Tag Archives: Teddy Blueger

Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Season Preview

Wilkes-Barre/Scranton had an outstanding regular season in 2016-2017, winning the Macgregor Kilpatrick Trophy which is given to the team with the best record in the regular season. This regular season success did not transfer to the playoffs, however, and the Penguins were dumped out in the first round by the Providence Bruins. Many pointed to the NHL Penguins draining the WBS Penguins of offensive talent as a result for this and in a move to address this issue, WBS GM Billy Guerin signed 22 forwards for the Baby Penguins. This includes a plethora of guys with NHL experience as well as two premium offensive forwards to AHL contracts in Colin Smith and Christian Thomas.

Wilkes-Barre also get a new team to play against in the division this year with the Charlotte Checkers moving from the Western Conference to the Atlantic Division in the Eastern Conference and creating an 8 team division.

Projected Lineup

Always a difficult thing to predict due to the scheduling nature of the AHL where you’ll regularly play 3 games in 3 nights, and there’s also the issue of the ‘Veteran Rule’.

This rule is implemented to maintain the AHL’s main purpose as a development league and says that a team must dress at least 13 development players, 12 of which must have played less than 260 professional games (which refers to AHL, NHL and European Pro) and 1 of which must have played less than 320 professional games. This determination is made at the beginning of the season, so if a player is at 259 pro games to start the season, they are not considered a veteran.

Looking at the WBS forwards and D, the following players are considered veterans as per this rule:

  •  Tom Kostopoulos
  • Greg McKegg (Still partially eligible due to not reaching 320 games)
  • Christian Thomas (Still partially eligible due to not reaching 320 games)
  • Tom Sestito
  • Colin Smith (Still partially eligible due to not reaching 320 games)
  • Garrett Wilson (Still partially eligible due to not reaching 320 games)
  • Chris Summers
  • Jarred Tinordi (Still partially eligible due to not reaching 320 games)

This means at least one of these players must be rotated out of every game, if not more in order to allow younger players the chance to play. That point becomes moot if McKegg makes the NHL Penguins, which is entirely possible given his performance in the preseason and training camp. However, for the sake of this projection, I will consider him in the AHL. There is also undisclosed injuries to Colin Smith and Dylan Zink and as such, they will not be considered healthy enough for the sake of these lines.

With this in mind, my best guess at the most consistent forward lineup would be, with the suspected healthy scratches in red:

LW C RW
Zach Aston-Reese Greg McKegg Daniel Sprong
Dominik Simon Teddy Blueger Christian Thomas
Garrett Wilson Adam Johnson Tom Kostopoulos
Thomas DiPauli Troy Josephs JS Dea
 Tom Sestito  Jarrett Burton  Reid Gardiner 
LD RD
Chris Summers Lukas Bengtsson
Jarred Tinordi Zach Trotman
Jeff Taylor Frank Corrado
Kevin Czuczman Ethan Prow

 

This would lead to the following players being demoted to Wheeling:

  • Freddie Tiffels
  • Cody Wydo
  • Gage Quinney
  • Riley Bourbannis
  • Patrick McGrath
  • Ryan Haggerty

Season Predictions


The WBS Penguins should stand a great chance of winning the Atlantic Division again in the coming year. While the pieces may have changed from this year, and the defense perhaps getting less dynamic with the puck with David Warsofsky moving on to Colorado and Chad Ruhwedel and Derrick Pouliot both presumably graduating to the NHL Penguins, the forwards signed to provide steady offence in spite of call-ups will offset any potential issue with those graduations. Wilkes-Barre also gets the benefit of Daniel Sprong and Zach Aston-Reese joining the club full time, at least for a part of the year. Expect a huge offensive year out of Christian Thomas and an increased point output from Teddy Blueger as well this year.

The additions of bigger defensemen on the backend should help the Penguins with teams like Providence, Springfield and Charlotte who are top 10 in average height in the AHL, while the Baby Penguins are at 25th. Players like Tinordi and Trotman should allow the Penguins to match the physicality of these teams without losing their ability to move the puck, while also bringing a plethora of AHL experience to help young players like Zink, Taylor and Bengtsson to learn how to manage a full professional North American season and as Jarry and DeSmith return in the net, the Penguins should once again be at the top of the league in team GAA.

I predict the WBS Penguins will once again have a 50 win season, leading the Atlantic Division. I expect them to make a deeper run into the playoffs than last season due to increased forward depth. This is, as always, dependent on the health of the NHL Penguins and how that might affect WBS, especially on D. I do consider WBS as one of the favorites for the Calder Cup providing they are not forced to lose so many of their players to call ups. Retaining one of Sprong or Aston-Reese for the entire year will be a huge step to achieving that goal.

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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.

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.

Penguins Preseason Q&A

Hello, Pens fans! We are back for the 2016-’17 season and it’s going to be a great title defense. Without further ado, here are your questions answered below:

I don’t think resting veterans is a terrible idea. Now if we are talking Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin level players, no.

Guys like Chris Kunitz and Matt Cullen surely should get some days off to stay fresh. The Penguins are going to have a ton of depth this season and a lot of them will be young guys.

Guys like Conor Sheary, Tom Kuhnhackl, Scott Wilson, and potentially Oskar Sundqvist may be the ones who will have to rotate in and out of the lineup on a consistent basis due to everyone being healthy now. I’d love to see some of these guys mix in so I’m hoping there will be some rest for veteran guys. 

LW- Chris Kreider, Max Pacioretty, Zach Parise, James van Riemsdyk

C- Tyler Johnson, Nick Bjugstad, Paul Stastny, Ryan Kesler, Derek Stepan

RW- Phil Kessel, Patrick Kane, Blake Wheeler, Joe Pavelski

D- Dustin Byfuglien, John Carlson, Justin Faulk, Ryan McDonagh, Kevin Shattenkirk, Ryan Suter

G- Ben Bishop, Jonathan Quick, Corey Schneider

The USA team was limited with the whole Team North America BS. Obviously, eligible players such as Kessel and Bishop were glaring options that were left untaken.

The Penguins actually have a better prospect system than the eye catches. Outside of Pittsburgh, hockey fans don’t realize the potential this group has.

In no specific order, I’d go: Daniel Sprong, Jake Guentzel, Tristan Jarry, Teddy Blueger, Ethan Prow.

As you’ll realize, I stayed with guys who have very little to no NHL experience.

Sprong has the potential to be a prolific scorer for years to come. He revived little playing time under Mike Johnston, which didn’t help his development so he went back to juniors for a season. He’ll likely begin his season in the AHL when he returns from injury.

Guentzel is a natural center but given the team’s depth down the middle and their intent to resign Nick Bonino, it’s likely that next year’s, and likely year’s to come after that, center core will be Crosby, Malkin, Bonino, and Sundqvist. So Sullivan has said Guentzel will be a left wing. It’s a position the Penguins may need to fill in upcoming seasons and Guentzel will be part of that audition.

It’s never a bad thing to have three NHL capable goaltenders, especially if two of them are still on entry level deals. The Penguins have that with Tristan Jarry. Jarry has always been projected to be a solid goalie and his preseason performance says no different. He’ll back up Flower to start the season, but what will become of that when Matt Murray gets back?

Blueger is a similar player to Guentzel but maybe a little less talented. Regardless, it’s still a great pick up for Pittsburgh. He’ll be a center though as well so he may need to add some versatility to his game if he wants to succeed with the Penguins or any NHL team.

Finally, we’ve come to Ethan Prow, who is actually the most intriguing in my opinion. Prow is a smaller player but has great offensive intangibles and a skill set. Prow can succeed despite his size if he can continue to refine his defense. The Penguins prized college free agent signing this offseason could be a Penguin sooner rather than later.

I’d also like to honorably mention Stuart Percy in this conversation. The Penguins signed him off of free agency this offseason when Toronto had decided he wasn’t worth a contract compared to their other contracted rookies. He’s a pretty sound defenseman already on both sides of the puck. Expect for him to see some NHL ice time this season if some injuries occur on the blue line. If the Penguins move on from Derrick Pouliot, I’d expect either Percy or Steven Oleksy to fill the seventh defenseman role.

For Matt Murray the sky is the limit. There won’t be a ton to improve upon for him besides a few kinks to work out in his game. I personally see Scott Wilson being the most improved.

He was great in his 24 games last year and he could see substantial playing time if he impresses his coaching staff, which I don’t see as a problem.

Wilson has the best finishing ability of all of these players and won’t go forgotten in Mike Sullivan’s high pace-high scoring offensive scheme.

Personally I don’t think so. I think the Penguins want to experiment with Hagelin and potentially Kessel on Sid’s wing at some point when all are healthy.

I think they want to spread the lines out a little and see if they can’t find a combination that hits.

With that being said…

Come playoff time, you can bet your bottom dollar the ‘HBK’ Line will again emerge to give the Penguins the most lethal line in hockey.

This is a tougher question because the Pens are so deep that really only injuries are going to give someone a promotion.

My list of people we should for sure see in the NHL would be Oskar Sundqvist, Jake Guentzel, and Carter Rowney.

These three will likely be guaranteed some NHL time this season if an injury occurs. With Sid’s injury, it’s likely we’ll see Sundqvist take Sid’s roster spot down the middle.

Guentzel and Rowney fit the Penguins’ “long term plans” according to Mike Sullivan. But they’re an injury or two away from making their NHL debuts.

Defenseman Stuart Percy is one that I like. He probably won’t get NHL time because of the depth at defense and it’s likely David Warsofsky would get the call before Percy due to his seniority with the club.

I don’t think anyone is complaining about the jersey design. They’re absolutely gorgeous. I love them.

As for the Stadium Series jersey…

It’s tough to speculate. The Penguins obviously went with the modernized old-school 1990’s look with their new home and away’s. The blue uniforms could always return.

Being it’s the 50th anniversary, the Penguins will likely stay with the throwback theme instead of trying to create a brand-new jersey for the Stadium Series.

Opening Graphic done by @goodkdmaattacty

How Deep This ‘Prospect’ River Runs

Wave after wave, player after player. The Pittsburgh Penguins prospect pool may not be as bad as it once seemed to be. Admittedly, I dreaded the thought of injuries within the big club heading into the season when no big name players, aside from Matt Murray, were available in the AHL for the Penguins to call up. Instead the Penguins found role players like Bryan Rust, Tom Kuhnhackl, Conor Sheary and Scott Wilson to fill in injured spots throughout the lineup.

None of those names obviously brought excitement to the fans’ eyes, but after seeing the speed and intangibles they had when brought to the NHL, it left everyone wondering if the prospect pool is really all that bad.

The Penguins added to their defensive depth in this offseason’s draft by adding a defenseman with each of their four final draft choices. They added more goaltending depth by taking Filip Gustavsson. They selected Kasper Bjorkqvist in the third round, who is a solid forward that should add to the Penguins skill towards the end of the Crosby era.

Despite the hate the Penguins’ prospect pool gets, they actually have some intriguing options ready to go at some point this season barring injuries, needed changes, or a breakout season in the AHL in which a player proves he’s no longer needed as an AHL asset. Some of these guys were added as draft picks throughout the years, others were signed as college free agents and landed in the Pens arms. Regardless, we may be seeing some of these guys in the near future.

  • Right Winger Daniel Sprong

Daniel Sprong made the Penguins opening night roster last season and was almost a shoe-in to do so again this season until a surgery is going to keep him out for a 7-8 month time frame.

It’s got to be frustrating for a kid who looked so promising with a quick release and scored only two goals but only averaged over five minutes of ice time a game. He was sent back to his junior QMJHL team in Charlottetown to receive playing time and played for WBS throughout their playoffs and looked pretty good doing it.

Sprong’s first career goal against Ottawa Senators’ goaltender Craig Anderson was a product of a quick release and that’s something that made Sprong an intriguing pickup. Only time will tell how much Daniel Sprong, if any at all, the Penguins will see next season.

  • Center Oskar Sundqvist

I liked the game Oskar Sundqvist brought last season when filling in for injured Penguins. He won some face-offs and held puck possession for a good amount of time.

Sundqvist isn’t a huge goal scoring guy as he is more of a grindy, defensive minded forward but that’s the the Penguins could use to their advantage seemings they don’t have many of them.

I consider him a prospect still because of his limited NHL experience. Assuming the Penguins cannot resign Matt Cullen in his twentieth year of NHL play, it looks as though Sundqvist is the most ready and able to take over for Cullen. I don’t think he will put up 16 goals like Cullen did a season ago but who knows.

If the Pens do retain Cullen, I don’t think he will go another full 82-game slate. That was pretty impressive last season that he stayed that healthy. This will give Sundqvist a long awaited opportunity to shine on the ice for the Penguins.

  • Center Jake Guentzel

Jake Guentzel is a name becoming very intriguingly popular among Pens fans this season after having an outstanding playoff for Wilkes-Barre Scranton.

He played ten playoff games and netted five goals and fourteen points burning goalies abroad. He’s only got 21 games of AHL experience as he also played eleven regular season games and totaled six points.

I am very excited to see what he can do at the top level. Sure Guentzel is a hot product it looks like after netting 20 points in 21 games, but I’m thinking that he’s still got a ways to go before making the NHL club. His inexperience combined with the logjam the Penguins already have at center will probably hold Guentzel off until late this season as an injury replacement or possibly next season with Nick Bonino potentially becoming a free agent.

  • Center Teddy Blueger

Blueger is another center the organization has stashed away for its future and his first 20 games in the AHL were very forgettable.

He has one lonely point in those twenty games. Blueger was a pretty productive player at Minnesota State University but just hasn’t been able to flip the switch in Wilkes-Barre/Scranton quite yet.

Blueger is a center standing at 6’0″, 185 pounds and shoots lefty. So your prototypical Sidney Crosby, right? Ehh, not really. His defensive game needs a lot of work and his offensive production better start soon matching the numbers he did in college or else he won’t sniff the NHL.

  • Defenseman Lukas Bengtsson

I am not going to lie and say I know a ton about Bengtsson because I don’t at all. I know the Penguins signed him and he’s playing currently in the Swedish leagues.

I heard he’s a pretty good two way defenseman with better offensive upside than most. Of the Penguins defenseman, he’s most comparable to Trevor Daley.

He can shoot the puck and is a great puck moving defenseman. He can man a powerplay and still has the skating ability to get back on defense and make the necessary plays while logging short handed minutes as well.

One or two solid seasons in WBS should help get his name on the market as a future Pens defenseman.

  • Defenseman Ethan Prow

This here is my favorite and most intriguing Pens prospect at any position.

The day the Penguins decided to sign Prow, I watched some tape on him. A 5’11”, 185 pound defenseman is a bit small in these days of the NHL but he’s got as much upside as any Pens prospect and that’s a good thing.

His offensive skills are just mind-blowing. He had 38 points in 37 regular season games at St. Cloud State which is insanity for a defenseman. By no means is he going to play the body a lot either with his size and he has a good discipline level.

He’s very comparable to Kris Letang. His offensive minded game and hopefully continual improvement on the defensive side of the puck will make Prow a long-time successful fan favorite in Pittsburgh.

  • Goaltender Tristan Jarry

Jarry unfortunately had to follow up a record breaking season by Matt Murray but didn’t have a terrible season himself. Murray started a majority of the games until he was called up for good around the third quarter of the season.

Jarry’s playoff struggles did give way to Casey DeSmith during WBS’ short lived playoff run. But he posted five shutouts with a 2.69 GAA and a .905 SV%, solid numbers for someone making his full-time debut in the AHL.

He should have a full season to start now and develop as the starting netminder for Wilkes-Barre/Scranton. If the Penguins decide to trade goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury at some point throughout the season, it’s quite possible Jarry would be the next one up in line behind Matt Murray, as he once was projected to be the all-star takeover for Fleury until Murray really emerged.

It’s quite possible that only Sprong and Sundqvist see NHL playing time at all this season. I’d love to see Guentzel up here at some point but I’m not sure that’s going to happen. Prow, Bengtsson, and Blueger are still young works in progress with a few years to go before they sniff a chance at the NHL. Jarry figures to spend most of, if not all of this upcoming season progressing himself in the AHL.

Despite what some may say…

The Penguins prospect pool actually runs deeper than just the guys at the AHL level. It runs deeper than just the players who have been drafted. Some guys like Conor Sheary or Chris Kunitz went undrafted and made successful careers out of nothing. Others like Prow were signed off of their college teams. You just never know how deep a prospect pool is. You can predict a player’s future, but you’ll never know how good he is before he plays at the NHL level.

Just remember the 2005 NHL entry draft saw Sidney Crosby taken first and none other than Patric Hornqvist taken last. Subsequently, by fate or not, they play on the Penguins first line together heading into the 2016-2017 season. You just never know, so don’t count the Penguins prospects out.