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Insider Only Prospect Rankings: Projecting NHL Timetable for the Penguins Top-30 Prospects


1. Joe Morrow
2. Simon Despres
3. Scott Harrington
4. Olli Maatta
5. Derrick Pouliot
6. Beau Bennett
7. Brian Dumuolin
8. Teddy Blueger
9. Tom Kuhnhackl
10. Robert Bortuzzo
11. Nick D’agostino
12. Kenny Agostino
13. Dominik Uher
14. Carl Sneep
15. Philip Samuelsson
16. Keven Veilleux
17. Oscar Sundqvist
18. Ben Hanowski
19. Josh Archibald
20. Scott Wilson
21. Anton Zlobin
22. Matia Marcantuoni
23. Alex Grant
24. Reid McNeill
25. Zach Sill
26. Alex Velischek
27. Paul Thompson
28. Bryan Rust
29. Clark Seymour
30. Harrison Ruopp
Here is our newly updated Top-30 rankings following last week’s Development Camp. Players who have spent three or more professional seasons with the organization/appeared in a playoff game during the Penguins first round series with Philadelphia, have graduated from the list which is a reason Brian Strait and Eric Tangradi have been removed from the top-30 list.
In addition to full scouting reports, the criteria below is a Projected NHL timetable (1 year or less, 1-2 years, 2-3 years, 3-4 years, 4 years or more) for each prospect, going off the criteria of Best Possible Scenario of the particular prospect developing into a full-time NHL role.

PROJECTED NHL TIMETABLE: 1 YEAR OR LESS (2012-2013, *Start of 2013-2014 season)

 Joe Morrow – Age 19
Born: 12-09-1992 – Sherwood Park, AB
Height: 6–1 Weight: 204 lbs
Position: Defense | Shoots: L
2011 1st round draft pick
2011-2012 Team:Portland Winterhawks (WHL)
2011-2012 Stats: 62 GP | 17 Goals – 47 Assists – 64 Points +7 rating | 99 PIM
2012-2013 Outlook: Morrow will join the Penguins organization for the 2012-2013 season and while he’s likely to make some noise once again in training camp, all signs point to him to starting the season in Wilkes Barre where the Penguins would like to see him dominante at the AHL level. Morrow is knocking on the NHL door but the bet here is that he doesn’t have a full-time role at the NHL level until start of the 2013-2014 season.
Scouting Report:Morrow is a puck moving defenseman who has tremendous offensive ability and star potential.
Strengths/Weaknesses: Morrow is an excellent skater who has all the tools offensively.
– Has a booming shot and often regarded by scouts as having a “laser” from the point. Has a deceptively “quick” shot.
– Reads the play very well on the breakout, has a good first pass and can use his speed to get out of tough situations and is not afraid to carry the puck out of the zone himself.
– High upside as a power play pointman where he’s developed from a triggerman to a now above average puck distributor. Had 30 power play assists during the regular season, ranking 4th in the WHL and added 10 power play goals.
– Defensively, he plays a rounded two-way game and while Morrow is not overly physical, scouts praise his ability to not back down from a physical challenge.
Potential– top-2 puck moving defenseman with star potential and upside of running a No. 1 power play unit
 Simon Despres – Age 20
Born: 07-27-1991 – Laval, QC
Height: 6 – 4 Weight: 214 lbs
Position: Defense Shoots: L
2009 1st round draft pick
2011-2012 Team: WBS Penguins (AHL)/Pittsburgh Penguins
2011-2012 Stats (WBS) 44 GP | 5 Goals – 10 Assists – 15 Points -5 rating | 45 PIM
2012-2013 Outlook: Regardless of how the Penguins blueline shakes out this summer, the Penguins feel the soon to be 21 year old Despres is ready to push for a top-6 spot on the Penguins blueline. While it might not be straight out of camp, at somepoint this season Despres is a good bet to be a regular in the top-6
Scouting Report:A big strong two-way defenseman who has the size and physical traits to be a dominant player in the defensive zone.
Strengths/Weaknesses: At 6-4, 214 lbs, Despres is an above average skater for a defenseman his size and goes into this season a much leaner player, dropping about 15 pounds.
– Has good mobility and agility which gives him the upside to be a physically dominating defenseman down low and around the net.
– His physicality has progressed nicely in the past year which was a major knock from scouts prior to his final season in QMJHL. The Penguins though would still like to see him play with more of an edge on a consistent basis.
– Underrated part of his game is ability on the breakout. Despres can elude in-coming forecheckers and change directions very well when pressured as scouts rave about his agility. Has an effective escape move
– Has the offensive ability to see time on a second power play unit
– Two years ago his shot was a major weakness in his game. He has made great strides in that area.
Potential– Top-4 defenseman
 Robert Bortuzzo Age 23
Born: 3-18-1989, Thunder Bay, ON, Canada
Height: 6-4 Weight: 210 lbs
Position: Defense Shoots: R
2007 3rd round draft pick
2011-2012 Team: Wilkes Barre Scranton (AHL)
2011-2012 stats: 51 GP | 3 Goals – 9 Assists – 12 Points – +9 rating | 61 PIM
2012-2013 Outlook: The Penguins feel Bortuzzo is ready for NHL duty and he has some traits that the Penguins lack on their backend, but whether he sticks around remains to be seen, as Bortuzzo is eligible for waivers and the Penguins feel he would be a longshot to clear waivers due to trade inquires they have received on him over the past couple months.
Scouting Report: Bortuzzo at 6-4, 210-pounds is a defensive defenseman who has progressed into a shutdown defenseman at the AHL level, matching up against top-end forwards.
Strengths/Weaknesses – Plays the body well, good positioning, keeps incoming forwards to the outside and flourishes at using his size and long wingspan at pinning forwards along the boards
– Has gone away from relying so much on his long reach and has developed a physical nasty edge to his game as his body has developed the past couple years
– Not afraid to mix things up in front of the net
– Good skater for a player his size, accelerates well, and his lateral skating is strong which helps him keep forwards to the outside
– Ability on the breakout has become a strength in Wilkes Barre which helps his NHL prospects in the Penguins organization
Potential: No. 3 pairing defenseman who can impact an game and has the potential where he could emerge in time as a No. 4/5 type defenseman.
Carl Sneep Age 24
Born: 11-5-1987,
Height: 6-4 Weight: 210 lbs
Position: Defense Shoots: R
2006 2nd round draft pick
2011-2012 Team: Wilkes Barre/Scranton Penguins (AHL)
2011-2012 Stats: 34 GP | 0 Goals – 9 Assists – 9 Points -+6 rating | 21 PIM
2012-2013 Outlook: Carl Sneep is entering a crucial season in his professional career. Sneep, 24, made his NHL debut in December and had an assist in the Penguins 8-3 win against Buffalo. Sneep though has struggled to stay healthy and was lost for the season soon after, appearing in just 34 games for Wilkes Barre last season. If he can stay healthy, he has the ability to be an NHL defenseman now but it’s likely not going to be with Pittsburgh.
Scouting Report: Sneep has the size, skating and physical traits that teams covet in blueliners but he’s never been a dominating defenseman at the AHL or college ranks, in addition to struggles of staying healthy.
Strengths/Weaknesses: Strong skating ability, moves the puck well.
– Good positioning, uses his size well
– Plays more physical than he is given credit for and clears the front of the net effectively
– Does well in 1-on-1 situations and uses his speed to his advantage which makes him difficult to beat outside
– Is a good puck distributor but the stats have never matched the talent.
Potential – He’s one of those players who has bottom pairing potential and fits the Penguins system but he’ll be 25 soon and behind several others in the Penguins system.

PROJECTED NHL TIMETABLE: 1-2 Years (2013-2014, 2014-2015)

 Scott Harrington – Age 19
Born: 03-10-1993 – Kingston, ON
Height: 6–2 Weight: 204 lbs
Position: Defense | Shoots: L
2011 2nd round draft pick
2011-2012 Team: London Knights (OHL)
2011-2012 Stats: 44 GP | 3 Goals – 23 Assists – 26 Points +26 rating | 28 PIM
2012-2013 Outlook: Harrington is not eligible for the AHL next season, so he’ll return to juniors and play under Dale Hunter after he participates in training with the Penguins in September. A realistic timetable for NHL appears to be two years (2014-2015), a year in juniors (2012-2013), year in Wilkes Barre (2013-2014) but he’s so developed for a young defenseman that going into 2013-2014 season, he might be ready to push for an NHL spot at somepoint in the 2013-2014 season.
Scouting Report:A defensive defenseman who is not limited offensively with a very high hockey IQ. Has the tools of a defenseman who can play the Penguins way. Has had the opportunity to play in big situations, named to Team Canada this past Winter.
Strengths/Weaknesses For an 19 year old, Harrington is regarded as being more developed defensively than any Penguins prospect in recent years, scouts say.
– He’s a shutdown defenseman at the OHL level who can play all situations and plays his own end well from a positional standpoint and gets his stick in lanes effectively.
– Has showed a strong willingness to get better and is regarded as a very reliable defenseman
– Does not play with an edge defensively which is a knock from some scouts
– The intrigue about Harrington that has him so highly regarded in the organization is that he’s not limited offensively
– A smooth skater who has a good first pass, he see’s the ice really well off the breakout
Potential– Has the upside to be a No. 2 pairing defensive defenseman who can be a factor in all situations
Beau Bennett €“ Age 20
Born:11-27-1991 – Gardena, Calif.
Height: 6-2 Weight: 207 lbs
Position: Right Wing Shoots: Right
2010 1st round draft pick
2011-2012 Team: Denver University (NCAA), Sophomore
2011-2012 Stats: 10 GP | 4 Goals – 9 Assists – 13 Points + 3 rating | 5 PIM
2012-2013 Outlook: Bennett has turned pro and despite chatter of possibly pushing for a top-6 winger spot in camp, Bennett is nowhere near being NHL ready when it comes to his overall game, despite possessing dynamic offensive skills. Bennett didn’t play much of all last season at Denver University, struggling to stay healthy in the college ranks, and needs at least a year in the minors to continue to develop and show that he can play against bigger, stronger players and most importantly show his body can stay healthy in the professional ranks. It would be a surprise if he earned a full-time role before 2013-2014 season.
Scouting Report: – Bennett is the most gifted player in the Penguins system possessing excellent offensive skills and shines at playing with skilled players.
Strengths/Weaknesses: Has great hands and playmaking ability
– A creative player who with excellent vision uses his linemates really well and looks to get everyone on the ice involved
– Has an accurate shot and can pick corners well and is impressive with his ability to keep his head up when shooting which is a knock on younger players.
– Once he learns to consistently get to the right areas, he could start reaching his goal scoring potential.
— Has the skill set where he has that “wow” factor in 1-on-1 plays but from a negative standpoint, gets caught too many times trying to play pond hockey in making that extra move that won’t work at the NHL level.
– What to watch for in the AHL is that he lacks consistency in tight physical games and scouts contend he can be taken out of a game easily, especially in physical situations.
— Bennett doesn’t have great or explosive as that’s an area he must improve in the AHL
Potential – Has upside of being a top-6 winger and major factor on the power play but has shortcomings in his overall game and must mature as a player (get away from pickup type hockey) and become more of a factor in physical type games
Brian Dumuolin– Age 20
Born: 9-6-1991, Biddeford, ME
Height: 6-4 Weight: 219 lbs
Position: Defense Shoots: L
2009 2nd round pick CAR (Acquired in trade with Carolina)
2011-2012 Team: Boston College
2011-2012 Stats: 44 GP – 7 G – 21 A – 28 Pts
2012-2013 Outlook: Dumuolin left school after his junior season with the idea of playing in the NHL next season with the Carolina Hurricanes as Hurricanes brass believed he could come in and compete for an NHL job in 2012-2013. Being traded to Pittsburgh, Dumuolin is now destined to spend likely the entire 2012-2013 season in the AHL. Pittsburgh’s defensive system is very similar to the system employed in Boston College, so many are expecting a quick transition for Dumuolin from the AHL to the NHL.
Scouting Report: Scouts have raved about Dumuolin with one scout telling me after the draft that Dumuolin was the second best defenseman Pittsburgh acquired draft weekend, behind Olli Maatta and that’s not a knock on Derrick Pouliot, the No. 8 overall pick, the scout said. He’s a strong skater for a player with his size and has good on-ice awareness. With Pittsburgh emphazing their defenseman being able to move the puck, Dumuolin won’t be a liability by any means in that area as Dumuolin has good offensive instincts. Defensively has the type of size the Penguins lack and he picks his spots well from a physical standpoint as he’s gradually developed a physical game.
Potential – No. 4/No. 5 defenseman
 Tom Kuhnhackl Age 20
Born:01-21-1992 – Landshut, Germany
Height: 6 – 2 Weight: 191 lbs
Position: Left Wing Shoots: L
2010 4th round draft pick
2011-2012 Team: Niagra Ice Dogs (OHL)
2011-2012 Stats: 34 GP | 8 Goals – 21 Assists – 29 Pts +14 rating | 35 PIM
2012-2013 Outlook: Kuhnhackl will join the Penguins organization and appears ticketed for Wilkes Barre where he will spend at least a full season in the minors. With a well rounded game and offensive upside, the Penguins could have an infusion of two top-9 forwards in Kuhnhackl and Bennett as regulars in the lineup at the NHL level by start of the 2014-2015 season
Scouting Report: Is a potential proto-typical power forward with goal scoring potential
Strengths/Weaknesses: – Scored 39 goals in his first season in North America and has some upside as a goal scorer.
– Has a quick shot with a lot of velocity
– Kuhnhackl possesses power forward attributes, once his body feels out. Has a strong power move when driving to the net from the outside.
– Is versatile at wing and can play both sides easily
– Scouts say Kuhnhackl has made improvements in the puck distributing department and is not one dimensional offensively
– What’s impressive about Kuhnhackl’s overall game is that he has a strong understanding of defensive zone play and is excellent on the boards at getting the puck out of danger
– Biggest weakness in Kunhackl’s game is his skating and his body still has a ways to go in developing into a power forward type player
Potential – Low End Top 6 forward/ High End Third Liner
 16. Keven Veilleux Age 22
Born: 6-27-1989, Canada
Height: 6-5 Weight: 218 lbs
Position: Center Shoots: R
2007 2nd round pick
2011-2012 Team: Wilkes Barre/Scranton Penguins (AHL)
2011-2012 Stats: N/A
2012-2013 Outlook: Healthy? That’s the big question mark surrounding the Penguins 2007 second round pick who just can’t stay healthy since turning pro. In 2009-2010, Veilleux had season ending surgery in November, followed by missing 14 games in 2010-2011 to not playing last season after suffering a major knee injury in a preseason game, leading to knee surgery that ended Veilleux’s season with a recovery time of over six months. Veilleux who agreed to a one year deal, is entering a crucial season when it comes to his career with the Penguins. If he can stay healthy and max out his potential, he’s a strong candidate to push for NHL duty by 2013-2014 season or become a trade chip.
Scouting Report: Has the size, skill and smarts where the Penguins a few years ago envisioned Veilleux being able to push for an NHL role by now. His development is now behind due to injuries but the skill is there where it’s too early to write off the soon to be 23 year old. Veilleux has offensive ability, and plays a powerful, north-south style of hockey that is simple and effective, to make up for his foot speed. If he can ever get it together, Veilleux has all the tools to be a strong two-way centerman at the NHL level. The Penguins though may still have plans to develop Veilleux on the wing. If he could stay healthy, Veilleux would be higher on this list.
Potential – No. 3 Center/Top-9 winger
22. Alex Grant€“ Age 23
Born: 1-20-1989, Antigonish, Canada
Height: 6-2 Weight: 185 lbs
Position: Defense Shoots: R
2007 4th round pick
2011-2012 Team: Wilkes Barre/Scranton Penguins (AHL)
2011-2012 Stats: 61 GP – 10 G – 27 A – 37 Pts | +5 rating – 73 PIM
2012-2013 Outlook: Grant found his way into the lineup, mostly as a regular last season with the Baby Pens. He led all defensemen with 10 goals, 37 points and 7 power play goals. With a number of defensemen ready to graduate to the NHL ranks, Grant projects to play a top-2 pairing role next season. At 23, he could be pushing for NHL action in a year or two but likely won’t be in Pittsburgh.
Scouting Report: Grant is another offensive puck moving defenseman in the Penguins system. Has a hard shot from the point and his defensive game is starting to come around, making big strides last season.
Potential– Offensive Defensemen
 Zach Sill Age 24
Born: 5-24-1988, Truro, Canada
Height: 6-0 Weight: 200 lbs
Position: Forward Shoots: L
2011-2012 Team: Wilkes Barre/Scranton Penguins (AHL)
2011-2012 Stats: 68 GP – 10 G – 7 A – 17 Pts | -1 rating – 40 PIM
2012-2013 Outlook: Sill is a player who appears stuck in the minors but reminds some members of the Penguins organization of Joe Vitale and could surprise some in training camp and make a surprise run for a roster spot in a year or two
Scouting Report: A tenacious player who fits the stereotype of a grinder. Strong on the forecheck using his speed and there’s rarely a time he doesn’t finish his checks. Uses his speed to the outside very well and has some offensive ability and a lot of attributes that the Penguins seek out of their role players. In Wilkes Barre has played a third line shutdown role for almost two years now, which enhances his value. He has the look of a possible NHL player if he can find the right situation
Potential – Two-way Role Player

PROJECTED NHL TIMETABLE: 2-3 YEARS (2014-2015, 2015-2016)

11. Nick D’Agostino Age 21
Born:6-24-1990, Missisaga, Ontario
Height: 6-2 Weight: 197 lbs
Position: Defense | Shoots: L
2008 7th round draft pick
2011-2012 Team Cornell University (Junior)
2011-2012 Stats 32 GP | 8 Goals – 12 Assists – 20 Points +3 rating | 24 PIM
2012-2013 Outlook: Nick D’agostino will return to Cornell this fall for his senior season. D’Agostino had 8 goals and 12 assists in 32 games played in 2011-2012 for Cornell. A factor on the power play, D’agostino had 6 power play goals, 11 power play points and 5 game winning goals for Cornell. The earliest timetable for D’agostino is likely 2014-2015 with him spending 2012-2013 at Cornell, followed by at least a season (2013-2014) in Wilkes Barre.
Scouting Report: A high upside puck moving defenseman with good offensive instincts who is effective at joining the rush
Strengths/Weaknesses: Has some Alex Goligoski traits with his skating and puck moving ability
– Has gradually improved his poise with the puck in his three years at Cornell, according to scouts
– D’agostino excels on the power play where he led Cornell in power play points and goals.
While he has high upside offensively, D’agostino is improving defensively and is effective at using his long reach and getting his stick in passing lanes
Potential – No. 3 pairing puck moving defensemen
Kenny Agostino€“ Age 20
Born: 04-30-1992, Flanders, New Jersey
Height: 6-1 Weight: 200 lbs
Position: LW Shoots: L
2010 5th Round Draft Pick
2011-2012 Team: Yale University (sophomore)
2011-2012 Stats: 33 GP | 14 Goals – 20 Assists – 34 Points | +10 rating | 32 PIM
2012-2013 Outlook: Agostino will return to school next fall for his junior season and it’s very likely that the Penguins will try to get him to turn pro after his junior season. He flashed NHL potential at the Penguins development camp and has the ability where he could develop into an NHL ready player by the 2014-2015 season, assuming he turns pro after this season.
Scouting Report: A player who shows a great commitment to his two-way game and impacts the game offensively. Got great experience with Team USA last summer
Strengths/Weaknesses: Smart two way player who shows emphasis on being effective in all three zones
– Has slick hands and scouts praise his vision and offensive ability to pick his spots. Doesn’t rush things when in command of the puck and waits for the play to develop
– Is good skater, quick and agile
– Not a physical player but goes to the tough areas, winning battles in the corners and establishing a front-net presence.
Potential – 3rd line role player with offensive upside
Dominik Uher Age 19
Born:12-31-1992, Frydek-Mistek, CZE.
Height: 6-0 Weight: 195 lbs
Position: Center Shoots: L
2011 5th round draft pick
2011-2012 Team: Spokane Chiefs (WHL) Freshman
2011-2012 Stats:: 63 GP | 33 Goals – 35 assists – 68 points +29 rating | 60 PIM
2012-2013 Outlook: Uher joined the Penguins organization in spring and should earn a regular top-9 role next season with the Baby Pens. Would not be surprised if he’s kicking on the NHL door by the 2014-2015 season.
Scouting Report: A fast rising prospect who brings a lot to the table. Regarded as a “strong two-way player”, Uher has speed, a high motor, and offensive upside, especially in the offensive department to go along with his defensive instincts that has many believing he could emerge as one of the Penguins best forward prospects in the next year or two. Just 19 years old, he’s likely to spend a couple seasons in the minors.
Philip Samuelsson Age 20
Born: 07-26-1991
Height: 6-2 Weight: 200 lbs
Position: Defense Shoots: L
2009 2nd round draft pick
2011-2012 Team: Wilkes Barre Scranton (AHL)
2011-2012 Stats: 46 GP | 1 Goal – 8 Assists – 9 Points + 4 rating | 26 PIM
2012-2013 Outlook: Samuelsson the Penguins 2nd round pick in 2009, remains a project and is nowhere near close to pushing for NHL duty. He is still just 20 years old and remains a hard read at this point. Samuelsson was in and out of the Baby Pens lineup last season and he would be entering his senior season at Boston College if he were to have stayed in school.
Scouting Report: Samuelsson is not a physically imposing defenseman like his father Ulf was, but he plays a sound defensive game within the team’s structure and knows what he’s good at and what he’s not.
Strengths/Weaknesses: Has a very good stick and anticipates the play well.
– Gets his stick in passing lanes and frustrates players in front of the net by being aggressive with his stick within the rules. He’s not scared to give the opposition a hard whack with his stick
— Was an excellent penalty killer in the college ranks
– Skating is a major issue and the one question mark that could keep him from being a regular NHLer. He’s made improvements though and is much more fluid in the skating department. It’s an area the Penguins are working with him on.
– His anticipation though is very good and in 1-on-1 situations when he gets a good angle, he has the ability to lock down on the incoming player and is difficult to beat. If he doesn’t get a good angle, he can easily get beat to the outside as he doesn’t have great footwork.
– In the transition game he moves the puck well for a defensive defenseman
Potential– Bottom pairing defensemen
Ben Hanowski Age 21
Born: 10-18-1990, Little Falls, MN, USA
Height: 6-2 Weight: 200 lbs
Position: RW Shoots: L
2009 3rd round draft pick
2011-2012 Team: St. Cloud State (NCAA), Junior
2011-2012 Stats: 36 GP | 20 Goals – 19 Assists – 39 Points |
2012-2013 Outlook: Hanowski will return for his senior season next fall. Hanowski had a rebound year, leading the team in goals, points and power play goals. Hawnowski is another college senior in the Penguins system where the earliest timetable for an NHL role would likely be 2014-2015.
Scouting Report: Hanowski had a prolific high school hockey career scoring 73 goals and 135 points (73-62-135) in 31 games, for Little Falls (2008-2009) during his senior season. However, as expected, he’s been a prospect who’s taken time to develop in the college ranks. In his third collegiate season, Hanowski finally emerged as a top scoring prospect in the Penguins system.
Strengths/Weaknesses: Above average puck skills, goal scoring ability
– Has a knack for scoring goals
– Elusive when a defender is closing on him
– Good at moving the puck in tight and gets the puck off his stick quickly
– Smart two way player, high hockey IQ, hockey sense
– Captain at SCSU, Hard worker, student of the game
– Not a strong skater by any means, lacks breakaway speed but has quick feet
Potential – Top-9 forward but his speed could hold him back.
Paul Thompson Age 23
Born: Nov 30, 1988 Methuen, NH.
Height: 6-1 Weight: 205 lbs
Position: Forward Shoots: R
2011-2012 Team: Wilkes Barre/Scranton Penguins (AHL)
2011-2012 Stats: 67 GP | 10 Goals  15 assists  25 points -1 rating | 37 PIM
2012-2013 Outlook: Thompson will be penciled in for Wilkes Barre next season after a solid but not spectacular season. What to watch with Thompson is whether he takes that next step offensively in his second professional season. He scored 52 points in 29 games, including 29 goals in his final college season in 2010-2011
Scouting Report:When Pittsburgh signed Thompson, they felt the NHL potential is there, and he has some offensive tools, possessing an accurate hard shot to go along with good vision and strong hockey sense. Offensively he provides a good mix of goal scoring potential and playmaking ability but he also brings a two-way game to the table which helps his NHL prospects down the road.
Potential – Top 9 forward

PROJECTED NHL TIMETABLE: 3-4 YEARS (2015-2016, 2016-2017)

 Olli Maatta Age 17
Born: 8-22-1994, Jyvaskyla, Finland ,
Height: 6-2 Weight: 206 lbs
Position: Defense Shoots: L
2012 1st round pick
2011-2012 Team: London Knights OHL
2011-2012 Stats (WBS): 58 GP | 5 Goals – 27 Assists – 32 Points |
2012-2013 Outlook: Maatta just 17 years old, will return to juniors and play for the London Knights next season. Maatta is likely a good three years away from pushing for NHL action and bet here is that he doesn’t earn a full time role for at least four years.
Scouting Report: In the mold of a Scott Harrington, Maatta plays a rock solid two-way game and is a player the Penguins had rated as a top-15 player on the board. “Penguins definitely got a steal where they got him, ” Harrington a teammate of Maatta in London said last week at the Penguins development camp. “I definitely thought he’d go top 10 for sure. He’s just an all-around two-way defenseman.” Like Harrington, there’s nothing real flashy about Maatta’s game but he plays with a lot of poise and confidence who can play in all situations……… Maatta has a strong hockey IQ and what’s so intriguing about Maatta’s upside is that he already has great size at 6-2, 206 lbs.
Potential– Top-4 defensive defenseman who can play all situations
 Derrick Pouliot Age 18
Born: 1-16-1994 – Weyburn, SASK
Height: 5-11 Weight: 195 lbs
Position: D Shoots: Left
2012 1st round pick
2011-2012 Team: Portland WHL
2011-2012 Stats: 72 GP | 11 Goals - 48 Assists - 59 Points |
2012-2013 season Outlook: Pouliot is destined to return to juniors in Portland for 2012-2013 season and join the Penguins organization for the 2013-2014 season. Pouliot is a good bet to be at least three years away from the NHL as he needs to get stronger.
Scouting Report: A strong puck possession defenseman, Pouliot has excellent vision and passing ability on the breakout……See’s the play before it unfolds and has power play QB written all over him….Has good skating ability but he’s not a dynamic skater….Pouliot though has great quickness and escape ability when eluding an incoming forechecker…….Needs to gain more upper body strength as he can be overmatched physically at times…..Makes up for lack of size with good positioning and ability to read the play……
Teddy Blueger Age 17
Born: 8-15-1994 Riga, Latvia
Height: 6-1 Weight: 183 lbs
Position: Center Shoots: L
2011-2012 Team: Shattuck St. Mary’s
2011-2012 Stats: | 51 GP – 24 G – 64 A – 88 Pts |
2012-2013 Outlook: Blueger is attending Minnesota State University for his freshman season in 2012-2013. He figures to spend at least two seasons in college before turning pro. Blueger is probably around four years away from NHL but with his skill set, it could end up being a short stay in the minors once he turns pro.
Scouting Report: Blueger is widely regarded as the second most skilled player in the Penguins system behind Beau Bennett. Has excellent vision and dynamic passing ability…..See’s the ice very well and doesn’t rush things as he waits for the play develop…..One improvement in his game will be improving his quickness and bulking up before he turns pro.
Potential – Top 6 skilled forward
Potential – Top-4 Offensive defenseman
Josh Archibald€“ Age 19
Born: 10-6-1992, Regina, Canada.
Height: 5-10 Weight: 183 lbs
Position: Forward Shoots: R
2011 6th round pick
2011-2012 Team: Nebraska Omaha (NCAA), Freshman
2011-2012 Stats:: 34 GP | 10 Goals – 5 assists – 15 points +5 rating | 8 PIM
2012-2013 Outlook: Will be returning to school, looking to build off of his freshman year. Assuming Archibald spends at least two more seasons in college, we’re looking at 2015-2016 as a best case scenario for a projected NHL timetable.
Scouting Report:A tremendous skater who has a hard worker mentality fitting the Penguins mold of a role player. Archibald made Team USA’s World Championship team this past December.
Strengths/Weaknesses In addition to often being the best skaters on the ice, Archibald has good offensive instincts and the ability to produce offensively with 10 goals so far this season as a freshman.
– Reminds scouts of a Joe Vitale on the forecheck but has much a higher offensive upside
– Is tenacious and battles hard for pucks
– Is a coachable player but needs to learn better defensive zone play and that should come in his upcoming collegiate seasons
Bulking up will be key before he turns pro
Potential – Potential late round gem, Role player….Fast rising prospect…
Reid McNeill Age 20
Born: 4-29-1992, London, Ontario
Height: 6-2 Weight: 204 lbs
Position: Defense Shoots: L
2010 6th round pick
2011-2012 Team: Barrie Colts, OHL
2011-2012 Stats: 51 GP – 3 G – 9 A – 12 Pts | +9 rating – 60 PIM
2012-2013 Outlook: McNeill signed an entry level contract and will be joining the Penguins organization in 2012-2013.
Scouting Report: McNeill has some Scott Harrington traits in his ability to play a shutdown role at the OHL level, but also provide mobility and the ability to move the puck up quickly in the transition game…….. He played with Harrington a lot in London in 2010-2011, prior to being traded to Barrie, and has learned the right way to play defense under Dale Hunter in the junior ranks. Word from scouts is that McNeill has developed a physical edge to his game to go with his steady defensive minded play………What stood out with McNeill at the Penguins development camp is his ability to read the play as he’s been coached extremely well……
Potential– Defensive minded defenseman.
 Alex Velischek€“ Age 21
Born: 12-17-1990, Quebec City, Canada
Height: 6-0 Weight: 200 lbs
Position: D Shoots: L
2010 5th round pick
2011-2012 Team: Providence (junior)
2011-2012 Stats: 31 GP – 0 G – 7 A – 7 Pts | +2 rating – 18 PIM
2012-2013 Outlook: Velischek will return to school next fall for his senior season. He figures to spend at least a couple seasons in the minors after that.
Scouting Report: The son of former NHL player Randy Velischek, Alex is a totally different player than his dad. A very strong skater, Velischek plays a defensive minded game with little to no physicality, compared to his dad who was a banger with the Devils. Alex is more of a defenseman who relies on positioning and using his longstick.
Potential– Defensive minded defenseman with good skating ability


  Oscar Sundvist Age 18
Born: 3-23-1994, Boden Sweden
Height: 6-3 Weight: 183 lbs
Position: Center | Shoots: R
2012 3rd round pick
2011-2012 Team: Skelleftea Jr. (SWE-JR)
2011-2012 Stats: 43 GP – 26 G – 35 A – 61 Pts – 132 PIM
2012-2013 Outlook: Sundvist will return to Europe for the 2012-2013 season and while it remains to be seen when he comes over to North America, Sundvist is believed to have a strong interest in coming over to North America at somepoint.
Scouting Report: Sundvist tallied 26 goals and 35 assists for 61 points  and racked up 132 penalty minutes in 43 games with Skelleftea. He’s regarded as a two-way centerman with high offensive upside. He’s a big player who skates well and plays hard, not fitting the typical scouting report of Europeans. Sundvist hands in around the net, in addition to the ability to finish stood out during development camp.
Potential Top-9 Forward
Scott Wilson€“ Age 20
Born:4-24-1992, Oakville, Ont.
Height: 5-11 Weight: 184 lbs
Position: Forward Shoots: L
2011 7th round draft pick
2011-2012 Team: UMass Lowell (NCAA), Freshman
2011-2012 Stats:: 35 GP | 16 Goals – 21 assists – 37 points +14 rating | 26 PIM
2012-2013 Outlook: Wilson is among the fastest rising prospects in the system but he’s still not a good read on his NHL potential. Had an excellent freshman season at UMass Lowell and will be returning to school for his sophomore season and figures to spend at least two more seasons in college. The earliest I would project his NHL timetable is 2016-2017
Scouting Report: Wilson is widely regarded as an all-around player who can do it all. “Speed, tenacious, good skills, plays hard and in your face. He’s a power play, penalty kill guy, good around. He’s tenacious and he comes to you, ” Randy Sexton director of amateur scouting said about Wilson a while back. That evaluation is spot on about Wilson who’s also regarded as having elite hockey sense and being very intelligent with the puck.
Anton Zlobin€“ Age 19
Born: 2-22-1993, Moscow, Russia
Height: 5-11 Weight: 189 lbs
Position: RW | Shoots: R
2012 6th round pick
2011-2012 Team: Shawnigian QMJHL
2011-2012 Stats: 66 GP – 40 G – 36 A – 76 Pts
2012-2013 Outlook: Zlobin will be returning to juniors for 2012-2013 season
Scouting Report: Skill wise, he has top-6 potential, with slick hands in tight and a dangerous shot. He’s skating is not great and most concerning about him is that he’s known not to battle for loose battles and play hard at a consistent level. In development camp, he often seemed a step behind the play.
Matia Marcantuoni€“ Age 18
Born: 8-24-1994 Woodbridge Canada
Height: 6-0 Weight: 197 lbs
Position: Forward Shoots: R
2012 4th round pick
2011-2012 Team: Kitchner OHL
2011-2012 Stats: | 24 GP – 9 G – 5 A – 14 Pts |
2012-2013 Outlook: Marcantuoni will return to juniors for the Kitchner Rangers of the Ontario Hockey League. He’s at least four years away from being NHL ready.
Scouting Report: One of the more skilled forwards in the Penguins system and he could earn some NHL consideration down the road. Has tremendous speed, can really fly and competes hard and can also make a skilled play. Has a lot of raw skills making him a potential steal in the 4th round pick but he has never produced consistently in the junior ranks. Overall game has a ways to develop.
Potential – Third line forward
Bryan Rust€“ Age 20
Born: 5-11-1992, Pontiac, MI
Height: 5-11 Weight: 202 lbs
Position: RW Shoots: R
2010 3rd round pick
2011-2012 Team:Notre Dame (sophomore)
2011-2012 Stats: 40 GP – 5 G – 6 A – 11 Pts | -2 rating – 14 PIM
2012-2013 Outlook: Rust will be returning to school for his junior season next fall and the Penguins are unlikely to ask him to turn pro after this upcoming season. The former third round pick is likely four years or more from reaching the NHL
Scouting Report: As a third round pick just two years ago, you would think Rust would be higher, but internally I hear Rust is pegged in the 15-20 range. He’s one of those players though the Penguins are drawn to in the draft as he’s a smart player who plays the game at both ends and regarded as having great hockey sense. He has some offensive ability but hasn’t produced in the college ranks. Rust has excellent speed and regarded as a deceptive playmaker. When coming out of the US National Development Program, he was viewed as a possible top-6 forward in Notre Dame but he hasn’t evolved into much of a points producer. After a solid freshman year with 6 goals and 19 points, Rust had just 11 points in 2011-2012.
Potential€“ Tough Role Player to play against
 Clark Seymour€“ Age 19
Born: 5-18-1993, Brockville, Canada
Height: 6-4 Weight: 202 lbs
Position: Defenseman | Shoots: R
2012 5th round pick
2011-2012 Team: Peterborough OHL
2011-2012 Stats: 47 GP – 0 G – 8 A – 8 Pts
2012-2013 Outlook: Seymour will be returning to juniors and is several years away from the NHL
Scouting Report: Seymour is a defensive minded defenseman who’s a thumper, playing a hard physical game……Why the Penguins really like him in addition to being a thumper is that he skates very well….
Potential – Physical defenseman
 Harrison Ruopp Age 19
Born: 3-19-1993, Zehner Canada
Height: 6-3 Weight: 204 lbs
Position: Defenseman | Shoots: R
2011 3rd round pick PHX (acquired from PHX)
2011-2012 Team: Prince Albert Raiders WHL
2011-2012 Stats: 62 GP2 G7 A – 9 Pts
2012-2013 Outlook: Ruopp will be returning to juniors for 2012-2013
Scouting Report: Talk of him being a highly touted prospect was extremely overrated when the Penguins acquired Ruopp……What he brings to the table is a physical game, ability to clear front of the net, other than that, not much….Was a minus-23 in regular season and minus-7 in six playoff games……
Potential – Physical defenseman

About The Author

William DePaoli

TIOPS Insider

William DePaoli is the President/Founder of Inside Pittsburgh Sports LLC and can be reached at

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