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Insider Only Prospects Buzz: Two Penguin prospect camp invitees among top undrafted college players coveted by NHL teams

PENS SUMMER CAMP INVITEES COVETED
Two college players, defenseman Andrej Sustr, Nebraska-Omaha university, and forward Antoine Laganiere, Yale, are among the highest coveted college players by NHL teams who are looking to dip into the college free agent pool this spring.

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How this relates to the Penguins is Sustr and Laganiere have been players of interest to the Penguins and both were invitees to the Penguins summer prospect camp this past July.
Sustr a towering defenseman at 6-foot-8, 227-pounds, is regarded by many scouts as the top potential college free agent available. He has 8 goals and 14 points in 33 games for Nebraska-Omaha. Laganiere who possesses excellent size at 6-foot-4, 215-pounds, has 12 goals and 24 points in 29 games for Yale. Last year he had 19 goals and 33 points in 35 games for Yale. Coaches love the pro body he has.
The Penguins have scouted both players quite often this season and over the last two seasons as the Penguins keep tabs on the development of 2011 6th round pick Josh Archibald of Nebraska-Omaha University a teammate of Sustr’s and Kenny Agostino of Yale, 2010 5th round pick, a teammate of Laganiere’s.
Sustr a defensive minded defensemen is coveted because of his size, but scouts have liked the progression of his offensive game, feeling he can be good enough in the puck moving game. Defensively he was excellent in the Penguins prospect camp in 1-on-1 situations.
What stands out with Laganiere is his skill set and he’s a good skater for a player his size. The Penguins are considering the possibility of making offers to both players but it’s unlikely they push forward to sign both when the the college seasons for Sustr and Laganiere are over.
Word in league circles is the Tampa Bay Lightning are viewed as the favorites by some to sign Sustr who is expected to receive multiple offers. The Canucks are expected to push hard to sign Laganiere.
For an organization that lacks NHL type forwards in their system, Laganiere is the more intriguing player for the Penguins to try to add to the organization.
The Penguins currently have 46 players that count against the max-50 contracts each organization has to abide by for every league year.
Among college draft choices, the Penguins have decisions to make if to sign seniors F Ben Hanowski, St. Cloud State, and defensemen Alex Velischek, Providence, Nick D’agostino, Cornell. It’s not a guarantee that all three are offered contracts.
There is also talk of the Penguins being interested to see if 2010 5th round pick Kenny Agostino, junior, is interested in turning pro. Agostino, the No. 9 rated prospect on our prospect rankings, is a rising prospect in the Penguins system.
As for the three seniors, Hanowski, the Penguins 3rd round pick in 2009, has 14 goals and 24 points for St. Cloud. After being a prolific goal scorer in high school, Hanowski’s ceiling is more of a third liner and he’s an excellent leader. He’s far from a lock of evolving into an NHL player but he should be a player the Penguins sign.
Velischek and D’agostino are different type of defensemen.

D’agostino, 2008 7th round pick, is a puck moving type of defenseman, but has really developed a strong defensive game. The Penguins like him but he’s going to be stuck behind a deep group of defensemen on the organizational depth chart if he signs.
The same for Velischek, 2009 5th round pick, who doesn’t bring much of an offensive game to the table with no goals and 6 points, but he plays his own end well. He thinks defense first. Velischek is a +17 on the season.

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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