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Day 2 Development Camp Report & Observations: Pens have added skill at forward in last two drafts

The Penguins have a system at the forward ranks where they desperately lack top-end talent but the team has done a good job of adding some skill in the past two drafts from the second round on.
It’s not an understatement to say that 2012 2nd round pick Teddy Blueger is the second most skilled forward in the system behind Beau Bennett. Blueger has stood out through two days and he was impressive at times in drills today. Blueger is an excellent playmaker with good vision as he see’s the ice well and has quick, soft hands. Blueger had 64 assists in 51 games last season for Shattuck.
Out of the 2012 draft, the Penguins have also added some skill in 4th round pick Matia Marcantuoni who can fly and has some offensive tools, in addition to third round pick Oskar Sundqvist, a 6-foot-3 center who is known to be more of a defensive minded center at this point in his development but has upside offensively and he was one of the better performers in today’s session showing good puck handling ability and the ability to create plays. He also showed a little bit of an edge out there. 6th round pick Anton Zlobin is one of the more skilled players in camp with very good hands and goal scoring ability.
Out of the 2011 draft, two late round picks have shined through two days and are considered fast rising prospects.
5th round pick Dominik Uher is a player in the junior ranks who was regarded as a great two-way player and has a lot of capabilities the Penguins seek in prospects. The intriguing aspect about Uher is his offensive upside. Uher had 33 goals in 63 games for Spokane last season and he has been a goal scoring machine through two days in camp. Can pick the corners very well.
6th round pick Josh Archibald had been regarded as a possible late round gem and he shined today. A tremendous skater with offensively ability, he was one one of the best forwards today overall and in 1-on-1 drills as he has the ability to blow by defenders on the outside. Archibald also performed very well in last years development camp. He’s a player who will come at you at the forecheck and he reminds me of a Joe Vitale but has way more offensive upside and skill than Vitale. Archibald had 10 goals as a freshman last season.
Another forward the Penguins added in last years draft with some offensive capabilities is Scott Wilson, the team’s 7th round pick. He had a tremendous freshman season for Umass-Lowell collecting 16 goals and 37 points in 35 games last season. Wilson hasn’t stood out much in two days but he’s one of those players who will when it comes to game situations.
In covering these development camps for five years now, young players often struggle at times in their first development camp and first rounders Derrick Pouliot and Olli Maatta have been no exception. Maatta struggled mightily today in 1-1 drills getting beat a number of times and he has a ways to go in improving his skating. He has a slow first couple steps backwards.
Pouliot, the No. 8 overall pick, looks overmatched from a physical/muscle standpoint and didn’t fare well in defensive minded drills today. A number of first rounders have also struggled in their first camps from Simon Despres to Beau Bennett in the past. It’s been rare to see top draft picks dominate like Joe Morrow and Scott Harrington did in last years camp.
— There are some players you only have to see a few times to realize that they’re a special talent and 2011 first round pick Joe Morrow is one of them.
— The one thing that stands out with Scott Harrington is how mature he is for a young player on the ice and he’s one of those defenseman who does everything well. “This guy is so mature for his age, WBS assistant coach Alain Nasreddine said of Harrington. “Watch him play, he’s the kind of guy who does everything well. He made a great impression in training camp last year. He’s another huge asset in our organization.”
Beau Bennett has gone from around 173 lbs to when the Penguins draft him 20th overall in the 2010 draft to now being listed at 6-2, 207lbs. While this talk of him being an option to play in the NHL next season is getting overblown, Bill Guerin is among those who feels the skill set is there to be an eventual fit with Sidney Crosby. “He’s a guy who finds open ice, has a great shot, release, and would be able to make skilled play to get Sid puck, ” Guerin said today of Bennett.
— Bill Guerin on defenseman Brian Dumuolin. “He’s a big talented guy. He’s a proven winner at the college level. We’re really excited to have him.”
— Forward Kenny Agostino, the team’s 5th round pick in 2010 draft, isn’t a player whose skill set jumps out in drills but he does the little things extremely well and goes to the tough areas. He’s one of those players who could develop into a solid two-way player at the NHL level. He had 19 goals and 34 points in 33 games for Yale in 2011-2012. 
— Defenseman Reid McNeill, the team’s 6th round pick in 2010, was very good in defensive drills today. You can tell he’s had good coaching in the past. Reads the play extremely well.
— Two camp invitees Andrej Sustr and Antoine Laganiere have done some good things to standout. Sustr a defenseman, is a towering player at 6-7, 224lbs and he was nearly unbeatable in 1-on-1 situations, and despite not being a great skater by any means, he showed good ability in closing on the incoming forward and wasn’t letting anybody get around him. Antonie Laganiere of Yale caught my eye yesterday as I mentioned. Has a good skill set and skates well for a player his size at 6-4. Langaniere had 19 goals and 33 points in 35 games for Yale in 2011-2012. Older players often perform better in these camps so it’s not a surprise to see either performing well.
— Goaltender Matt Murray was a little better today but still struggled at times and has been outplayed badly by fourth round pick Sean Maguire whose fundamentals are much better.

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William DePaoli

TIOPS Insider

William DePaoli is the President/Founder of Inside Pittsburgh Sports LLC and can be reached at

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