Insider Only Prospect Watch: D’agostino, Wilson among Pens rising prospects in NCAA hockey tournament Field of 16

The NCAA hockey tournament begins this weekend and the Penguins feature three notable prospects who’s teams will take part in the 16-team tournment; Beau Bennett of Denver, Nick D’Agostino of Cornell and Scott Wilson of UMass Lowell
Here are some details on tournament:
In the NCAA Midwest Regional in Green Bay, Wis., No. 3 seed Denver will play No. 2 seed Ferris State on Friday, March 23. Joining the Pioneers (25-13-4) and Bulldogs (23-11-5) at the Midwest Regional are No. 1 seed Michigan (24-12-4) and No. 4 seed Cornell (18-8-7). The Wolverines and Big Red meet Friday at 9 p.m. Both games will be televised live on ESPN Syndication and ESPN3.com.
The winners of the regional semifinal match-ups will faceoff on Saturday, March 24 at 9 p.m. in the regional title game, which will be televised live on ESPNU/ESPN3.com. The regional final champion will advance to the 2012 NCAA Frozen Four, which is slated for April 5 and 7 at Tampa Bay Times Forum in Tampa, Fla.
The winner of the Midwest Regional will take on the winner of the East Regional, which runs March 23-24 in Bridgeport, Conn. In the West Regional, No. 1 seed Union (24-7-7) meets No. 4 seed Michigan State (19-15-4), and No. 2 seed Miami (24-14-2) plays No. 3 UMass Lowell (23-12-1).
No. 1 overall seed Boston College (29-10-1) meets No. 4 seed Air Force (21-10-7), and No. 2 seed Minnesota Duluth (24-9-6) plays No. 3 seed Maine (23-13-3) at the Northeast Regional in Worcester, Mass., on March 24-25.
In the West Regional on March 24-25, North Dakota (25-12-3) holds the No. 1 seed, while No. 2 seed Minnesota (26-13-1), No. 3 seed Boston University (23-14-1) and No. 4 seed Western Michigan (21-13-6) round out the bracket.

Prospect Watch

TIOPS No 4 Rated Prospect Beau Bennett – Age 20

Born 11-27-1991 – Gardena, Calif.
Height: 6-1 Weight: 198 lbs
Position: Right Wing Shoots: Right
2010 1st round draft pick
Estimated Arrival: TBD
Current Team: Denver University, Sophomore
2011-2012 Stats: 10 GP | 4 Goals – 9 Assists – 13 Points + 3 rating | 5 PIM
Prospect Report: – It’s pretty much been a lost season for the Penguins first round pick. Bennett had surgery on December 8th to repair a ruptured tendon in his wrist that he originally injured during practice in October. Bennett has yet to return to the lineup since the December surgery. Coming into this season, there were strong indications that Bennett would likely turn pro following this year but that might be on hold now. Some Season Notes on Bennett: He has recorded 13 points on four goals and nine assists • scored a power-play goal in 3-3 overtime tie vs. Nebraska Omaha (11/19) • recorded five points (2g, 3a) in a four-game point streak from Nov. 12-25 • has committed seven penalties for 25 PIMs..
Scouting Report: – Bennett is the most gifted player in the Penguins system possessing high-end offensive skills and shines at playing with skilled players.
Strengths/Weaknesses: Has great hands and playmaking ability
– A creative player who with excellent vision who uses his linemates really well and looks to get everyone on the ice involved
– While he’s a great playmaker, Bennett has a quick release and gets himself open and to the right areas which has scouts very intrigued about his goal scoring potential.
– Can pick corners extremely well and is impressive with his ability to keep his head up when shooting which is a knock on younger players
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 make the fancy 1-on-1 play that won’t work at the NHL level.
– Lacks consistency in tight physical games and scouts contend he can be taken out of a game easily, especially in physical situations
– Has gained over 20 pounds since being drafted by the Penguins and has to continue to bulk up for when he makes the jump to the professional ranks. The Penguins would like him around 210-212 going into next season.
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 hockey) and become more of a factor in physical type games

TIOPS No 7. Rated Prospect: Nick D’Agostino – Age 21

Born: 11-5-1987, Bolton, Ontario
Height: 6-2 Weight: 185lbs
Position: Defense | Shoots: L
2008 7th round draft pick
Current Team: Cornell University (Junior)
2011-2012 Stats 32 GP | 8 Goals – 12 Assists – 20 Points +3 rating | 24 PIM
Prospect Report: D’agostino leads Cornell with 6 power play goals, and 5 game winning goals. Next Game 3/23 vs Michigan University vs Cornell (18-8-7). The Wolverines and Big Red meet Friday at 9 p.m. The game will be televised live on ESPN Syndication and ESPN3.com
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 leads Cornell in power play points and goals.
While he has high upside offensively, D’agostino is sound defensively and effective at using his long reach and getting his stick in passing lanes

TIOPS No. 12 Rated Prospect Scott Wilson– Age 19

Born: 4-24-1992, Oakville, Ont.
Height: 6-0 Weight: 173 lbs
Position: Forward Shoots: L
2011 7th round draft pick
Current Team: UMass Lowell (NCAA), Freshman
2011-2012 Stats:: 35 GP | 16 Goals – 21 assists – 37 points +14 rating | 26 PIM
Prospect Report: The surprise of the year for Penguin prospects has been Scott Wilson, the team’s 7th round pick in 2011 who’s been regarded by those close to the school as a freshman phenom in his rookie year at UMass Lowell. Wilson who took home Hockey East rookie of the year honors this week, has 37 points in 35 games played this season. Next Game: 3/23 UMass Lowell vs. Miami (OH) at 6:30 p.m.
Scouting Report: Wilson is a tenacious player who comes at you but has an intriguing skill set, highlighted by excellent speed. What he’s shown at UMass Lowell is that he’s an all around player who can make an impact in all areas from the power play to the penalty kill.

About The Author

William DePaoli

TIOPS Insider

William DePaoli is the President/Founder of Inside Pittsburgh Sports LLC and can be reached at wdepaoli@insidepittsburghsports.com

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