#WBSPens' State of the Defense Address 6/15

Saturday, June 15, 2013
With Dylan Reese signing overseas in the KHL with Amur Khabarovsk for one year, the blueprint for the Penguins defense looks to ride heavily on their blue line prospects.

Highland Park Hockey first reported the news of Reese's signing earlier this morning.

This bodes well for Boston College products Brian Dumoulin and Philip Samuelsson, who were both drafted in the 2nd round of the 2009 NHL entry draft, as well as incoming rookie Scott Harrington - the Penguins 2nd round pick from 2011.

Add in Reid McNeill, who appeared in 15 games with the AHL Penguins at the tail end of the 2012-13 season, and there's four guys that could be wearing WBS uniforms in the fall.

Two other names WBS Pens fans should keep tabs on are incoming defenseman Harrison Ruopp and Nick D'Agostino. Ruopp (3rd round - 2011 Phoenix) came to the Pens organization in the trade that sent Zbynek Michalek back to the Coyotes last summer. D'Agostino is a product of Cornell University and will look to turn pro in the fall.

Of course, much can change on the Penguins blueline based on what Ray Shero and company decide to do regarding Kris Letang and Douglas Murray. Letang is entering the final year of his contract and Douglas Murray (as well as Mark Eaton) are set to become free agents in July.

Here's the list of defensemen in the organization that are signed through next season:


Paul Martin
Brooks Orpik
Kris Letang
Matt Niskanen
Simon Despres
Deryk Engelland


Scott Harrington
Brian Dumoulin
Philip Samuelsson
Reid McNeill
Harrison Ruopp
Nick D'Agostino

NHL UFA's: Douglas Murray, Mark Eaton
NHL RFA's: Robert Bortuzzo, Alex Grant
AHL UFA's: Joey Mormina, Peter Merth, Cody Wild

From an AHL perspective, the Penguins have a young and potentially talented blue line. All that the WBS blue line lacks currently is a veteran presence.

That void could be filled by a guy like Joey Mormina and bolstered with some veteran depth defensive moves this summer in free agency. I'd expect the Penguins to add a couple more established pros to bolster the blueline this summer and focus on developing their high-end defenseman in Dumoulin, Samuelsson and Harrington.

Stay tuned all summer long for all the latest on the Penguins!


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