, expect to see him playing down in Wheeling for much of the year, adjusting the pro game. As such, I won’t make any projections on his points for the year.


5 WBS Prospects Who Will See NHL Time

Daniel Sprong, 20, RW/LW, 6’0, 180, Shoots R

Minnesota Wild v Pittsburgh Penguins

There isn’t much to be said about Daniel Sprong that hasn’t already been said. A dynamic offensive forward with an NHL caliber shot, Sprong made the NHL team as an 18 year old in 2015-2016 before eventually being returned to the Charlottetown Islanders of the QMJHL and scoring 46 points in 33 regular season games and 15 points in 12 playoff games. Upon the conclusion of that season, Sprong then reported to the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins for their playoff run at scored an incredibly impressive 5 goals and 2 assists through 10 games.

His 2016-2017 season got off to a much less successful start, having had offseason shoulder surgery. When he recovered from this in January, he returned to Charlottetown and got off to what was considered by some to be a slow start, managing 5 goals and 11 points through 11 games in January. Sprong then made plenty use of his NHL level shot, scoring 14 goals in 11 games in February and 12 goals through 9 games in March, for an overall regular season tally of 32 goals, 27 assists through 31 games. Sprong added to this with 9 goals and 11 assists in 12 playoff games. However, due to WBS’ first round exit, he never had a chance to contribute to their playoff run.

Sprong recently shined at the Penguins 2017 Development Camp, being placed into a leadership role by Director of Player Development Mark Recchi and was the name on the lips of the Penguins’ Hockey Operations department and the spectators who went to see the camp. While his name has been floated about to make the NHL roster out of camp, with the Penguins having 5 waiver eligible LW and 5 waiver eligible RW, it’s unlikely to be the case. Expect to see Sprong taken on the Jake Guentzel development path of being kept in the AHL while they offensively dominate the league, and then being brought up. WBS fans will have to treasure the brief amount of time they see Sprong, as I strongly suspect he won’t be there after January provided he shows the improvements to his 2-way game that have been talked about by the Penguins’ development staff.

Zach Aston-Reese, 22, LW/RW. 6’0, 205, Shoots L

Zach-Aston-Reese

A free agent signing from Northeastern University where he was a Hobey Baker Trophy nominee in his senior year, Zach Aston-Reese was a highly sought after commodity with practically every team having an interest in having him sign. Perhaps owing to the Penguins track record of developing NCAA prospects, Aston-Reese chose the Penguins over pretty much every other NHL team and signed a 2 year ELC that starts for the 2017-2018 season and an amateur try-out that allowed Aston-Reese to contribute down the stretch for Wilkes-Barre/Scranton.And contribute he did, scoring 3 goals and 5 assists in 10 games while playing on a scoring line with Kevin Porter and WBS legend Tom Kostopoulus. An incredibly versatile player, Aston-Reese can play in all 3 forward positions, on the powerplay and on the penalty kill. He also plays an extremely gritty game, as demonstrated by this clip:

Projecting to be a Patric Hornqvist type player with a relentless forecheck and an insatiable desire to win, Aston-Reese will likely start in WBS for the same reasons as Sprong in that there is a log jam of wingers on the NHL roster. This will only serve to benefit Aston-Reese as he develops his skating. Expect to see Aston-Reese as one of the first call ups in the case of injuries and will likely be skating in an offensive role for the Baby Penguins until that happens.

Teddy Blueger, 22, C, 6’1, 185, Shoots L

Teddy Blugers

A 2nd round pick all the way back in 2012, Teddy Blueger is a defensively minded center who played his first professional year in the 2016-2017 season. While his defensive and faceoff game is likely at an NHL level, the Penguins felt the best thing to do was to allow him to play down in Wilkes-Barre and develop his offensive game. While down in WBS, Blueger showed his play making ability, scoring a respectable 7 goals and 24 assists through 54 games.

Blueger will never be mistaken for a dynamic offensive player, but that was never his game, even when he was drafted. A perfect example of a low ceiling high floor prospect, Blueger could likely come up to the NHL and play in a 4th line, defensively minded role at this moment. However, the Penguins will likely have him spend another year in WBS primarily to hopefully further develop his offensive play. Given the Penguins lack of C depth (and the ever elusive 3C not yet acquired), I suspect Blueger will see a good amount of time in the NHL if there are injuries to centers.

Lukas Bengtsson, 23, RD, 5’10, 175, Shoots R

Lukas Bengtsson

Limited to just 16 games in his first year in North America due to what was eventually discovered to be Postural Orthostatic Tachycardia Syndrome, a condition that causes a plethora of symptoms, but has a favourable prognosis once treated. Having been shut down for most of the year, Lukas Bengtsson has been working out back in Sweden having received treatment which bodes well for his ability to play next year.

As expected by his size, he is an offensively minded D with great skating and transition play. If he remains healthy, he will the best defensive prospect in WBS by far. Fitting the Penguins system to a tee, if Bengtsson will likely see some time with the NHL team and will show the skills and talent that had the Penguins salivating when they managed to beat the Rangers to his signature last offseason. A name to keep an eye out on the WBS score sheets.

Tristan Jarry, 22, G, 6’2, 195, Catches L

Tristan Jarry

Putting up a very impressive .925% and 2.15 GAA in his second pro season, Tristan Jarry is only not in the NHL as a result of the team wanting him to start more games. As a young goaltender, games are the key thing to development, and allowing Jarry to remain in the AHL is something that was key to the Penguins acquiring Antti Niemi as their backup to Matt Murray in the NHL.

Jarry is in a similar vein to Murray, along with most young goalies in the NHL, in that they have great fundamentals in the butterfly and play a reserved style. If Niemi struggles, or there’s any goalie injuries, Jarry will be up in the NHL, likely starting if he is called up for injury. Look for him to develop his tracking of the puck in the AHL and also when he gets up to the NHL.