By Dave Fryer PART III PENGUINS OFF-SEASON GAME PLAN: FORWARDS FORWARDS LIKELY BACK  Now the real work needs to be done. Fixing this group will not be easy, but fortunately, plenty of options can be put on the table. There should be little question that Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin, and Patric Hornqvist will return. Malkin has the largest cap hit of $9.5 million, with 7 years left on that deal. Crosby takes up $8.7 million with a full 10 years left, and Hornqvist comes in at $4.25 million for the next 3 years. The Penguins must make a decision on Brandon Sutter who will be in the final year of a $3.3 million (AAV) deal. David Perron: He has another year remaining on his contract at $3.812 AAV. That is big money for a player who faded down the stretch, but at 26 years of age, the potential is veryRead More »

Part II Off-Season Game Plan: Evaluating Goaltenders & Defensemen


PART II: PITTSBURGH PENGUINS OFF-SEASON GAME PLAN By Dave Fryer, Contributor to GOALTENDERS Marc-Andre Fleury: There should be very little doubt from anyone that Fleury is the team’s starting goaltender. He had arguably his best season in 2014-15 and, by most accounts inside and out, was the team’s MVP. Fleury is 30, has 4 years left on his contract, and has a cap hit of $5.75 million. Thomas Greiss: He signed to a 1-year, $1-million contract last summer and made the team over Jeff Zatkoff, but he did little to earn praise for those decisions. He put up respectable slash numbers (9-6-3/2.59/.908), but he allowed an astonishing 22% of his goals on the power play, despite a team that ranked 3rd in the NHL in penalty killing percentage. He also was much stronger prior to February 1st (.916 SV%) than after (.896). Greiss is 29, so he is outRead More »

Part I: Penguins Off-Season Game Plan: Identifying a blueprint and sticking with it


PART I: PITTSBURGH PENGUINS OFF-SEASON GAME PLAN By Dave Fryer, Contributor to With the 2015 season coming to a disappointing close for the Pittsburgh Penguins, the team must now take a long, deep look at its make-up this summer. The moves made last off-season and into the 2014-15 season may have been high in quantity and attention, but ultimately, they proved to be low in the kind of quality impact needed. So while the summer of 2014 may have been “change for the sake of change,” this year’s changes need to be far more tactical and meaningful. ANALYSIS Any purposeful change for next year first requires an honest evaluation of the previous season, clearly identifying strengths, weaknesses, and even a few causes for failure. The three major findings – at least in respect to guiding off-season plans – are the following: Youth Movement: The Penguins must become substantially younger,Read More »

Penguins Post-Development Camp Prospect Profile: Brian Dumoulin


PENGUINS POST-DEVELOPMENT CAMP PROSPECT PROFILE PLAYER INTERVIEWS By Dave Fryer, Contributor to BRIAN DUMOULIN Acquired via trade (6/22/12); Drafted in 2nd Round in 2009 (51st overall) 2013-14 Recap Saw NHL action in 6 games with Pittsburgh, posting an assist and a +1 rating. Missed some time with Wilkes-Barre due to a few minor injuries, playing in only 53 games. Under-performed offensively during the regular season with 5 goals and just 16 assists, but emerged in the AHL post-season with 12 points in 17 games (2nd on the team). Disciplined play resulted in just 21 PIMs in the AHL. 2014-15 Outlook Slowed progress during AHL regular season was concerning but Dumoulin’s play in the post-season and his dominant performance in the prospect camp has him very strongly on the NHL radar for the 2014-2015 season. However, what could be in Dumoulin’s way of emerging as a regular this coming seasonRead More »

Penguins Post-Development Camp Profile: Sam Lafferty


PENGUINS DEVELOPMENT CAMP 2014 PLAYER INTERVIEWS By Dave Fryer, Contributor to SAM LAFFERTY Drafted 4th Round (113th overall), 2014 2013-14 Recap Lafferty had 21 goals and 34 assists in 25 games at Deerfield Academy prep school in Massachusetts, where he played both center and right wing. His 55 points were an impressive improvement over the 24 points he had the year prior and gave him 95 points in 74 career games over 3 seasons at Deerfield. 2014-15 Outlook Lafferty will play in the USHL for Tri-City for 1 season before attending Brown University in 2015-16. He will be a long-term project for the pro level, where his strong work ethic will likely make him an overachiever. He will need to improve his overall skills to add more offense to his two-way play and will need to add muscle mass to get more out of his tenacity. 2014 Development CampRead More »

Penguins Post-Development Camp Profile: Bryan Rust


PITTSBURGH PENGUINS DEVELOPMENT CAMP 2014 PLAYER INTERVIEWS By Dave Fryer, Contributor to BRYAN RUST, 2010 THIRD ROUND PICK 2013-14 Recap Completed his senior year at Notre Dame with 17 goals and 16 assists in 40 games. Goal total was a career-high since joining the US National Development Team in 2008. Joined Wilkes-Barre late in the season, had no points in 2 regular-season games and 1 playoff contest. Improved and refined all aspects of his game to be a solid, two-way winger. 2014-15 Outlook Poised to begin his first full season in pro hockey, with WBS being his likely destination. Will need to make his mark in pro hockey as a rugged and reliable winger. Offensive skills have leveled off a bit too much to be a true Top 6 forward, but a checking-line role suits him well with his improved play in the defensive zone. 2014 Development Camp Assessment

Post-Development Camp Profile: Goaltender Matt Murray


PITTSBURGH PENGUINS DEVELOPMENT CAMP 2014 PLAYER PROFILE By Dave Fryer, Contributor to MATT MURRAY (age: 20) 2013-14 Recap Had a phenomenal year in the OHL (32-11-6/2.57/.921), backed with solid post-season numbers (4-3-2/2.63/.915). Raised his performance on loose pucks around the net and improved his overall consistency, which were his two biggest weaknesses. A tryout contract with WBS yielded an April start, where he allowed just 2 goals on 25 shots. Played 1 period of playoff hockey in the AHL, allowing 0 goals on 8 shots. 2014-15 Outlook Ready to emerge as a legitimate NHL prospect after being somewhat overlooked previously due to a few weaknesses and the attention on Tristan Jarry. Now among the more exciting prospects in the system, will push for a role in Wilkes Barre this season. 2014 Development Camp Assessment An exciting prospect prospect with NHL potential. Excellent size at 6-4, 170. Murray’s improved footworkRead More »

Penguins Development Camp: In Depth Scouting Reports & Player Analysis from Saturday’s Scrimmage


PITTSBURGH PENGUINS DEVELOPMENT CAMP 2014 SCRIMMAGE GAME ANALYSIS By Dave Fryer, Contributor to NOTES The game was divided into two, 30-minute halves. The ice was resurfaced at the halftime break. There was a planned stoppage with 3 minutes left in the game. A scheduled shootout finished the affair. Slightly more than half of the lower bowl was filled with spectators when the game started, with empty seats scattered throughout. A few more sections became occupied as the first half progressed. A team-estimated 6,500 fans were in attendance, though that number seemed a bit high. Either way, it was a healthy crowd, which was aided considerably by rainy and dreary weather in Pittsburgh today. Mike Johnston sat next to Jim Rutherford in the stands throughout the scrimmage, while Rick Tocchet and Gary Agnew were in the area for most of the day. Jason Botterill, Tom Fitzgerald, Bill Guerin, and JohnRead More »

Prospect Camp: Zlobin on building off AHL playoff performance; Dumoulin, Payerl eye NHL spots


PITTSBURGH PENGUINS DEVELOPMENT CAMP 2014 *There was no on-ice session today.  The players return to the ice Friday morning at 10:00 a.m. The prospect camp wraps up Saturday with a scrimmage open to the public at 3:00 p.m. The following is some additional info from Wednesday’s session and player reactions: PASCAL DUPUIS Veteran forward Pascal Dupuis was all smiles when he got to lace up the skates again on Wednesday. It was the first time Dupuis was able to skate after having his right ACL surgically repaired on February 12. Dupuis expects to be ready in time for the Penguins training camp in September. MEDIA AVAILABILITY WBS HEAD COACH JOHN HYNES On the prospects at the camp: “It looks good. We think we have a good mix of players coming in, where we have some younger defensemen that are going to be able to make an impact here, I think.Read More »

Day 2 Penguins Development Camp Analysis & Player Reports


PITTSBURGH PENGUINS DEVELOPMENT CAMP 2014 DAY 2 ANALYSIS By Dave Fryer, Contributor to NOTES Groups were divided out by forwards and defensemen today. The drills in each session were specific to those positions. The four goalies were all on the ice for both sessions, as well as some extra work with coaches Mike Bales and Mike Buckley before the first session started. The goalies also found time to do some dedicated work during the session for defensemen. Head Coach Mike Johnston sat in the stands with GM Jim Rutherford for a portion of the morning. Johnston did not take to the ice at all today and was not seen in the locker room after the session. Without Johnston present to lead the drills, as he did yesterday, the reigns were handed over to the Wilkes-Barre coaching staff. John Hynes did most of the instruction during the forwards session, andRead More »