Conor Sheary Aims To Make An Impression

Tuesday, July 29, 2014
Conor Sheary took the AHL by storm in the postseason. He's looking to follow it up in 2014-15. Photo Credit: @ItsJacki.
Conor Sheary came into the professional ranks with a bang last spring in Wilkes-Barre/Scranton (AHL) after signing an amateur tryout contract following his fourth year at UMass-Amherst.

At one point in the 2014 AHL playoffs, he had compiled an eight game points scoring streak before an official scoring change cut the streak in half. Sheary finished the postseason with 11 points (6G-5A) in 15 games, tied for second most goals along with rookie Anton Zlobin.

Catch Up & Lunch Links

Monday, July 28, 2014
Simon Despres has already re-signed, but you might have missed some other depth signings.
Next up for the Pittsburgh Penguins prospects is the rookie camp in London, Ontario from Sept. 13-16. The Pens are scheduled to play prospects from the Chicago Blackhawks, Ottawa Senators and Toronto Maple Leafs in the annual rookie tournament across the four-day camp.

Between now and then - starting Tuesday with an update on Conor Sheary - expect to see more feature stories on Penguins prospects that are pegged for AHL duty in the fall. Learn more about what the guys have been doing in the off-season as well as their mentality heading into rookie camp and the main NHL training camp.

Things you might have missed over the last week or so:
  • All of the Penguins restricted free agents that spent time in the AHL last season have been re-signed with Jayson Megna, Philip Samuelsson, Bobby Farnham inking one-year deals. Simon Despres signed a two year contract, perhaps getting a fresh start with new management in Pittsburgh.
  • I caught up with the fine folks at Pens Initiative for a story on a wide range of Penguins Development Camp topics.
  •  Friend and colleague Ian Altenbaugh had this look at Dominik Uher/Adam Payerl and their quest to make a push for the NHL over on Hockey's Future.

Rowney/Goers Added on AHL Contracts, Roster(s) Taking Shape

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Carter Rowney adds depth at the forward position for the AHL Penguins. Photo credit: @ItsJacki.
The Pittsburgh Penguins don't have a lot of room to hand out NHL contracts, but it's not stopping their AHL affiliate in Wilkes-Barre/Scranton.

The AHL Penguins have added more depth at both the forward and defense positions with the additions of Carter Rowney and Barry Goers. Both signed one-year AHL-only contracts today after spending time with the team in parts of last season.

Pens Development Camp Scrimmage

Saturday, July 19, 2014
Penguins prospects took to the ice in front of a crowd of fans at Consol Energy Center for the annual Development Camp scrimmage this afternoon, with Team White holding off Team Black for a 6-4 win.

Troy Josephs will be heading back to Clarkson this summer, but not before he turned some heads this afternoon. Josephs tallied two goals in the win for Team White and added the winner in the shootout as well. His speed, feistiness and creativity could be seen in the AHL down the road.

Jospehs' linemates - Adam Payerl and Matia Marcantuoni - also made an impact today.

The first nine minutes were kind of a feeling out process but that quickly changed in middle part of the first period. Marcantuoni used his blazing high-end speed to burst past Brian Dumoulin and feed a centering pass that Payerl was able to direct past the netminder to put Team White in front 1-0.

About three minutes later, Ryan Segalla sent a stretch pass off the boards and Nick Lappin caught up to it, beating Stephen Mastalerz with a quick wrist shot low to the glove side to even things at 1-1.

Halfway through the first frame, Conor Sheary drew the game's first penalty and made no mistake on the penalty shot, undressing his former college teammate at UMass (Mastalerz) and finishing the play with a backhand to forehand goal. That goal put Team Black ahead 2-1.

On the next shift, Scott Wilson stole a puck on the offensive blue line and let loose a laser of a wrist shot wired to the top shelf on Mastalerz to extend Team Black's lead to 3-1.

Team White narrowed the gap to 3-2 before the first frame ended with Bryan Rust centering a puck to Blaine Byron, who with a defender on his back impressively found the handle on the puck and found a way to beat Jake Hildebrand in tight.

The physical play picked up in the second period as guys like Harrison Ruopp, Ryan Segalla and Reid McNeill delivered some punishing body checks for an intra-squad scrimmage.

Jospehs tied the game at 3-3 with his first of the contest, being rewarded for his hard work throughout the afternoon. Payerl got credit for the assist with a beautiful pass in tight from down below the goal line out to Jospehs, who buried it past Jarry to even the score. Credit Marcantuoni, who took a big hit behind the net to get the puck to Payerl and allow the play to happen.

Team White continued to pile on goals midway through the second frame, as a hard wrist shot from the point by Nick D'Agostino trickled through Jarry's legs to put White in front 4-3.

Oskar Sundqvist was clipped by an errant stick of Dumoulin a few minutes later and Sundqvist finished off the penalty shot with a nice move and goal to put White ahead. 5-3. Joseph's added his second of the game on a shot through traffic with about six and a half minutes left to kind of seal the deal at a 6-3 game.

Local product Sam Lafferty got Team Black within two at a 6-4 count in the final four minutes but that would be as close as they would get.

The event concluded with a shootout, which saw only three shooters score. Penguins 2014 first round pick Kasperi Kapanen started things off with a forehand to backhand roof job on Matt Murray, but it was Team White's Jake Guentzel and Troy Josephs responding to give White the clean sweep this afternoon..

Penguins Development Camp - Day Four

Friday, July 18, 2014
The Penguins didn't have any on-ice practice yesterday, but both groups were back on the ice at Consol Energy Center this morning for their final practice before tomorrow afternoon's scrimmage.
The scrimmage tomorrow is free and open to the public and begins at 3:00 p.m. ET at Consol Energy Center.

Everyone skated on the ice in a 90-minute session focused primarily on pre-game warmup activities such as line rushes followed by two sets of mini 3-on-3 scrimmages going on simultaneously. They were broken down into four teams today before finishing with a team shootout.

Several guys stood out in the mini scrimmages, but Anton Zlobin was most impressive to me in the way that he not only was making people miss and picking corners on the goaltenders, but back-checking and showcasing some good defensive traits as well.

Another guy who was creating offense and scoring goals was Jean-Sebastien Dea. Dea is certainly known as an offensive guy who can hit the back of the net (he scored 49 goals with Royun Noranda of the QMJHL last season).

Dominik Uher was playing his regular feisty and around the puck style of play and even scored on a penalty shot in one of two penalties called throughout the seven mini-periods. Uher seemed to be in a bit of discomfort after taking a slash and dropping his stick. The hunched over Uher battled through and finished the session but you could tell he wasn't skating at 100%.

Tom Kuhnhackl was another guy who stood out. His quick release and sharp shooting allowed him to pick corners whenever he had space to shoot. Another big forward who made some nice plays was Oskar Sundqvist, who was on the winning team of the mini scrimmages along with Conor Sheary, Bryan Rust, Reid McNeill and Harrison Ruopp among others.

After the 3-on-3's and some 4-on-2 power play situations, they finished up the practice with a full team shootout. Alternating between Team White and Team Black, only 11 shooters scored in the first round and only Blaine Byron was able to go 2-for-2.

Byron was the star of the shootout, doing the patented Peter Forseberg move in his first attempt and scoring after what seemed like a dozen dekes, toe-drags and other moves in his second shot.

Talking with Penguins assistant general manager Tom Fitzgerald after the practice, some early insights to what tomorrow's scrimmage will entail. Expect two-30 minute running clock periods with potential stoppages after goals/saves etc. in the final five minutes of each period. Also expect a shootout of sorts to take place sometime during the event.