LATEST PROSPECTS BUZZ
The Pittsburgh Penguins, as expected, have made a play to sign defenseman Andrej Sustr, Nebraska-Omaha University. Sustr a towering defenseman at 6-foot-8, 228-pounds, is regarded by many scouts as the top potential college free agent available and is being coveted by as many as 23 teams this week. Sustr had 9 goals and 25 points and a +16 rating in 39 games for Nebraska-Omaha University.
The Penguins have been expecting word today on whether they are a finalist for Sustr but expectations appear to be very low inside the organization as the Penguins don’t feel Sustr attending the Penguins prospect camp in July gives them any edge to sign Sustr, who according to a source, is looking for the best opportunity to play in the NHL soon. That likely doesn’t include Pittsburgh. Buzz in league circles have the Lightning, Islanders, Rangers and Senators being regarded among the top contenders for Sustr. Tampa Bay is considered the favorite for Sustr.
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.
The Penguins are also prepared to make a hard push for Yale forward Antoine Laganiere who like Sustr also attended Penguins prospect camp last July. Laganiere who possesses excellent size at 6-foot-4, 215-pounds, has 14 goals and 27 points in 31 games for Yale. Last year he had 19 goals and 33 points in 35 games for Yale. Coaches love the pro body he has.
With a need to restock their forward systems, other potential college free agent forwards of interest could be Nebraska-Omaha’s Ryan Walters and St. Cloud State’s Drew LeBlanc when the Huskies season is over. The Penguins have done their share of scouting on both players.
Walters led Nebraska-Omaha with 22 goals and 52 points in 39 games, including a plus-26 rating. What Penguin scouts like about the 21 year old Walters is that he’s an excellent skater and is really strong on the puck. Scouts call him a smart player, claiming he’s a responsible three zone player. Walters is listening to NHL inquires but has yet to make a decision on whether he will turn pro.
Two notable college free agent signee’s in the Penguins system right now are winger Paul Thompson, Wilkes Barre/Scranton Penguins, and Jayson Megna, Wilkes Barre/Scranton Penguins.
Thompson has made a big jump on the Penguins prospect chart and in the eyes of some would be pushing for NHL time in some other organizations. Thompson has 15 goals and 24 points in 46 games for the WBS Penguins. Thompson who is a responsible player, has flashed third line ability.
Megna has been a really hard read this season. I’ve been told that the Penguins have him rated as one of their top-10 prospects which is why I have him so high in our rankings, but Megna has really struggled at times in his first professional season with 4 goals and 9 points and a minus-8 rating in 44 games.
I’ve heard he’s been invisible a lot of nights but Megna really made a big impression on the Penguins earlier in the season when he was the best player on the ice during Wilkes Barre’s training camp and then slowed by injuries. He made a big enough impression on the Penguins coaching staff during their scouting trips (months during NHL lockout) that Penguins head coach Dan Bylsma handpicked Megna to be invited as the 15th forward for training camp in January.
Prospect Notes: The Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins announced today that they have signed defenseman Clark Seymour to an amateur tryout agreement (ATO). Seymour, 19, appeared in 62 games this season for the Peterborough Petes of the Ontario Hockey League and posted three goals, 10 assists and 61 penalty minutes.
Seymour was the Penguins 5th round pick in 2012 and has played four seasons in the OHL between Peterborough and the Kingston Frontenacs, totaling 34 points (7G-24A) and 187 PIM over 227 contests. The scouting report on Seymour is that he’s a “denter”.