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Insider Only Penguins 1-10 Prospects Weekly Review: Hanowski off to strong start

Every Monday we will do a weekly review on the Penguins top 10 prospects through the junior, collegiate and professional ranks. An intriguing player to watch this season is 2009 3rd pick Ben Hanowski who is getting top-6 minutes and is off to a strong start for No. 4 St. Cloud State.
1. Simon Despres – Age 19
Born: 07-27-1991 – Laval, QC
Height: 6 – 4 Weight: 205 lbs
Position: D Shoots: L
2009 1st round draft pick
Estimated Arrival: 2011-2012
Current Team: Saint John (QMJHL)
2010-2011 stats: 2 GP – 1G – 0A – 1PTS – +1
Weekly Review: Top prospect Simon Despres who made quite an impression during training camp, scored a goal Friday night in his first game back with the Saint John Sea Dogs, a 6-2 win over Moncton. Despres marker was a short-handed tally.
Saint John’s defeated Montreal 5-2 on Sunday to start 2-0 with Despres in the lineup. Saint John’s is 7-3 on the season and are expected to be a top contender once again in the “Q”.
Despres has been named an assistant captain and has 1 goal and a plus-1 rating through two games.
2. Robert Bortuzzo– Age 21
Born: 3-18-1989, Thunder Bay, ON, Canada
Height: 6-3 Weight: 211 lbs
Position: D Shoots: R
2007 3rd round draft pick
Estimated Arrival: 2011
Current Team: Wilkes Barre Scranton (AHL)
2010-2011 stats: 1GP – 0G – 0A – 0PTS – +1
Weekly Review: Robert Bortuzzo the Penguins No. 2 defenseman prospect, was a +1 in Wilkes Barre’s 4-3 shootout win against the Hershey Bears Saturday night. Bortuzzo is playing a shutdown role with D-partner Brian Strait.
3. Beau Bennett, – Age 18
Born: Gardena, California
Height: 6-foot-1: Weight: 176 lbs
Position: RW Shoots: R
2010 1st round pick
Estimated Arrival: 2014
Current Team: Denver University
2010-2011 Stats: 4GP – 0G – 3A – 3PTs
Weekly Review: Denver kicked off their exhibition season on October 2nd against the Under-18 US National Team. Bennett recorded 2 assists in the win and added a power play goal in Denver’s 5-2 loss to Lethbridge, the following night.
Bennett tallied three points (1g-2A), all on the power play in exhibition play but was held pointless this past weekend in regular season play.

Denver traveled to Vermont on Friday and Saturday to kick off the regular season. Denver rallied from a two-goal deficit to post a 5-3 win at Vermont on Friday night and the two teams played to a 1-1 tie on Saturday night.
Bennett was pointless in both games, recording a combined 2 shots on goal.

4. Brian Strait – Age 21

Born: 01-04-1988, Boston, MA,
Height: 6-1 Weight: 200 lbs
Position: D Shoots: L
2006 3rd round draft pick
Estimated Arrival: 2011
Current Team: Wilkes Barre Scranton (AHL)
2010-2011 Stats: 1GP – 0G – 0A – 0PTS – 2PIM +0
Weekly Review: Strait played a solid defensive game in Wilkes Barre’s 4-3 win against Herhsey. Strait is entering his second full season in Wilkes Barre and is on the fast track to being NHL ready.
5. Philip Samuelsson Age 19
Born: 1991-07-26
Height: 6-2 Weight: 198 lbs
Position: Defense | Shoots: Left
2009 Second Round Pick
Estimated Arrival: 2013
Current Team: Boston College, NCAA
2010-2011 stats: 1GP – 0G – 1A – 1PTS – +1
Samuellson recorded an assist, helping No. 1 Boston College to a 2-0 season-opening victory over Hockey East opponent Northeastern on Saturday night.
Samuellson is making his mark on the penalty kill, where BC finished 7-for-7 in penalty-killing situations, killing six penalties during a second-period in which the host Huskies outshot the Eagles, 16-11.
Boston College travels to Denver for two games – Friday, Oct. 15 and Saturday, Oct. 16. Samuellson will go up against 2010 first round pick Beau Bennett.
Last season as a freshman, Samuellson performed above expectations and is developing into a true stay-at-home defenseman. In 2009-2010, Samuelsson played in all 42 games and recorded 14 points – one goal and 13 assists – and a +15 rating. Samuelsson also earned a roster spot with the U.S. Junior team this summer, playing mostly a 7th defensemen role.
6. Tom Kuehnhackl
Height: 6-2, Weight: 192 lbs
Position: Left Wing
2010 4th round pick
2010-2011 Team: Windsor Spitfires (OHL)
2010-2011 Stats: 8GP – 1G – 0A – 1PTS
Weekly Review: Kuehnhackl came into the weekend pointless in his first seven games and notched his first goal and point of the season in Windsors 5-4 shootout loss to the London Knights on Saturday night.
Kuehnhackl who played extremely well in the Penguins rookie tournament, has struggled with the transition to the Ontario Hockey League.
Kuehnhackl, 18, was Central Scouting’s No. 8 ranked European skater in 2010 draft and is player the Penguins are very high on. He appeared in 38 games for Landshut last season, scoring 12 goals and 21 points. His father, Erich, was elected to the International Ice Hockey Federation Hall of Fame in 1997.
7. Dustin Jeffrey– Age 22
Born: 02-27-1988, Sarnia, ONT,
Height: 6-1 Weight: 199 lbs
Position: Center Shoots: L
Estimated Arrival: 2010-2011
Current Team: Wilkes Barre/ Scranton
2010-2011 Stats: 1GP – 0G – 0A – 0PTS – +0
Weekly Review: Dustin Jeffrey had 5 shots on goal in Saturday’s win but was held pointless in the win. Jeffrey who was one of the big surprises in training camp is centering the top line with Brett Sterling and Nick Johnson on his wings.
In 2009-2010, Jeffrey had a breakout season offensively, leading Wilkes Barre with 71 points and 47 assists on the season.
8. Ben Hanowski – Age 19
Born: 10-18-1990, Little Falls, MN, USA
Height: 6-2 Weight: 198 lbs
Position: RW Shoots: L
2009 3rd round draft pick
Estimated Arrival: 2013
Current Team: St. Cloud State (NCAA)
2010-2011 Stats: 2GP – 2G – 0A – 2PTS – +2
Weekly Review: Ben Hanowski’s freshman season at St. Cloud State had it’s share of struggles but the promising yet wildcard winger in the Penguins system is off to a strong start in his sophomore season.
Appearing in the Nebraska-Omaha Tournament, Hanowski led No. 4 St. Cloud to a 3-1 victory on Friday night against No. 18 RIT, scoring the game winning goal at the 10:21 mark in the third period.
The following night against Clarkson, Hanowski added a goal in a 6-2 loss to Clarkson.
Hanowski is second on the team with 9 shots on goal through two games and is getting top-6 minutes after playing most of last season in a third line role. Last season, Hanowski had 10 goals and 19 assists in 43 games played.
9. Nick Johnson – Age 24
Born: 12-24-1985
Height: 6-2 Weight: 200 lbs
Position: RW Shoots: R
2004 3rd round draft pick
Estimated Arrival: 2010
Current Team: Wilkes Barre Scranton (AHL)
2010-2011 Stats: 1GP – 1G – 0A – 1PTS – -1
Weekly Review: Nick Johnson scored a power play goal in Wilkes Barre’s 4-3 shootout win over the Hershey Bears. Johnson also had a team high 7 shots on goal, playing on a line with Dustin Jeffrey and Brett Sterling. Johnson, Jeffrey and Sterling combined for 13 shots on goal. Turning 25 in December, Johnson is entering a big year. Many feel he’s NHL ready but he’s a longshot to find a regular role with the Penguins at the NHL level.
10. Carl Sneep – Age 22
Born: 11-5-1987,
Height: 6-4 Weight: 210 lbs
Position: D Shoots: R
2006 2nd round draft pick
Estimated Arrival: 2012-2013
Current Team: Wilkes Barre/Scranton (AHL)
2010-2011 Stats: 1GP – 0G – 0A – 0PTS – -1
Weekly Review: Sneep was a minus-1 in Wilkes Barre’s 4-3 shootout win. Sneep has cracked the top-6, working in as the 3rd pairing with defenseman Steve Wagner.

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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