Wednesday’s CBA Buzz
The NHL and NHLPA are slowly inching closer to a deal but I’m like a lot of people now, It’s reached the ridiculous stages and I could care less about these final negotiations (bickering about pension issues, ect) as I’m fully confident we are going to see a deal reached at the 11th hour……Just tell me when training camps open and I can start covering the NHL again.
Scouts Buzz from WJC: No Penguins mentioned here from the WJC, but Craig Custance, an excellent writer over at ESPN has a rundown of several prospects NHL scouts are buzzing about. One scout told Custance that in addition to Ryan Nugent-Hopkins playing in the NHL immediately if the season begins on Jan 19th, like many expect, the scout told Custance that he could also see Jonathan Huberdeau, Panthers, Alex Galchenyuk, Canadiens, Nail Yakupov, Oilers, Dougie Hamilton, Bruins, and Morgan Rielly, Maple Leafs also playing in the NHL immediately.
ZLOBIN NAMED FIRST STAR: The Penguins were a bit disappointed to see 2012 6th round pick Anton Zlobin not make Team Russia for World Junior Championships but Zlobin put together a big weekend for Val-d Or of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League, collecting 4 goals and 5 assists for 9 points in two games over the weekend. Zlobin was named first star for the week ending Dec 31. Zlobin is second on the team with 19 goals and 49 points in 32 games. He ranks 13th in the league in scoring.
AGOSTINO AN NHL PROSPECT?: The Penguins have few forwards in their system who scouts believe have NHL ability. Yale junior forward Kenny Agostino won’t wow people in the offensive end but is a player I’m told the Penguins top scouts see NHL ability from and are high on his offensive instincts. Agostino has a team-leading 17 points in 13 games for Yale and is averaging nearly a point per game in his college career with 76 points in 77 career games. Here was my writeup on Agostino from July following first three days of the Penguins developmental camp this summer: “His skillset won’t wow you, but he has excellent hands in around the net and can make a skill play. What jumps out with Agostino in looking at his NHL potential is he goes to the tough areas, providing a good combination of hockey IQ, skill and size at 6-foot-1, 200 lbs. He’ll go to the corners to win puck battles and looks to make himself a presence in front of the net.”

WILSON PICKING UP HIS GAME AFTER SLOW START: Scott Wilson, the Penguins 2011 seventh round pick had a tremendous freshman season for Umass-Lowell in 2011-2012, collecting 16 goals and 37 points in 36 games. The numbers Wilson put up caught many by surprise and with expectations high this season, Wilson started the season in a funk. In Umass-Lowell’s first eight games, Wilson had just 1 point and a minus-8 rating.
He broke out of his funk against Massachusetts on November 18th (9th game of season) with a four point game and in his last seven games, Wilson has 2 goals and 9 assists, including a +7 rating. He now leads the team with 12 points in 15 games.