I saw that ESPN.com released its list of the top 100 prospects and its 1-30 ranking of NHL organizations the other day. It caught my attention because the Penguins were ranked dead last and the only prospect in the top 100 was Daniel Sprong at No. 43.
That’s a topic I would like to explore more, and I will write about it soon, but it strikes me that it might be good to re-rank the Penguins’ top 10 prospects first, given that there have been some changes after the draft, offseason trades and development camp. Let’s do that now. Players listed with position, height, weight and age.
I’m using the NHL.com standards, so if a player appeared in 25 NHL games last season or 50 in his career or has turned 26, he’s off the list.
1. Daniel Sprong, LW, 6-0, 180, 18
With Derrick Pouliot graduated and Kasperi Kapanen gone to Toronto, Sprong’s your man.
2. Matt Murray, G, 6-4, 178, 21
ESPN.com had him as the sixth-best goalie prospect in hockey. That sounds about right to me.
3. Sergei Plotnikov, LW, 6-2, 202, 25
He’s on the verge of being too old to be considered a prospect, but since he’s on the right side of that line, he deserves this spot. How many prospects in any organization are likely to play top nine minutes next season? Not many.
4. Brian Dumoulin, D, 6-4, 207, 23
With Scott Harrington gone to Toronto, bump Dumoulin up one spot.
5. Oskar Sundqvist, C, 6-3, 209, 21
I’m being conservative with Sundqvist. Some might have him higher, since he’s a big kid with a two-way game and hands. I still wonder how he’ll handle big-league physicality.
6. Conor Sheary, LW, 5-8, 175, 23
In the NHL.com top 100 prospects list, the only player in the top 50 that played most of last season in the AHL was Montreal center prospect Charles Hudon. Sheary compares favorably to Hudon.
7. Dominik Simon, C, 5-11, 176, 21
Pretty accomplished for a kid his age and already signed to an NHL deal. He slots in ahead of centers like Teddy Blueger and Jake Guentzel.
8. Adam Clendening, D, 6-0, 190, 22
Maybe some consider him a throw-in in the Brandon Sutter deal. I don’t. He had 105 points in his first two AHL seasons. That’s impressive. By my count, he does have to clear waivers to be sent down, however, so his stay on this list could be a short one.
9. Scott Wilson, LW, 5-11, 183, 23
Wrist injury kept him out of development camp, so it’s hard to move him much from before.
10. Frederik Tiffels, LW, 6-0, 192, 20
Loved his speed at development camp.
EDIT: I accidentally left Sheary off the original version of this list. Here’s why. The last time I made a top 10 prospects list, he was an unrestricted free agent, so I didn’t include him. When I re-did the list now that he’s signed, I forgot to add him. My mistake. Apologies.
Bye for now,