From Angello to Zlobin, here are some brief scouting reports on the 37 players the Penguins invited to development camp.
The camp begins Tuesday, July 14 and ends with a controlled scrimmage at 3 p.m. Saturday, July 18. Two quick notes before we get into the scouting reports.
First, Scott Wilson (wrist surgery) and Tyler Biggs (partially severed Achilles tendon) will be there but won’t skate.
Second, assistant general manager Jason Botterill said the other day that the Penguins will probably add a goalie on an AHL contract to round out the depth chart at the position. That indicates to me that Matt Murray will be the No. 1 in Wilkes-Barre while Tristan Jarry and a yet-to-be-signed free agent will duke it out for the No. 2 spot on the AHL roster.
Now to the prospects:
Matt Murphy is a free agent defenseman who could earn a contract at development camp. (halifaxmooseheads.ca)
6-2, 183, 19
A sixth-round pick in 2013, Birks is a long-term project. He’s expected to be a freshman at Michigan Tech in the fall. He’s a tall, mobile, right-handed shot with offensive upside.
6-3, 210, 22
Another tall, mobile defenseman, the undrafted Kulevich just finished his sophomore year at Colgate. He made the all-tournament team at the Three Rivers Classic at Consol in 2014.
6-0, 190, 18
Played with Auston Matthews, the presumptive No. 1 pick in the 2016 NHL draft, and Casey Fitzgerald, son of Penguins assistant general manager Tom Fitzgerald, on the U.S. national team development program under-18 team last season. Committed to UConn. Not particularly big or fast, but smart and sound.
6-2, 208, 20
Here’s a guy I could see the Penguins signing. Big guy, good skater, 18 goals and 66 points in 123 games in the Q the last two years. Six goals and 11 points in 22 games to help Quebec to the league finals last season.
6-0, 208, 21
Not much more developing for Pouliot to do. He’s an NHL player right now. But because he had shoulder surgery, he missed a little bit of this process last summer, so he can go through it now.
6-3, 192, 22
Spent most of his first two pro seasons with the ECHL’s Wheeling Nailers, so the time is now to take a step forward. He’s physical enough to pull it off. Decision making with the puck is a trouble spot.
6-1, 195, 20
Sturdy defender has been a mainstay on UConn’s blue line the last two seasons. A fourth-round pick in 2013.
6-0, 194, 21
Heart-and-soul, captain type for Penticton of the BCHL. Here’s a You Tube clip of a brutal hit he delivered.
6-4, 220, 22
He spent most of his rookie season in Wheeling, but I’ve always thought he has potential. Not great with the puck, but he gets shots through. Big, right-handed and willing to mix it up.
5-11, 181, 21
One of the players I’m most looking forward to watching. He had a great sophomore year at Union (31 points in 34 games), but he’s undersized and I really don’t have a good feel for the kind of game he plays.
Sam Lafferty is from Hollidaysburg. He had a good freshman year at Brown. (brownbears.com)
6-4, 197, 19
An interesting long-term project. Big centerman with snarl. Committed to Cornell.
5-10, 176, 22
Didn’t produce as a rookie in the AHL, but he’s got speed and a confrontational style of play.
6-2, 205, 22
Acquired in the Phil Kessel deal. Big, fourth-line winger type. Won’t skate next week as he is recovering from a partially severed Achilles tendon.
6-0, 185, 20
Seems to be developing nicely in three seasons as Minnesota State-Mankato. The Penguins don’t have much in the way of center prospects who have already turned pro, so seeing what they have in Blueger and Jake Guentzel is important.
6-2, 185, 22
Slovakian winger with good size. Was the only player on RPI’s roster with a positive plus-minus rating as a junior last season.
6-0, 172, 20
A sixth-round pick in 2013, he was second on the team with 12 goals as a sophomore at Maine last season.
5-11, 175, 21
A stud on the power play as a rookie in Wilkes-Barre last season. Not nearly as effective even strength. There’s some potential here.
6-4, 205, 23
A consistent contributor for Robert Morris the last two seasons.
5-10, 167, 20
A third-round pick in 2014, Guentzel has averaged a point per game in two seasons as Nebraska-Omaha. You wonder if his production can translate to the pros because he’s small, but there’s no reason to think it can’t. A prospect to keep an eye on.
6-1, 184, 21
A seventh-round pick in 2013. Has played two seasons at Clarkson. Projects as an energy-line type of forward.
6-1, 184, 20
Fourth-round pick in 2014 from Hollidaysburg had a nice freshman year at Brown (12 points in 31 games). Says he patterns his game after Brandon Sutter.
6-2, 211, 19
Hasn’t done much scoring in three years in the OHL, but he’s a powerfully built kid. Practiced with WBS during the playoffs.
6-4, 208, 23
Troy’s son is a modern power forward who had 10 goals as a senior at the University of Denver and a successful late-season tryout with Norfolk in the AHL. Signed an AHL deal with the Penguins in June.
6-0, 200, 21
A good skater who projects as a penalty killing centerman in the NHL.
6-7, 200, 18
Penn State recruit is every bit the 6-7 he’s listed at. A long-term project, but the tools are there.
5-11, 192, 23
With so much of their salary cap tied up in stars, the Penguins are going to need young, cheap fourth liners who can skate. Rust fits that description well. He’s got a little more offensive skill than he gets credit for too.
5-9, 175, 23
Given his offensive creativity and experience, armed with a newly signed NHL deal, Sheary should shine against this level of competition.
5-11, 176, 20
Another guy I’m looking forward to seeing. Had 18 goals in 52 games with Plzen in the Czech league last season and played on a line with Jaromir Jagr at the World Championships. Those factors indicate he’s closer to the NHL than most 2015 draft picks.
6-0, 180, 18
By reputation, Sprong is a stick-handling whiz with high-end offensive instincts. If that’s the case, he could be a direct replacement for Kasperi
6-3, 209, 21
Didn’t get to play much in an end-of-season visit to Wilkes-Barre due to injury, but he’s an amazing stick-handler for a guy his size. Not sure he’s a prototypical fourth-line center, but he’ll get a chance to compete for that job on the Penguins’ opening-night roster.
6-0, 192, 20
Some scouting reports say he’s a great skater. Some say just a little above average. Would like to see for myself. Coming off an excellent freshman year at Western Michigan.
5-11, 183, 23
A good all-around prospect with speed and feistiness. I knew he was favoring a hand or wrist during the WBS playoffs last season. I didn’t realize it required surgery. It did, so he won’t be skating next week.
5-11, 209, 22
Perhaps the most mysterious Penguins forward prospect. As a rookie in Wilkes-Barre two years ago, he didn’t put up numbers in the regular season, but he back-checked hard and showed a two-way game. Then he scored some huge goals in the playoffs. Last year was a wash-out due to shoulder surgery. What kind of prospect is this guy? Middle-six winger? Fourth-liner with some hands? Roster filler when call-ups hit? Career minor leaguer? I have no idea.
Sean Maguire is back in action after sitting out last season on a medical redshirt. (Getty Images)
6-2, 194, 20
Another intriguing name on this list. Last year at this time, coming off a Memorial Cup with Edmonton, Jarry was a big junior hockey star. Last season, Edmonton wasn’t as loaded and Jarry’s numbers, naturally, took a hit. In the meantime, Matt Murray took off and became a big deal. Where does Jarry fit in?
6-2, 202, 22
Had a great freshman year at Boston University, then a so-so sophomore year, then sat out all of last season with a medical redshirt. So it’s probably a positive sign for him that he’s attending this camp. He’s known as a battling, athletic goalie. If he refines his game a bit, he could join Murray and Jarry in the top tier of Penguins goalie prospects.
6-4, 178, 21
Like many good goalies, when Murray is playing well, pucks hit him in the chest. That’s because he reads plays and challenges shooters very well. No need to rush him to the NHL. He’s only 21. But he’s the real deal.
6-2, 195, 23
Skoff is a McKees Rocks native who played in the Penguins Cup final with Montour in 2009. Penn State has had three good goalies the last two years, so it’s been a battle for the net. Skoff has won that battle more often than not and has pro potential.