Insider Only Rookie Tournament Buzz: Jeffrey getting rave reviews

Rookie Tournament Buzz
  • Word out of Penguins circles is that Dustin Jeffrey and Geoff Walker have been the two best players on the ice in the Penguins 2010 Rookie tournament. Zach Sill has also been a standout.
  •  Jeffrey who has three goals in the tournament, is doing what he has to do as some of the Penguins top personnel members have been in attendance.
  • This is the year the Penguins are expecting Jeffrey to make his mark in training camp. Questions though are still unanswered regarding how Jeffrey’s game will translate at the NHL level.
  • Walker, 22, is a big winger with good size (6-3, 225) has some intrigue about him. He’s putting himself in position to get an early opportunity in Wilkes Barre to earn a spot on one of the top three lines..
  • Defensively top prospect Simon Despres has been characterized as being “dominant at times” in the defensive zone but the player who has been the best overall defenseman I’m told is Brian Strait. His upside is not as high as Despres or Robert Bortuzzo but Strait is a guy that the team believes will have a long productive NHL career. One team source believes he’ll be NHL ready by January 2011.
  • Meanwhile, Bortuzzo who is widely regarded inside the organization as the Penguins No. 2 defenseman in their system behind Despres, is also projected to be NHL ready by the start of the 2011-2012 season.  With the Penguins locked in long-term with Paul Martin, Brooks Orpik, Zbynek Michalek, and Kris Letang, they are going to be pressed with an interesting scenario.
  • There is a sense that all three defenseman project to be impact defenseman in the immediate future with some optimism that Despres will develop into a No. 2 type of defenseman if his offensive skills come along. Strait has the makings of a reliable No. 4 or 5 defenseman at the NHL level, and is a tremendous leader and one of those players you win with.
  • A ton of intrigue also centers around the 6-foot-4, 211-pound Bortuzzo who some believe could develop into a No. 3 type of defenseman.
  • The injury to Alex Grant is a tough blow for the young defenseman who has gone through some growing pains since entering the professional ranks with the Penguins. Grant figures to battle for the final D-man spot in Wilkes Barre and needed a strong rookie tournament.

Blood Drive

PITTSBURGH — The Pittsburgh Penguins and the Central Blood Bank have once again teamed up to save lives this autumn.
The “Score One for Life” annual blood drive will take place at the CONSOL Energy Center Verizon Gate Lobby on Monday, September 20 from 10:00 am to 7:00 pm.
All registered donors will receive a commemorative Penguins t-shirt, have an opportunity to watch the Penguins practice session and be eligible to win team memorabilia.
Free parking will be available in the East Parking Lot across from CONSOL Energy Center on Centre Avenue.
Since 1992, the Pittsburgh Penguins have participated in this annual blood drive. The drive is scheduled for a time when blood donations typically drop to critically low levels. A long summer of low donation rates often culminates in a severe shortage of blood by September.
The blood drive is open to the public and every healthy adult over age 17 is eligible to donate.
For additional information on the “Score One for Life” blood drive or to make an appointment, contact the Central Blood Bank office at 1-866-366-6771.

2012 All Star Game

The Ottawa Senators have been awarded the 2012 NHL All Star game. An announcement from the league will be made on Wednesday afternoon. Ottawa hosting the game has been in the works for almost two years now.
The Penguins made a bid for the 2011 All Star game and were also interested in the 2012 game. The Penguins have not hosted the game since 1990.

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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