WBS Penguins 1st Quarter Report 12/12

Wednesday, December 12, 2012
1st Quarter Report (Games from 10/13 to 12/1)

Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins (AHL)
20 games played, 13-7-0-0
3rd Place East Division
5th Place Eastern Conference

Despite an 0-4 start to the 2012-13 campaign, the Penguins are just two points out of the top seed in the Eastern Conference 20 games into the season. The team is clearly starting to gel, entering this week's games in the midst of a seven game points streak (5-0-1-1). The new faces on this team are showing what they bring to the rink and having seen all but one of the team's games live in person, I feel confident in providing a more comprehensive update on each guy at the quarter mark of the season.
Highland Park Hockey Quick Stats:

Home games attended: 10 of 11
Road games attended: 9 of 9
Road miles traveled: 3,590
States visited: New York, Connecticut, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey

On Press Row:
10/3/12 in Brighton, New York (Pens/Americans PRESEASON)
10/19/12 in Springfield, Massachusetts (Pens/Falcons - Game 2)
10/26/12 in Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania (Pens/Americans - Game 5)
11/2/12 in Manchester, New Hampshire (Penguins/Monarchs - Game 8)

Grade: I'll leave it to you, the reader. Any comments or suggestions on anything content/coverage related you liked/disliked would be much appreciated.

Three Stars

G Jeff Zatkoff
15 games played, 10-5-0, 1.81 GAA, .930 SV%, 3 SO

Zatkoff was a great addition to the team this off season. For right now, I think it's safe to say he has taken over as the team's starting goaltender. He's started 12 of the last 15 games for the Pens and was named the AHL's Goaltender of the Month for November after posting an 8-1 record, including three shut outs. Grade: A

F Beau Bennett
20 games played, 5G, 11A, -2, 6 PIM

After a preseason that helped him get into game shape, the former first rounder is doing just that - rounding into form. Scoring when on the ice, regardless who his line mates have been, Bennett ended the first quarter of the season with 10 points (4G-6A) in the last nine games. Grade: A

D Dylan Reese

17 games played, 3G, 8A, +4, 12 PIM

Reese missed the first two games of the regular season, but overall has been a leader on defense. The Pittsburgh, Pa native has been the team's top scoring defensemen, doing most of his damage on the power play. All three of Reese's goals this season came on the man advantage. Another one of the guys that the Pittsburgh Penguins brought in during the off season. Grade: A

Updates on the development of the rest of the Penguins player prospects after the jump.

Riley Holzapfel
20 games played, 6G, 9A, Even, 18 PIM

Holzapfel has been up and down the lineup and has played in all types of game situations, on both the power play and penalty kill. He has 11 points (4G, 7A) in his last 10 games. Grade: B+

Benn Ferriero
20 games played, 2G, 12A, Even, 10 PIM

Ferriero has created offense and despite only scoring twice so far this season, has been right there when it comes to chances. Quarterbacks the top power play unit on the point. Grade: A-

Trevor Smith
20 games played, 7G, 6A, +2, 19 PIM

Smith was the biggest AHL free agent signing of the offseason, coming over from the defending champs. He's been consistent and in the top six every game so far and kills penalties as well as scores on the power play. Grade: B+

Eric Tangradi
20 games played, 9G, 2A, -3, 21 PIM

Tangradi was on fire out of the gates, scoring five goals in his first seven games. Has only scored in two of the last 13 games. The Big Dog has been known to take an over aggressive type penalty at times. Still a force in front of the net on the power play. Grade: B+

Phillipe Dupuis
20 games played, 2G, 8A, +4, 10 PIM 

On the team's top line with Tangradi and Smith currently. Dupuis hasn't had the offensive numbers I expected, but he has been a reliable option in all three zones and was a great veteran addition in the off season. Here's to hoping his offensive production increases by the halfway mark. Grade: B

Paul Thompson
18 games played, 7G, 3A, -2, 22 PIM

Thompson scored six goals in his first nine games of the 2012-12 campaign, including his first professional hat trick on November 4th in Bridgeport. But one goal in his last 11 games and Thompson sat out the last two games of the first quarter on his birthday weekend. Not much of a present for #17.  Grade: C

Brian Gibbons
15 games played, 3G, 5A, -1, 4 PIM

Another second year forward on the Penguins roster, Gibbons continues to use his blazing speed to create offense and is useful on the penalty kill as well. For an undersized forward, Gibbons plays with a ton hustle and his speed is unmatched by anyone on this team not named Bobby Farnham (see below). Grade: C+ 

Simon Despres
20 games played, 3G, 3A, +2, 23 PIM

Despres continues to impress in his sophomore season on the WBS Penguins blue line. Despres appeared in all of the Pens' games through the first quarter and had been playing better before an injury in the first game of the second quarter has caused him to miss some time. Grade: B

Warren Peters
20 games played, 3G, 2A, +4, 29 PIM

Peters has been moved down the lineup into the bottom six and has played his role very well, blocking shots, killing penalties and playing solid two-way hockey. He's been on the ice for almost every important face-off, a skill the Penguins have not seen much of in recent years. Grade: B

Brian Dumoulin
18 games played, 1G, 5A, -3, 8 PIM

Dumoulin is still learning in his first pro season. Coming out of college, he is a little older than most of the rookies on the team but is still prone to making "rookie mistakes" from time to time. He has been put on the team's power play and produced well, scoring his first pro goal on the man advantage November 30th against Syracuse. Grade: C+

Joe Morrow
14 games played, 1G, 2A, -5, 22 PIM

Morrow seems to be having a harder time adjusting to pro hockey than most of the scouts thought. His work ethic in practice has been questioned by the coaching staff and Morrow has been in and out of the lineup as a healthy scratch most of November. Playing better through two games in the second quarter of the season. Grade: C

Tom Kuhnhackl
11 games played, 2G, 2A, +3, 6 PIM

Kuhnhackl has flourished when paired with offensive minded forwards like Beau Bennett, Jayson Megna and Brian Gibbons but there isn't room for Kuhnhackl in the top six where he is best suited. He left December 1st's game against the St. John's IceCaps with an upper body injury and still inactive. Grade: C+

Bobby Farnham
11 games played, 0G, 2A, +2, 51 PIM

Farnham joined the team in November on a PTO and quickly gained attention as an agitator that Penguins fans haven't seen in quite some time.  An absolute maniac on the ice, Farnham hits everything that moves and is afraid of nobody. Draws a lot of penalties and does his job well. Well deserved AHL contract. Grade: B

Robert Bortuzzo
13 games played, 0G, 1A, +6 , 16 PIM

Bortuzzo missed the first seven games of the season but has been nothing but spectacular when on the ice. He eats up big minutes on the penalty kill and late game situations.  Bortuzzo is a physical defensive minded defenseman and a no nonsense type of guy who isn't afraid to dish out big hits.  Grade: A-

Dominik Uher
12 games played, 0G, 2A, +1, 15 PIM

Uher has been the Penguins 4th line muck and grind type of player through the first 20 games and I love this guy's hustle on the ice. His feet are always moving. He isn't afraid to drop the gloves or go to the dirty areas of the ice and take a beating along the boards. Only not in the lineup because of the depth of this team. Grade: C+

Philip Samuelsson
12 games played, 0G, 1A, +4, 13 PIM

Samuelsson is playing better in his season of pro hockey but the depth on defense is creating a logjam of prospects and as such, a rotation of healthy bodies means some time spent as a healthy scratch. If the lockout ever ends, his role will increase exponentially. Grade: B 

Steve MacIntyre
11 games played, 0G, 0A, Even, 33 PIM

Just pull up Big Mac's stat sheet for game-by-game statistics. He is on the bench solely as a deterrent of other team's guys to take shots at the Pens rising stars. He's the biggest, baddest enforcer in the league. Grade: C

Brian Strait
16 games played, 0G, 0A, Even, 28 PIM

The lack of stats for Strait is more concerning than that of MacIntyre's. Strait has been battling a minor injury that has forced him in and out the lineup the last few weeks. Hopefully that is the cause for what I think is a slight drop in production. Never was an offensive defenseman but clearly isn't 100% right now. Grade: C

I didn't give out a grade to anyone who didn't appear in more than seven out of the team's first 20 games, but here's an update on each of them:

D Joey Mormina
7 games played, 0G, 1A, -2, 4 PIM

Brought in for a veteran presence on the blue line, Mormina has been just that. Has been of the team's alternate captains when on the ice. Appeared in six of the team's first seven games, but has been a healthy scratch in all but one game since (Mormina Mustache Night - 11/24 vs. Toronto).

F Jayson Megna
6 games played, 0G, 3A, -3, 0 PIM

Missed the team's first eight games after suffering a lower body injury at the end of the preseason. Play-making center with good vision and is fun to watch in the offensive zone. I'm very intrigued by Megna after seeing him play in the preseason, where he scored a goal in every game he played.

D Alex Grant
6 games played, 0G, 1A, -2, 4 PIM

Grant appeared in four of the team's first seven games but has only seen action in two games since October 28th. Was the team's leading scorer on the blue line last season. Losing a numbers game, which is a credit to the depth the team has on defense.

F Adam Payerl
5 games played, 1G, 0A, Even, 5 PIM

Payerl is a big, physical forward that excels along the walls and in front of net. Isn't afraid to work hard in the dirty areas. Was re-assigned to the Wheeling Nailers (ECHL) after scoring his first pro goal October 28th against the Hershey Bears. Currently on injured reserve in Wheeling after appearing in only one game with the Nailers.

F Keven Veilleux
4 games played, 0G, 0A, -1, 7 PIM

After missing all of last season with that knee injury, Veilleux made his season debut with the Pens November 14th at home against the Springfield Falcons, after a nearly 14 month rehab and three game stint with Wheeling Nailers. The plan appears to be to ease him back into the lineup. Didn't appear in either of the Pens' games this past weekend and after playing another game with the Nailers last Friday, coach Hynes said he will rest for two weeks.

F Zach Sill
3 games played, 0G, 1A, +2, 0 PIM

Sill broke his hand blocking a shot up in Springfield in the second game of the season and made his return to the lineup in the team's most recent game this past Saturday against the St. John's IceCaps.

D Carl Sneep
1 game played, 0G, 0A, Even, 0 PIM

Sneep only appeared in one game before being re-assigned to Wheeling. In nine games with the Nailers, Sneep has tallied 6 points (1G, 5A) with a +6 rating, leading the team in that category.


Post a Comment