Where evaluators got it wrong on Pouliot, Latest Trade Chatter & More Buzz


Pouliot was Badly mis-judged by Evaluators Scouts often miss and the Penguins obsession back in the Ray Shero era of drafting puck moving defenseman saw Pittsburgh not only take Derrick Pouliot 8th overall in the 2012 draft, but the team mis-calculated so bad on Pouliot, the organization had him rated No. 4 on their board. “That was a funky draft coming in,” a 20+ year scout tells TIOPS. “Prospects were [rated] all over the map……Derrick sure looked like a safe pick [at the time] because you can coach a player up to become a better defensive player, but you can’t teach high-level puck skills. He had it” The stunner to many in the Penguins organization regarding Pouliot is that the offensive prowess he possessed in juniors and elite puck moving ability that wowed the Penguins amateur scouts never materialized once he turned pro. At worst the Penguins four to fiveRead More »

Latest NHL Buzz: Has the ‘ship sailed’ for the Penguins on the Matt Duchene front?


Latest NHL Buzz 1. The year of what will John Tavares do? It’s going to be one of the top storylines for the 2017-2018 and is one of the closest situations a number of General Managers have their eyes glued on. The New York Islanders’ star center is best friends with Steven Stamkos and the talk has been out there for years that if Tavares left New York, it would be to team up with Stamkos, wherever he’d be playing. Whether that comes to fruition next July remains to be seen but what multiple NHL executives believe what Tavares will likely do is not sign an extension with the Islanders this season and take the Steven Stamkos route of going into the free agent interview period and then deciding what to do. Stamkos met with Toronto, Buffalo and San Jose during the free agent interview period in June 2016 beforeRead More »

Latest Penguins Buzz: Outlook with Opening Night roster deadline looming on Tuesday


Penguins Roster Outlook The Pittsburgh Penguins roster officially stands at 25 with Tom Sestito clearing waivers and re-assigned to Wilkes Barre/Scranton on Friday. Where do things stand heading into Opening Night? FORWARDS Top-12 Sidney Crosby Jake Guentzel Conor Sheary Evgeni Malkin Patric Hornqvist? (Injured) Byran Rust Phil Kessel Greg McKegg Carl Hagelin Cater Rowney Ryan Reaves Scott Wilson — Barring a trade for a third line center, the Penguins are committed to Greg McKegg as their third line center for the start of the regular season and will see where it goes. He’s not going to have to a long leash but he’s won over the coaching staff who love the forechecking presence. McKegg’s emergence has had a big impact on what the Penguins do with Jay McClement who is in camp on a PTO.– Safe as of Today Tom Kuhnhackl While Kuhnhackl’s name has been out there in tradeRead More »

Camp Battles: McKegg separating from pack sees young centers starting season in Wilkes Barre


Latest Penguins Buzz The Pittsburgh Penguins today trimmed their roster to 26 players, the team announced. The following players were reassigned to Wilkes Barre/Scranton: Forwards Zach Aston-Reese, Teddy Blueger, Jean-Sebastien Dea, Thomas Di Pauli, Adam Johnson, Sam Miletic, Dominik Simon, Colin Smith, Daniel Sprong, Christian Thomas, Freddie Tiffels and Garrett Wilson; defensemen Lukas Bengtsson, Frank Corrado, Kevin Czuczman, Ethan Prow, Chris Summers, Jarred Tinordi and Zach Trotman; and goalies Casey DeSmith and Tristan Jarry. Camp Battles Watch As Greg McKegg has separated from the rest of the pack for one of the final center spots on the roster, the decision became even easier to send Adam Johnson and Teddy Blueger down today due to the dip in play from both over the last 5-6 days. Johnson started off camp with a bang including a 2-goal game in the preseason but his play dropped significantly over his last two preseason games.Read More »

Penguins’ Training Camp Buzz: Where things stand for Sprong, Blueger, Aston-Reese


Latest Penguins Training Camp Buzz The Penguins 4-3 win against the Columbus Blue Jackets Friday night featured another lineup mostly made up of young players and fringe players trying to win a roster spot. “It was a young game. Young lineup on both sides,” Penguins head coach Mike Sullivan said. “And so I think with that comes inconsistent play.” Sullivan cited the game featuring some brilliance from some of the Penguins young upside players and also a lot of negative play in how the Penguins performed away from the puck at times, which wasn’t unexpected. Among the notable players in the lineup, for a player like Adam Johnson, there was a drop off in his level of play vs the Blue Jackets. Meanwhile, Daniel Sprong scored in the win, while Zach Aston-Reese who is back skating on Evgeni Malkin’s line this morning, added a goal and assist. “You can seeRead More »

NHL Source: Danis Zaripov camp waiting for response from Penguins


Latest on Danis Zaripov Will Evgeni Malkin get his wish and have Danis Zaripov flanking his left wing on opening night? The ball is in the Penguins court, NHL sources say. The Danis Zaripov camp informed the Penguins last week that Pittsburgh is one of two teams Zaripov wants to sign with, Inside Pittsburgh Sports has learned. In fact, sources tell TIOPS Zaripov’s camp even made a

Headliners: Guentzel’s 5 point night, Two bottom-6 centers separating from the pack


Penguins 6 – Red Wings 5 (OT) — Justin Schultz scored 27 seconds into overtime as the Penguins defeated the Detroit Red Wings 6-5 on Wednesday night at the PPG Paints Arena — Headliners — Jake Guentzel assisted on Schultz OT winner to cap off a 5 point night. Guentzel led the way for Pittsburgh with a goal, 4 assists. What will Guentzel do for an encore this season? Those into fantasy hockey, draft him early. — Center Adam Johnson continues to impress through the first week of camp. His blazing speed was on display and capitalized with a 2 goal night and had 6 shots on goal. At 5 vs 5, Johnson was on the ice for 11 shot attempts and 6 against. How Johnson fares later in the preseason against stiffer competition is going to tell the story but the rookie has everyone’s attention and has emerged intoRead More »

Penguins – Sabres: Early front-runner for bottom-6 center emerging?


Penguins Post-Game Reactions Do we have an early front runner for one of the Penguins two open bottom-6 center spots? One observer tells TIOPS Pittsburgh’s best line on the night was the Hagelin-McKegg-Sprong and the line was especially effective with zone entries. McKegg’s strength as a skater and hockey smarts in getting on the puck with speed and good angles was on display and he earned praised afterwards from the man who will be calling the shots on whether he earns a role in Pittsburgh or not. “I thought McKegg

Training Camp Buzz: 5 Players under the Microscope with questions on what the future holds


5 Players Under the Microscope LW Carl Hagelin A $4 million cap hit for the next two seasons, Hagelin had a dismal offensive season in 2016-2017 with 6 goals and 22 points in 61 games and the dominant possession game from 2015-2016 wasn’t there. Injuries then made him a non-factor for much of the playoffs where he was a healthy scratch for stretches of the playoffs before turning in a strong performance in the Penguins Stanley Cup clinching win in Game 6. Hagelin is bad value at his contract because of the inconsistent offensive production that saw the Rangers trade him entering his peak years and then the Anaheim Ducks after just a couple months. Where opinions differ on Hagelin is usually between coaches and upper management. “Carl’s a replacement level player but coaches who have had him admit Then there’s Defenseman Olli Maatta What does the future hold forRead More »