PITTSBURGH PENGUINS DEVELOPMENT CAMP 2013
FAN GUIDE FOR PROSPECT SCRIMMAGE GAME
When, where, and how much:
Saturday, July 20 from 3:00 to 5:00 PM at CONSOL Energy Center
The scrimmage is open to the public, with free admission
Gates open at 2:00 PM (Trib and AE Gates only)
Parking at arena lots is also free (site of old Civic Arena)
Concession stands will be open, as well as the main team store
What to expect
*Expect the physical play to be kept to a minimum. No one wants to injure another player and thereby negatively affect his budding career. The players still skate with intensity and battle for the puck, but do not expect to see many thunderous hip checks or open-ice collisions.
*Penalties result in a penalty shot awarded to the player that was fouled, and no one is sent to the box. So do not expect to see any power plays.
*The absolute best player on the ice only stands a marginal chance of getting playing time in the NHL this coming season. These are young players that are still developing as amateur and professional athletes. So while there is plenty of skill that will be put on display, do not expect to see any of these players on the Pittsburgh roster in the fall, even if someone does have a strong showing on Saturday.
*However, it is fun to try to gauge a player’s potential of eventually making it to the NHL or compare the players on the ice to one another to see who might get to Pittsburgh first. It is also fun to compare how well a younger player performs relative to his age – if he looks and plays at a level beyond his years. Expect plenty of opportunity to do those things.
*No one on the ice has fully refined their game yet. Expect to see some mistakes, a younger player get pushed around by a bigger player, and the goaltenders give up a lot of rebounds.
*It is still very good hockey, so expect to get a ton of enjoyment in watching talented players compete for the love of the game and the dream of making it to the NHL. Expect to see the players on the ice enjoying every minute of it, too.
Who to watch
*There is often a lot of buzz to start the event, as the arena begins to fill with fans looking for a summer hockey fix or trying to stay associated with anything related to the Penguins. But the interest level usually wanes pretty quickly since most people in attendance do not recognize many of the names on the ice. Gathering some knowledge about the players beforehand (or taking info with you) will make your experience more enjoyable.
InsidePittsburghSports.com is loaded with articles covering the four days of practices at the development camp, leading into the scrimmage on the fifth day. A vast majority of the 36 players in the game have some sort of mention in those articles, particularly if they are a player that is worth watching on Saturday.
*The Penguins are always fan-friendly, and they were kind enough to post their Development Camp Media Packet on their website this year. So fans have access to the same information as the journalists covering the week. As cited above, this is well worth reading in advance. Check it out:
*The Penguins are loaded with talented defensemen in their system. There are at least six players that have potential to some day make it to Pittsburgh: Brian Dumoulin, Scott Harrington, Derrick Pouliot, Olli Maatta, and Philip Samuelsson top the list. That group has drawn the most interest in the days leading into the camp and throughout the week.
*The Penguins organization is not as deep at forward, but that also creates an opportunity for someone to really make an impression and climb up the depth chart. Tom Kuhnhackl, Jayson Megna, Adam Payerl, and Dominik Uher fall into this category, in particular. Payerl has drawn a lot of praise from the coaching staff this week, and everyone is anxious to see how he performs in the scrimmage.
*A few players are undrafted and unsigned, so they are looking to earn a professional contract for next year, placing them in the AHL or ECHL. Jean-Sebastien Dea, Alex Boak, Tyler Barnes, Richard Nejezchleb, and Carter Rowney are a few of those who are in that position. That situation puts them in more of a “tryout” than an “evaluation,” so they will look to make the best impression possible on the coaching staff.
*A few players are property of the Penguins but are knowingly still a few years away from playing pro hockey. They will return to their junior or college team – or even Europe – after this week, regardless of how well they do. But they are here to learn and show how much they have developed. These players include Bryan Rust, Teddy Blueger, Jake Guentzel, Matia Marcantuoni, and Oskar Sundqvist.
*The Penguins have stocked up on goaltenders in the past 13 months, with two draft picks last year, one draft pick this year, and a free-agent signing of a college goaltender at the end of last season. Eric Hartzell was the college goaltender and is the only player that will be in pro hockey this year. He is looking to use this camp to help earn consideration for the AHL instead of the ECHL. Tristan Jarry was the team’s highest pick in last month’s draft (2nd round), but he will return to his junior team. Matt Murray will also return to juniors, while Sean Maguire will go back to his college team. But the team hopes to see at least one of those players in the NHL in a few years.