2010-11 Season Review: Keven Veilleux

Tuesday, June 28, 2011
Player: Keven Veilleux
Role: Power Forward
Contract Status: Signed through 2011-12

Notables: 22 years old, 6-5, 219 lbs., Right handed shot

Season Stats: 66 games played, 12G, 24A, +17, 122 PIM
Playoff Stats: 11 games played, 2G, 2A, -1, 12 PIM

After playing just nine games in 2009-10 before a season ending shoulder injury, Keven Veilleux needed to prove his wasn't an injury prone forward that couldn't handle the day-to-day beating of the pro game. He played in 66 games this past season and punished several on the ice. The big 6-5 forward still has a lot to learn, but showed glimpses of NHL ready play down the stretch. Could Veilleux be the power forward the Penguins organization needs?

Veilleux notched just six goals and six assists after 34 games, but turned his play around from the start of February until the end of the season, posting six goals and 18 assists in the last 32 games he played.

I truly believe that Veilleux is right around the corner from becoming an NHL regular.  With a good camp come September, he could be given a shot to play with Pittsburgh when injuries arise. He most likely won't make the NHL team from the start, but heading into the last year of his contract Veilleux has one year left to prove he was worth the 2nd round pick (51st overall) back in the 2007 Draft. I see him being a 50-60 point guy in the AHL in 2011-12 if he plays a full season there.

The Pittsburgh Penguins have signed another NHL forward, Pascal Dupuis, to a 2-year deal worth $1.5 million a season. That gives the NHL Pens 10 signed forwards with Dustin Jeffrey (RFA) being the 11th forward if/when he accepts his qualifying offer after July 1st.

The Penguins still have $6.4 million in cap space to go after another forward or two if they so choose, which is good news for WBS Penguins fans. Here's my forward depth chart with a group for clearly NHL, clearly AHL, and those tweener players that could go either way depending on further moves made.

NHL (9)                             Tweener (5)                  AHL (8)
Sidney Crosby                  Dustin Jeffrey                Keven Veilleux 
Evgeni Malkin                   Eric Tangradi                Zach Sill
Jordan Staal                      Nick Johnson               Geoff Walker
James Neal                       Joe Vitale                      Bryan Lerg
Chris Kunitz                      Ryan Craig                    Nick Petersen
Matt Cooke                                                             Ben Street  
Pascal Dupuis                                                         Paul Thompson
Craig Adams                                                           Brian Gibbons
Mark Letestu                                                           

I think the Penguins will target 1-2 NHL forwards and 1-2 forwards for their AHL club. The Penguins still have Casey Pierro-Zabotel and Tom Kuhnhackl under contract, but I see Kuhnhackl going back to juniors and don't see Zabotel coming nowhere near Wilkes-Barre (AHL).

We are finishing up the player profiles from last season and have only a few left to do before Friday's free agency starts. I hope those who read have enjoyed them and look forward to Highland Park Hockey bringing top notch coverage of the Wilkes-Barre Scranton Penguins and Pittsburgh's prospects in 2011-12.


mackenziesu said...

I couldn't believe the difference in Veilleux's game when I saw him play the Marlies here in Toronto compared to when I saw him at Prospects camp. At the London tournament last year, he looked slow and uncoordinated to me. At the game later in the year, he was involved in every play while on the ice, driving the net and taking body along the way. I didn't see any fancy moves and don't see him enough to be able to comment in detail, but he looked good; not NHL ready, but much improved and solid. I can see him being called up again at some point this season and playing well. I look forward to seeing his development. His size and developing game seem to point to power foward in the making. I hope he continues along that route.

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