Ferriero viewed as possible 3rd line fit
The Penguins have 12 forwards signed to one way-contracts in Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin, James Neal, Chris Kunitz, Pascal Dupuis, Brandon Sutter, Matt Cooke, Tyler Kennedy, Tanner Glass, Craig Adams Joe Vitale and Dustin Jeffrey. Out of that group, the only player who’s spot is not secure going into training camp for whenever that begins is Dustin Jeffrey who fell out of favor with the coaching staff last season.
The notable player on a two-way contract who will be vying for a top-12 spot is Eric Tangradi who is eligible for waivers, while the likes of depth players Benn Ferriero, Philippe Dupuis and Trevor Smith will be among those who figure to battle for a final roster spot, in addition to enforcer Steve MacIntyre, if the Penguins for some odd reason decide to open the season again with MacIntyre.
Who’s a name to watch out of that group that the Penguins feel could earn a regular role? Asking around the organization on who could be a camp sleeper, the name I consistently hear this summer is 25 year old winger Benn Ferriero.
The 5-foot-11, 195-pound Ferriero signed a one year deal this summer with the Penguins worth $700,000 at the NHL level. Ferriero had 7 goals in 35 games last season for the Sharks and was third on the team with four game winning goals. Ferriero has 12 goals in his last 68 NHL games.
The word on Ferriero is that he has a knack for scoring a critical goal but what makes him a potential sleeper this upcoming season is that he fits the type of style that Dan Bylsma seeks from role players as the scouting report on Ferriero is that he’s a hard worker with good skating ability who skates hard and that he plays a gritty type of game on the forecheck and in around the net.
From those I’ve spoken with, the Penguins feel the main thing that has held him back is that he hasn’t been able to establish himself as an everyday NHL regular. Ferriero has been one of those players who gives you a bump in the lineup for a 10 to 12 game stretch but then he’s unable to maintain his play, which is what happened with him in San Jose last season.
Ferriero is just 25 years old and the Penguins are intrigued to see if he can now establish himself as a regular in a system that suits his game. Ferriero can provide some offensive ability but brings that gritty game to the table where a few people in the known I’ve spoken with feel Ferriero could become a fit on the third line with Brandon Sutter and Matt Cooke if the Penguins hands are forced and have to move Tyler Kennedy up to a top-6 role, which is a possibility.
“We feel good about the possibilities of guys like Kennedy supplementing that top-six role, ” head coach Dan Bylsma said in July.
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