Andrew Ebbett Adds Experience, Depth to Penguins

Saturday, July 6, 2013
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It seems like there's almost always a Penguins' connection when a new guy is brought into the organization. With forward Andrew Ebbett, you don't have to go too far back to get that connection.

Ebbett played his college hockey at Michigan, two years ahead of former WBS forward Chad Kolarik. I spoke with Kolarik earlier today about what kind of player Ebbett is and from what he told me about Ebbett, I wouldn't be surprised if he never stepped foot in Wilkes-Barre.

"If he is in the minors, he will be a point-per-game player. One of the top point guys in the league," Kolarik said of Ebbett.

The stats back up Kolarik's statement. In 247 regular season games at the AHL level, Ebbett has racked up 243 points (76G-160A). His best season in the NHL came with the Anaheim Ducks in 2008-09 when he tallied 32 points (8G-24A) in 48 games.

Kolarik also added that Ebbett was his captain at Michigan, which leads me to believe with his experience (191 NHL games and 247 AHL games) and previous captaincy that he could be an early front-runner for the "C" in Wilkes-Barre if he were to not make the NHL club.

"He's a leader on and off the ice, very responsible in his own zone," Kolarik said.

So where will Ebbett end up?

As of today, the Penguins forward depth chart is pretty thin in the bottom-six. By my count, the Pens have 12 NHL forwards under contract if you include restricted free agent Dustin Jeffrey (see below).

If I had to venture an educated guess, I think it's very possible that Ebbett will be heading into training camp in the fall trying to push for a spot with the NHL club along with forwards Harry Zolnierczyk, Zach Sill and Chris Conner. Kolarik is certainly pulling for Ebbett to make the NHL club.
"My guess is he will make Pitt," Kolarik said. "He is that good." 

The fact that Ebbett is signed for two years and has a friendly league minimum cap hit ($550,000 at the NHL level) leads me to believe he is a healthy option for the NHL club in 2013-14.

Here's a look at a preliminary depth chart at the forward position:

Sidney Crosby
Evgeni Malkin
James Neal
Pascal Dupuis
Chris Kunitz
Beau Bennett
Brandon Sutter
Jussi Jokinen
Dustin Jeffrey (RFA)
Joe Vitale
Tanner Glass
Craig Adams

Harry Zolnierczyk (RFA)
Andrew Ebbett
Zach Sill (RFA)
Chris Conner

Nick Drazenovic
Brian Gibbons (RFA)
Paul Thompson (RFA)
Tom Kuhnhackl
Jayson Megna
Adam Payerl
Dominik Uher
Anton Zlobin
Bobby Farnham
Steve MacIntyre 


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