As Advertised…

Penguins have a lot of talent in their camp this week. From the first two days, here’s what we know about the forwards:

Eric Tangradi - The 6’4” 220-pound winger definitely is the real deal. He has a good skating ability for a man of his size, and has really good hands around the net. He had three deflection goals in his day two practice, so it is pretty clear he has really good hand eye coordination. And with his size and balance on his skates, he’ll be really hard to move from in front of the net. He looked like a man among boys on his junior team, and his size will allow him to transition well to the pro game. His shot wasn’t overwhelmingly impressive, partially due to scar tissue build up from a surgery earlier this summer. An impending follow up surgery on his hand will happen after this camp to remove the that scar tissue, and he should be ready to go for training camp. No doubt, he is going to be good. Will fit in on the top two lines of the Penguins within the next year and a half, maybe sooner.

Luca Caputi – He put on nine pounds of muscle during the off season to put him over the two hundred pound mark, and that added weight should suit him well to make it with the big club. He was able to pick the corners on his shots more than any other player on the ice. Good skater, pretty good wrist shot. It appears that it is just a matter of time until he sticks with the Penguins.

Kevin Veilleux – the most talented player of the prospects. He is normally a center, but the Penguins are more than likely going to move him to wing this year. At 6’5”, he’s more noticeable than most simply by default. Through the two days, he has converted on all five of his breakaway attempts. Great hands. Above average shot. Good skater, but needs to be more explosive. Also needs to be more aggressive and intense, a knock that has been on his game for a while. He certainly has done nothing to dispel that notion during this camp. He is probably the most talented of the Penguins prospects, and could be a bona fide star if he would get his head together and work harder. The upside is clearly there.

Nick Johnson – Originally drafted in 2004, Nick is commonly referred to as a late bloomer. Decent shot, but he’s sneaky fast and is solid on his skates. Quick release. Certainly made a good impression during this camp. 6’2” and 200, he could be on the team at some point during the year. I think the Penguins would like him to get a season under his belt at the AHL level, but I would think he has a really good chance to get on the NHL version of the Penguins next year. He’s a 3rd or 4th line talent in the NHL for now, but could move even higher.

Dustin Jeffrey – 6th round pick of 2007, he stands 6’1” and weighs 210. Gritty forward who sticks out with his quickness and his high compete level. Made a very solid showing with the Penguins this past year in 12 games, with a goal and 2 assists and a +4 rating. Wasn’t overwhelmed by his shot, but he has a decent one. Perfect 3rd or 4th line guy, and could earn a spot on the Penguins this training camp.

Nathan Moon – Drafted in 4th round of 2008. Really good shot. Skating is pretty average. Listed as 5’11” and 179 lbs., he definitely looks smaller on the ice when compared to a lot of the other forwards.

Casey Pierro-Zabotel – A high scoring player in Juniors, CPZ has really good hands and good vision on the ice. Very solid wrist shot. Definitely needs to get bigger and more explosive if he is ever to play in the NHL, but the tools are there.

Going back to camp today and tomorrow for some more'scouting'. I'll have more on the defensemen and goalies, along with some other notes about players already mentioned.


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