LATEST WBS BUZZ
The Wilkes Barre/Scranton Penguins on Monday assigned Goaltender Patrick Killeen, defenseman Reid McNeill and forwards Cody Chupp, Tom Kuhnhackl, Adam Payerl, Dominik Uher and Scott Zurevinski to the Wheeling Nailers of the ECHL.
The two notable names here were Tom Kuhnhackl and Dominik Uher, two promising forwards in the Penguins system. Kuhnhackl who we have rated as the Penguins 10th best prospect and No. 3 rated forward in their system, is one of the few forwards in the Penguins system with top-6 potential.
The Penguins brass I’m told had hoped Kuhnhackl would enter camp and push for a top-9 spot in Wilkes Barre right off the bat, but according to multiple observers, it became pretty evident early on in camp that wasn’t going to happen. One area he has to improve is his skating I’m told and he didn’t make a strong impression like other young players in camp did, notably Jason Megna..
Of the two, there was more of a feeling that Uher could nab one of the final forward spots but Penguin management puts a strong emphasis on putting the most competitive team they can on the ice, which leads to AHL vets taking spots over younger guys who get pushed to the ECHL. Uher, according to sources, should be playing in the AHL but what sending the likes of Kuhnhackl, Payerl and Uher to Wheeling now does is give them top minutes and key situations when ECHL play begins, instead of bouncing in and out of the lineup in Wilkes Barre.
Wilkes Barre has 14 forwards (Tangradi, Smith, Ferriero, Bennett, Megna, Dupuis, Peters, Gibbons, Holzapfel, Thompson, Sill, MacIntyre, Veilleux INJ, Manderson INJ), 10 defensemen (Strait, Bortuzzo, Despres, Dumoulin, Morrow, Reese, Grant, Sneep, Samuelsson, Mormina), and 2 goaltenders (Thiessen, Zatkoff) still on the roster leading into Saturday’s Regular Season opener.
Wilkes Barre has an excellent group of defensemen and not surprising Strait, Bortuzzo, Reese, Despres, Dumoulin, Grant, Morrow and Sneep have emerged as the top-8 but the position I’m interested to see play out is between the pipes as Penguin management believes Jeff Zatkoff has a good shot of winning the No. 1 goaltending job from Brad Thiessen who had a rocky 2011-2012 season.
— The Penguins had defenseman Olli Maatta rated as a top-15 prospect going into the 2012 entry draft and what scouts are raving about is Maatta’s continued development in two key areas offensively:
Moving the puck up in the transition game and jumping up in the play. Those areas of his game have become an asset to go with his size at 6-2, 205 lbs and workman like approach. The big upside with Maatta is as a shutdown defenseman but when he reaches the Penguins organization, he’s not going to be a one dimensional defenseman.
— One observer who has seen Scott Harrington play twice this season, tells me the one knock on Harrington’s game is that he can be pushed around a bit in front of the net and must get physically stronger. Harrington is regarded by some as the most complete defenseman in the Penguins system.
Who’s Hot: Center Oscar Sundqvist – Has 9 goals and 17 points in 12 games for Skellefteå J20 | Goaltender Matthew Murray – Has opened the season for Sault Ste. Marie (OHL), 5-2-0 with a 3.70 GAA and .908 sv%. | Who’s Not: Forward Matia Marcantuoni – Pointless in six games for the Kitchener Rangers, posting a stat line of 0 goals – 0 assists – 0 points and minus-2 rating.
OCTOBER PROSPECT RANKINGS (Top-35)
1. D Joe Morrow | Wilkes Barre/Scranton | 2011 1st rd pick |
2. D Simon Despres | Wilkes Barre/Scranton | 2009 1st rd pick |
3. D Scott Harrington | London Knights | 2011 2nd rd pick | 6 GP – 0 G – 3 A – 3 Pts – +6 – 2 PIM |
4. D Olli Maatta | London Knights | 2012 1st rd pick | 6 GP – 0 G – 3 A – 3 Pts – +2 – 4 PIM |
5. D Derrick Pouliot | Portland Winterhawks | 2012 1st rd pick | 7 GP – 3 G – 3 A – 6 Pts – +1 – 4 PIM |
6. RW Beau Bennett | Wilkes Barre/Scranton| 2010 1st rd pick |
7. D Brian Dumoulin | Wilkes Barre/Scranton | Acq from CAR |
8. C Teddy Blueger | Minnesota State | 2012 2nd rd pick |
9. D Robert Bortuzzo | Wilkes Barre/Scranton| 2007 3rd round pick |
10. LW Tom Kuhnhackl | Wilkes Barre/Scranton | 2010 4th round pick |
11. D Nick D’agostino | Cornell | 2008 7th rd pick |
12. F Kenny Agostino | Yale | 2010 5th rd pick |
13. F Dominik Uher | Wilkes Barre/Scranton | 2011 5th rd pick |
14. D Carl Sneep | Wilkes Barre/Scranton | 2006 2nd rd pick |
15. D Philip Samuelsson | Wilkes Barre/Scranton| 2009 2nd rd pick |
16. F Keven Veilleux | Wilkes Barre/Scranton| 2007 2nd rd pick |
17. C Oscar Sundqvist | Skellefteå J20 | 2012 3rd rd pick | 12 GP – 9 G – 8 A – 17 Pts – 10 PIM – +9
18. LW Ben Hanowski | St. Cloud State | 2009 3rd rd pick |
19. F Josh Archibald | Nebraska-Omaha| 2011 6th rd pick |
20. LW Scott Wilson | UMass-Lowell |2011 7th rd pick |
21. RW Matia Marcantuoni | Kitchener Rangers | 2012 4th rd pick | 6 GP – 0 G – 0 A – 0 Pts – -2 – 6 PIM |
22. RW Anton Zlobin | Val-d’Or | 2012 6th rd pick | 7 GP – 3 G – 2 A – 5 Pts – -1 – 4 PIM |
23. D Alex Grant | Wilkes Barre/Scranton | 2007 4th rd pick |
24. F Jason Megna | Wilkes Barre/Scranton | UDFA |
25. D Reid McNeill | Wilkes Barre/Scranton | 2010 6th rd pick |
26. G Matthew Murray | Sault Ste. Marie | 2012 3rd rd pick | 5-2-0, 3.70 GAA, .908 SV% |
27. C Zach Sill | Wilkes Barre/Scranton |UDFA |
28. D Alex Velischek | Providence College | 2009 5th rd pick |
29. RW Paul Thompson | Wilkes Barre/Scranton | UDFA |
30. F Brian Gibbons | Wilkes Barre/Scranton | UDFA
31. RW Adam Payerl | Wilkes Barre/Scranton | UDFA |
32. F Bryan Rust | Notre Dame | 2010 3rd rd pick |
33. D Clark Seymour | Peterborough Petes | 2012 5th rd pick | 5 GP – 1 G – 2 A – 3 Pts – -2 – 11 PIM
34. D Harrison Ruopp | Prince Albert Raiders | acq from PHX | 7 GP – 0 G – 0 A – 0 Pts +4 – 11 PIM |
35. G Sean MaGuire | Boston University | 2012 4th rd pick |