PITTSBURGH PENGUINS DEVELOPMENT CAMP 2013
DAY 4 ANALYSIS: FORWARDS
By Dave Fryer, Contributor to InsidePittsburghSports.com
Dan Bylsma joined the team on the ice today. John Hynes still led the session, and Bylsma mostly served as a helper, though he naturally added some instruction in several situations. He seemed to enjoy himself the most when he got to man a blocking pad and shove a few players around in a drill that started out of the corner for the forwards. Heavy contact from Bylsma sent Matia Marcantuoni to the ice during one of the repetitions.
*Dominik Uher repeatedly catches attention in situations where he needs to one-time the puck or get his shot off quickly. He has a very good release, propelling the puck with both power and accuracy. He was particularly impressive in the drills involving cycling the puck to a shooter in the slot area. This area of his game is newly-improved for him. “I really spend some time every day shooting some pucks. I wasn’t happy with 4 goals from last year, so I’m really trying to elevate (that number) for next year. This is a thing I still want to develop throughout August, and I hope I’m going to have better results,” said Uher this afternoon.
*Jake Guentzel showed a knack for knowing not to over-handle the puck by catching it in a position that allowed him to move it again quickly without stickhandling.
*Jean-Sebastien Dea looked exceptionally smooth in a drill involving some passing sequences in the neutral zone, catching passes without breaking stride and flawlessly changing direction with the puck. “I know sometimes being so productive in a junior league, that doesn’t always translate at the pro level,” said Wilkes-Barre Assistant Coach Alain Nasreddine. “But for [Dea], it’s really getting in there and understanding the pro game because everything is faster. I think it’s an adjustment, but when you have the skills and the tools he’s got, this is one guy that can leave a really big impression if he should decide to come to our pro camp.”
*A.J. White just does not shoot the puck well enough to put up offensive numbers at the pro level. In fact, he only found the back of the net twice in his senior season at UMass-Lowell. But he does have decent size and could find his place in the minor leagues as a checking-line player and penalty-killer. He is currently an unrestricted free agent.
Scott Wilson is another UMass-Lowell player, but he does own a good shot and scoring touch. His drawback is that he does not keep his feet moving while catching and receiving passes.
*Collectively, the passing and pass-receiving was not very good in a drill involving longer passes through the neutral zone. And we all know how much Pittsburgh likes to utilize the stretch pass. Garnet Hathaway stood out as a player that could consistently make precise passes, and Carter Rowney did a good job on the receiving end. Both players are still looking to sign a pro contract.
*Adam Payerl showed again today that he possesses the basic puck skills needed to be an effective player around the net. He will likely never undress a defenseman or anchor a shootout, but he can get the puck quickly to the net and position himself well for rebounds. Payerl is simply doing everything right this week. “I’m just going to try to play my game, and if the coaches see a spot for me to fit, that would be unbelievable. I’m just going to try to keep getting better as much as I can,” Payerl said after the session today. Nasreddine does not find the idea of Payerl landing on the Penguins roster as far-fetched, stating today, “For him, it’s pretty easy. He’s got to play a big game, he’s got to play a strong game, he’s got to play heavy down low, he’s got to make it tough for the other defensemen. But at 222 (pounds) and 8% body fat, he came into the camp (with) this year, just don’t forget that name because you’re going to see him at some point in the NHL.”
*Troy Josephs put on a good display of athleticism today. The young centerman showed that he can be shifty with the puck and make plays quickly. He was a seventh-round selection last month, but he has not yet played at a level common for most draft picks. He was with St. Michael’s of the Ontario Provincial league last year and will move on to Clarkson University this coming season. He will be a long-term project for an organization that can afford to be patient with young players.
*Teddy Blueger has a lot more of a muscular build when he is seen off the ice than perhaps is noticeable on the ice so far. His objective for the upcoming season will be to take that increased strength and apply that to his game. “That’s going be something that will help me get to the next level, and that’s going to make the game easier for me,” Blueger said. “It definitely helps in the corners, too.
*Tom Kuhnhackl will not know until tomorrow if he is cleared to play in the afternoon’s scrimmage. “I just want to get it over with. I want to get hit hard, and if it feels good, I’m ready to go,” said Kuhnhackl after skating again today. “I want to see if I still have my scoring touch,” he joked.
*Simply put, what is Assistant to the GM Tom Fitzgerald looking for in Saturday’s scrimmage? “No injuries,” he quipped.
Comments have been disabled for this post.