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WBS Penguins December Grades Part 2

Thursday, January 5, 2012
Tangradi played well in December but was it enough to nab our player of the month award?
WBS Season Record: 18-11-1-4
Record in December: 7-4-0-0

The Penguins were a streaky team in December, winning four straight at one point and dropping three straight right after that.  While the defense was ravaged by call-ups and injuries, the forward core remained relatively intact as only 15 different forwards suited up for the Penguins this past month.

Highland Park Hockey's Player of the Month Award goes to...


Colin McDonald
Season Stats: 33 games played, 8G, 20A, +15, 12 PIM
December Stats: 11 games played, 3G, 7A, +11, 8 PIM

McDonald has consistently been on the score sheet for the Penguins all season long, which is why it's no surprise that he leads the team in scoring and is Highland Park Hockey's player of the month for December. McDonald has been on the top line with Bryan Lerg, seen time on both the power play and penalty kill and has been on the ice during all kinds of situations each and every night. His recent All-Star nomination was well deserved as he has been a solid two way forward for the Penguins this season. Hopefully Lerg's recent injury doesn't prevent McDonald from continuing to be productive in all facets of the game.
Grade: A

The WBS Penguins are back at it again tomorrow night as the Rochester Americans come into town. We will have everything you'll need to know about the matchup tomorrow morning with the pregame post.

The rest of the forwards Grades for December after the jump

Eric Tangradi
Season Stats: 28 games played, 13G, 10A, +1, 34 PIM
December Stats: 8 games played, 5G, 4A, +2, 6 PIM

Tangradi had matched his October offensive totals in December with three multi-point games this month, including seven points (4G, 3A) in his last six appearances of the month. He got another short lived call up to Pittsburgh where he appeared in two games, registering zero points, an even rating and one shot before being sent down for the home and home series with Hershey. Except this time, there wasn't any lack of effort directly after the demotion. Could Tangradi be maturing into a better prospect?
Grade: A-

Geoff Walker
Season Stats: 27 games played, 6G, 7A, +2, 49 PIM
December Stats: 11 games played, 3G, 4A, +6, 26 PIM

The best month of the season by far for Walker, who more than matched his season total offensively coming into December. Part of that can be attributed to the fact he's been on a line with Bryan Lerg and Colin McDonald, but Walker is finishing plays and working hard every night.
Grade: B+

Ben Street
Season Stats: 30 games played, 11G, 11A, +7, 10 PIM
December Stats: 10 games played, 5G, 0A, +1, 6 PIM

After a great November where Street posted 15 points (6G-9A) in 13 games, he cooled off a bit in December. Street did score a goal in four straight games this past month and he's still one of the most dangerous forwards on the team offensively. Hopfully he will be able to get back to dominating like everyone knows he can in January.
Grade: B

Jason Williams
Season Stats: 23 games played, 3G, 15A, +7, 10 PIM
December Stats: 5 games played, 0G, 3A, +2, 0 PIM

Williams spent a decent part of December in the NHL with Pittsburgh, but he did manage three points in five games in the AHL. The power play hasn't been effective but hopefully with Williams on the point, the power play can become more potent in January.
Grade: B

Bryan Lerg
Season Stats: 34 games played, 12G, 11A, +10, 18 PIM
December Stats: 11 games played, 3G, 2A, +4, 4 PIM

After starting off the season with 12 points (6G, 6A) in his first nine games, Lerg has registered just 11 points (6G, 5A) in his last 25 games. And Lerg's luck doesn't seem to be getting any better as he was slammed into the boards from behind by Norfolk's Radko Gudas in the first game of January. Hopefully nothing major for Lerg, who started to get back on track at the end of the month with four points (2G, 2A) in the last four games of December. He is still tied for 2nd on the team in scoring with Eric Tangradi (23 points), behind only Colin McDonald (28 points).
Grade: B

Zach Sill
Season Stats: 28 games played, 6G, 1A, -1, 22 PIM
December Stats: 8 games played, 4G, 0A, -2, 4 PIM

Sill missed the first three games of the month but found his offensive touch at the end of December, posting three goals in the last two games. I'm a bit surprised to see Sill in the minus side of things in the +/- but his work ethic, physical play and penalty killing ability still makes Sill a valuable forward to have in the lineup. It'll also be interesting to see if he can keep his offensive play going.
Grade: B

Ryan Craig
Season Stats: 27 games played, 3G, 7A, -1, 40 PIM
December Stats: 11 games played, 1G, 4A, -4, 20 PIM

Captain Craig has found himself playing more of a defensive forward role so far this season, helping the team on the penalty kill and in defensive situations. The offensive production isn't quite there yet from Craig and he seems to take what I would call "unnecessary penalties" from time to time, but his leadership on the ice and his willingness to drop the gloves to stick up for a teammate or spark his team is unparalleled on this roster.
Grade: B

Nick Petersen
Season Stats: 26 games played, 6G, 6A, +7, 15 PIM
December Stats: 10 games played, 1G, 2A, Even, 4 PIM

Petersen picked up December right where he left off at the tail end of November and registered points in four of five games dating from 11/25 to 12/3. Since then, Petersen went on a seven game scoreless drought before being scratched for the New Years Eve game. The good news is Petersen is creating offensive chances, just not finishing them off and turning them into goals. He's scored goals in his last two appearances and I think an upgrade to a spot in the top six could be just what Petersen needs to get out of this scoring funk he is in.
Grade: C+

Brandon DeFazio
Season Stats: 31 games played, 5G, 2A, Even, 36 PIM
December Stats: 11 games played, 2G, 1A, -1, 20 PIM

DeFazio had back to back games on the score sheet in the middle of the month, including a two goal game against Syracuse on December 16th. But since that point, DeFazio has been held scoreless the last five games with a -2 rating which is what led to him being a healthy scratch for last night's game against the Admirals. DeFazio brings energy and grit to the lineup and needs to get back on track in January.
Grade: C+

Matt Rust
Season Stats: 16 games played, 1G, 4A, +2, 6 PIM
December Stats: 10 games played, 1G, 1A, Even, 4 PIM

December was the first full month of AHL hockey for Rust. He scored his first pro goal - the game winner in a 1-0 win against Binghamton back on December 7th. What I like about Rust's play is his ability in the face-off dot and ability on the PK at times.
Grade: C+

Brian Gibbons
Season Stats: 32 games played, 6G, 9A, +5, 12 PIM
December Stats: 11 games played, 1G, 1A, +2, 4 PIM

Gibbons hasn't quite kept up with his offensive production lately, with nine of his 15 points on the season coming in October. Only 3G, 3A in the last 22 games for Gibbons. Clearly he is adjusting to the game at the pro level and a mid season slump isn't overly shocking for a guy in his first season. Gibbons has blazing speed that he uses well on the penalty kill at times, but offensively he has been getting knocked off the puck and his 5-8, 168lb frame abused by much bigger defensmen on the opposing team. Another guy, like Petersen, who could benefit from playing with more offensively inclined forwards (i.e. Ben Street, Jason Williams, Eric Tangradi, Colin McDonald).
Grade: C

Paul Thompson
Season Stats: 25 games played, 3G, 5A, +5, 10 PIM
December Stats: 7 games played, 0G, 1A, -1, 4 PIM

A bit of a roller coaster ride for Thompson in December. After appearing in the first few games of the month registering nothing on the stat sheet (Even +/- rating and two shots) Thompson found himself a healthy scratch. Thompson was even sent down to the Wheeling Nailers (ECHL) for a game against Trenton before being recalled to suit up for the WBS Penguins again on December 19th. The effort is there from Thompson, but the production is not.
Grade: C

Ryan Schnell
Season Stats: 10 games played, 0G, 1A, -2, 39 PIM
December Stats: 5 games played, 0G, 0A, -3, 19 PIM

Schnell has fallen out of the regular rotation in the lineup as of late. He hasn't appeared in a game in nearly three weeks. His last appearance was in a 5-2 loss at home to the Norfolk Admirals back on December 17th. His physical presence is missed but Schnell is too one dimensional to be a regular in the WBS lineup full time as it stands right now.
Grade: C-

Chris Barton
Season Stats: 3 games played, 0G, 0A, -4, 0 PIM
December Stats: See above ^ ^ ^

Barton was signed to a PTO back on December 9th after a great month of November with the ECHL's Wheeling Nailers - the WBS Penguins affiliate - where he was named the league's rookie of the month. He didn't make his WBS debut until 12/16 against the Syracuse Crunch but didn't impress in his 3 games in the AHL. He was re-assigned to the Nailers on 12/20 where he currently leads the team in scoring with 28 points (15G-13A) in 26 games, including seven points (3G-4A) in 11 games in December.
Grade: Incomplete

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