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Insider Only Prospects Watch: Penguins Brass, scouts see NHL upside in d-man Jeff Taylor

Penguins Prospects Buzz

— Three to Watch in College Ranks —

Right Winger Kasper Bjorkqvist, 6-1, 200 lbs | 2016 2nd round pick
2016-2017 Season (Providence College): 15 GP – 1 Goal – 2 Assists – 3 Points

Bjorkqvist is putting up low numbers in his first college season but he’s a player who impacts games in many different ways. The organization see’s him as a Patric Hornqvist type who will get to the dirty areas and be a pest below the dot. Bjorkqvist gets his shot off well in tight areas, but what stands out most is a well rounded 200 ft game where he flashes great instincts in the defensive zone and on the penalty kill. If Bjorkqvist develops like the Penguins think he will, there’s a chance they look for him to turn pro after next year, his sophomore season.

Scouts Take: “Love the way he plays the game. Hard nosed, knows how to use his size. He’s not just a plugger.”

Center Anthony Angello, 6-5, 210 lbs | 2014 5th round pick
2016-2017 Season (Cornell College) | 16 GP – 4 Goals – 5 Assists – 9 Points

Angello a big center at 6-foot-5, has been a fast riser up the Penguins prospect board. Angello’s freshman campaign, he had 11 goals and 24 points in 34 games, showing some untapped offensive ability the Penguins weren’t sure that was there. This season he has 9 points in 16 games. The strides he’s made as a skater has been a big development in putting him in play as a prospect who could develop into an NHL player three to four years from now. The Penguins are seeing enough progression in Angello where I don’t think he’ll spend all four years in college.

Scouts Take: “You can’t teach size and natural defensive awareness. He has it. Late in games, protecting a lead, he’s your guy.”

Defenseman Jeff Taylor, 6-0, 180 lbs | 2014 7th Round Pick
2016-2017 Stats (Union College): 23 GP – 7 Goals – 13 Assists – 20 Points, +15

If there’s one college prospect the Penguins are most intrigued about potentially being an NHL player in a year or two, it’s Jeff Taylor, a seventh round pick in 2014. The Penguins prospect base is scant on defense and Taylor tops the list the with the highest NHL upside. While undersized, Taylor fits everything the Penguins look for in a defenseman in how they play under Mike Sullivan.

He’s a strong skater who can move the puck with a great first pass off the breakout or in transition, alludes pressure extremely well with his quick feet and good hockey sense. Drives possession at a high rate. Led Union [last season] in even strength shot attempts which is unheard of for a defenseman.

Taylor turns 23 in March and the Penguins will try to sign him immediately when his season ends. Pittsburgh tried to sign Taylor last spring but he opted to go back to school.

Scouts Take: “So smooth off the breakout and knows what he wants to do with the puck before he retrieves it. If he goes free agent route Want the Full Story? Get "Inside Access"

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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