Pittsburgh wants to see Caputi dominate
With Max Talbot likely sidelined until mid-November, there has been a lot of buzz surrounding winger Luca Caputi pushing for a roster spot out of camp
Caputi, who is one of the Penguins top 4 prospects, had 18 goals in 66 games played for Wilkes Barre/Scranton last season, the Penguins American Hockey League affiliate. Solid numbers for a player going through his first professional season but not exactly dominating numbers.
The growing consensus in the organization is that Caputi needs to start in the season in Wilkes Barre. The Talbot injury won’t rush Caputi’s timetable to the National Hockey League, sources tell Inside Pittsburgh Sports.
What Pittsburgh wants to see from Caputi is for him to have a strong training camp and dominate at the AHL level for the first couple months of the season, before being called up.
They are hopeful that he will have a Tyler Kennedy kind of impact this September, where Kennedy had a very strong training camp in 2007 and built off of his camp performance in Wilkes Barre.
It led to an October call-up for Kennedy in 2007 and he hasn’t been back to Wilkes Barre since.
Entering his second professional season, Caputi will be pushed by the incoming talent the Penguins have coming in.
Forwards Casey Pierro-Zabotel (3rd round, 2007) and Keven Veilleux (2nd round, 2007) will be entering their 1st full season with Wilkes Barre and most notably winger
Eric Tangradi, a former second-round draft pick of the Anaheim Ducks, was acquired in the trade that also brought Chris Kunitz from Anaheim. Tangradi, who is regarded as the Penguins top power forward prospect since Kevin Stevens, finished eighth in the Ontario Hockey League (OHL) with 38 goals and 88 points in 55 games for Belleville Bulls in 2008-09. He added eight goals and 21 points in 16 playoff games before being sidelined with a hand injury.
Fully healed from hand surgery in May, Tangradi is ready to make his impact with the Penguins organization. Pittsburgh is hopeful that the presence of Tangradi, along with Pierro-Zabotel will push Caputi to take his game to the next level.
There are still concerns about Caputi when it comes to his top-6 forward potential. Some scouts see him as a high/end third line player and want to see his offensive game become more polished.
Pittsburgh grooming Veilleux to play wing?
Veilleux, 6-5, 215lbs, 2nd round pick with the Penguins in 2007 was drafted as a center but will see time on the wing, possibily as early as next weeks prospect camp. He has all the tools to be a third line center in the National Hockey League but Pittsburgh is expected to give him a strong look at wing this fall.