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Ethan Prow

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Elliotte Friedman reports the Penguins will sign highly touted college free agent Ethan Prow, a defenseman from St. Cloud State.

Prow is a 5-foot-11, 185-pound right-handed puck moving defenseman, which checks a few of the boxes that often make a college free agent sought after. He led the country in defenseman scoring with 38 points in 37 games (8 goals-30 assists) to become a Hobey Baker Award finalist. He’s St. Cloud’s captain and everyone says good things about his character. At age 23 with four college seasons under his belt, he’s probably closer to NHL-ready than the majority of prospects entering the organization.

There are a few question marks. He didn’t really start putting up big numbers until his senior year and 20 of his 38 points this season came on the power play. He doesn’t shoot the puck a ton (56 shots this year). But all that said, this is precisely the kind of signing a team that has traded away draft picks in recent seasons needs to make.

It’s also an area of desperate need in the prospect pool. The Penguins’ best young defensemen — Derrick Pouliot, Brian Dumoulin, Olli Maatta — are already in the NHL. The D men in Wilkes-Barre are largely older free agents. In the prospect pool, there’s maybe Jeff Taylor coming off a down junior year at Union and Ryan Segalla coming off a nondescript junior year at UConn.

In other words, Prow steps in and immediately becomes the team’s best defense prospect not in the NHL.

More after morning skate tomorrow,

jb

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