Pens Universe Preseason Top 20

Utilizing a formula that includes talent, intensity/grit, and probability to make an impact in the NHL, we have decided on these 20 players as the tops in the Penguins organization. More merit will be given to players that are closer to making the big club because, well, that’s what matters.

1. Eric Tangradi (LW) – Just watch his highlight reel. He’s a bull. Loves to go to the front of the net, and at 220lbs., you can’t get him from in front of the crease. A leader. Has great hands for deflections. He won’t let himself be a failure. Will be on Crosby’s or Malkin’s line at some point in 2010/11 season
2. Luca Caputi (LW) – With 45 pts in 66 games for the Baby Pens, he’s only 20. Put on 10 pounds to 202. His head in the right place. Intense and competitive, with a good wrist shot to pick the corners. Needs to increase his speed, but he definitely has the skills to put the puck in the net.
3. Nick Johnson (RW) – A late bloomer, he has a lot of speed, intensity, plays big, and can put the puck in the net. Once, people wondered if he would ever make the NHL. Now, people are wondering how much of an impact he will make on either one of the Pens top two lines. No matter what, it looks like he will play in the NHL.
4. Ben Lovejoy (D) – Because he will start playing consistently on the big club this year. He’s not going to take over the world, but he will play for the Pens for a while. As a plus 42 in with the Baby Pens, nothing left to prove in the minors.
5. Dustin Jeffrey (C) – Intensity, work ethic, speed, and some skill intermingled. Will make a very solid third line player. Could maybe do more, but certainly would be happy as a very above average 3rd line guy. Could make the team this year out of camp. Probably equal to Johnson as of right now, but Johnson has better upside.
6. Alex Grant (D) – A very offensively talented defenseman, he has tremendous upside. Starting to fill out his frame, and will only get better. Good skater. Great shot. Needs to keep filling out and growing into himself. Only 20.
7. Kevin Veilleux (C/RW) – This player is all upside. He’s either going to be a really good winger on the first two lines, or a maybe a bust. Currently a Center. He isn’t the type of player you put on the lower lines. Great hands, and makes goalies look silly on breakaways. At 6’5” and only 205, the knock on his play has been lack of intensity and explosiveness. But he’s young, and there’s plenty of time to correct that. Big scorer in Juniors.
8. Simon Depres (D) – Look very solid defensively during prospect camp. Large body and a surprisingly fluid skater. Years away from the NHL, but has very solid upside. Listed below Grant because of an evident lack of offensive prowess, though some think he may develop some of this.
9. Joe Vitale (C) – A solid player with speed. Could make an impact as a solid 3rd or 4th liner of the future. Very gritty and is consistently called a fierce competitor. Also has some offensive touch as well.
10. Brian Strait (D) – Came out after his junior year at BU. Was going to be the captain, so he clearly has good leadership ability. Played on their top D pairing. Solid in all aspects of the game, with no one clear cut strength. Simple, solid game.
11. Ben Hanowski (LW) – Gets rated this high because of his potential. Clearly has ggood hands and a really solid shot. At 18, the sky is the limit. Needs to improve on skating and filling out. Highest scoring player in Minn high school history.
12. Nathan Moon (C) – a smallish player with 3rd or 4th line potential. Behind many other Penguin prospects who are slotted for the same type of position. Good shot, but needs to add some size. Good first step, but not high end speed or skating ability.
13. Casey Pierro-Zaobotel (C) – He is a solid kid with a good scoring touch. Has scored a lot of points at every level up until this point. Definitely needs to add to his skating ability and compete level. Does not have awesome playmaking abilities and has played with other really good players throughout his career, and he certainly capitalizes when that happens. Needs to become more explosive to make it to the NHL. Top line kind of talent, so it’s make or break it on the top lines. Would not be a good 3rd or 4th liner. That’s why he’s listed lower than others (chance of making it to NHL).
14. Carl Sneep (D) – He has all of the physical tools you could ask for, and tested among the best at this year’s Penguin’s prospect camp. Very raw. Needs to add consistency to his camp, but had shown that he has good upside. Need to keep showing improvement.
15. Alex Velischek (D) – If there are complaints, it is all about his defensive zone work. Great offensive abilities for a defenseman. Smooth skater, passer, shooter. If he becomes smarter in his own zone, he could grow into a solid NHL defenseman. High on his ability, just a ways away from NHL as of now.
16. John Curry (G) – a solid goaltending prospect, who will possibly make the Pens next year (this year with an injury). Solid at everything, but upside is limited. Not very big in the net.
17. Jonathon D’Aversa (D) – At 23, the Penguins view him as a late bloomer. Inside the organization, it was thought that he was possibly the most improved. Solid 2 way defesneman.
18. Robert Bortzzo (D) – has good size to him and needs to mature and develop. At 6’3” and 200, he definitely has strength to put on. But at only 20, there is plenty of time for him to develop. Would not be surprised if he grows into a 5-8 NHL defenseman.
19. Brad Thiessen (G) – Very quick and solid goaltender. Very good lateral movement, and covers the bottom of the net very well. Need to see more of him, but would not be surprised if he overtakes Curry by the end of this upcoming year.
20. Nicholas D’Augustino (D) – Looked very much like a lot of the other Penguin prospects on defense (i.e. D’Aversa, Bortuzzo). Tall and lanky, with need to put on muscle. Solid on many aspects of his game, but still needs to mature. At 19, still going to college at Cornell.


Sean said...

Nice job Andy. You don't find much prospect stuff out there.

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