WBS Penguins AHL Prospect Report - March Grades

Monday, March 31, 2014
No one has turned their season around more in March than that of goaltender Peter Mannino (pictured above). Photo by: @ItsJacki.
Editors Note: Statistics include all 12 WBS Penguins games this month, starting with March 1st's game vs. Albany and ending with March 29th's 2-1 win over Norfolk.
After six months of the season have passed, the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins are well on their way to clinching a berth in the 2014 Calder Cup playoffs for the 12th straight season and with a record of 38-22-3-5, the Penguins magic number has dropped to 10 points with eight games remaining.

The Penguins turned things around in March, finishing the month with a record of 9-2-0-1. They have solidified their position in the AHL's Eastern Conference, currently sitting in 5th place and just two points behind Division-leading Binghamton for the third seed in the 2014 Calder Cup Playoffs.

Highland Park Hockey's Player of the Month

Every month, I compile a look at how every player on the team performed and offer insights to what each player has done over the course of the month.  I choose one player who has performed well in the last month and feature him on the main page and "tag" him as HP Hockey's Player of the Month.

March's player of the month is...

Peter Mannino - Grade A

AHL Stats: 14GP, 8-3-1, 1.58 GAA, .933 SV%, 2 SO
March Stats: 10GP, 7-2-1, 1.09 GAA, .950 SV%, 2 SO

Mannino has come to the team in March after a two-month suspension for not reporting to the Penguins ECHL affiliate back in November and played lights out, starting 10 of the team's 12 games this month and not allowing more than two goals in any of his 11 appearances since re-joining the WBS Pens on February 28th. Could Mannino be up for the league's goaltender of the month award?

Previous winners with links to each month's prospect report below:

February (2014) - Spencer Machacek
January (2014) - Eric Hartzell
December (2013) - Nick Drazenovic
November (2013) - Tom Kostopoulos
October (2013) -Brian Gibbons

A look at everyone who participated in AHL games in March after the jump.


Jeff Deslauriers - Grade B+

Season Stats: 40GP, 20-15-2, 2.58 GAA, .895 SV%, 1 SO
March Stats: 2GP, 2-0-0, 2.40 GAA, .909 SV%, 0 SO

Deslauriers has been relegated to back-up duties in the net this month, winning both of his starts two weeks apart on March 9th and March 23rd.


Brendan Mikkelson - Grade A-

Season Stats: 66GP, 8G-27A, +7, 55 PIM
March Stats: 11GP, 3G-3A, +4, 4 PIM

Mikkelson has been a top-four defenseman for the WBS Penguins all season long, on the second pairing with rookie Scott Harrington for much of the season. Mikkelson has been logging minutes on the team's first power play unit and second penalty killing unit, while also playing in many late-game and defensive zone start situations.

Scott Harrington - Grade A-

Season Stats: 68 GP, 4G-18A, +9, 53 PIM
March Stats: 12GP, 1G-4A, +7, 8 PIM

Harrington has been a solid, two-way defenseman for the Penguins this season and has continued to develop throughout his first full season as a pro. Sometimes you forget that Harrington is a rookie with how well he blends in with the rest of the guys on the blue line.

Philip Samuelsson - Grade B

Season Stats: 64 GP, 3G-19A, +17, 66 PIM
March Stats: 10GP, 0G-1A, -1, 6 PIM

Not the best month for Samuelsson statistically speaking, but Ulf's son has spent the year on the top pairing shutting down opposing teams' top offensive players on a nightly basis. Unfortunately for Samuelsson, he suffered a knee injury in March 26th's loss to Providence and did not play in either of the team's two games against Norfolk this past weekend. Time will tell, but the fact that there has been no update on his condition is concerning.

Brian Dumoulin - Grade A

Season Stats: 47GP, 5G-13A, +1, 21 PIM
March Stats: 10GP, 2G-4A, +6, 2 PIM

After missing all of February with an ankle injury, Dumoulin has rebounded with arguably his best month of the season.  It's been a tough year with injuries for Dumoulin, and he has been a regular on the 3rd pairing this season, but it looks like brighter days are ahead for the former Boston College product.

Nick D'Agostino - Grade D

Season Stats: 42GP, 1G-7A, Even, 15 PIM
March Stats: 10GP, 0G-0A, +3, 2 PIM

A month to forget for the Cornell product, as D'Agostino was routinely victimized by opposing team's fore checks, often turning the puck over and leading to extended time in the defensive zone. Not sure if it's a confidence issue, but with Philip Samuelsson out of action and Barry Goers and Harrison Ruopp waiting for their chance, there's little room for error if D'Agostino wants to be playing in late-April.

Reid McNeill - Grade B

Season Stats: 49GP, 1G-4A, +6, 110 PIM
March Stats: 12GP, 0G-1A, +2, 37 PIM

McNeill continues to be a punishing physical defenseman who plays a defense-first type of game and isn't afraid to drop the mitts with anyone. McNeill has been on the team's top pairing since the departure of Simon Despres, playing alongside Philip Samuelsson until his recent injury.

Barry Goers - Grade C

Season Stats: 15GP, 1G-4A, Even, 8 PIM
AHL Stats: 6GP, 0G-0A, +1, 4 PIM

Goers was signed to an AHL contract this month, good for the rest of this season. In limited game action, Goers has proved effective as a puck moving defenseman and a much needed right-handed shot from the point.

Harrison Ruopp - Grade Incomplete

Season Stats: 16GP, 0G-0A, -2, 32 PIM
March Stats: 1GP, 0G-0A, Even, 0 PIM

Ruopp last played on the WBS blue line on March 1st, but after a stint in Wheeling and a subsequent lower body injury to Philip Samuelsson, has been called back up to the AHL ranks.


Tom Kostopoulos - Grade B-

Season Stats: 65GP, 21G-23A, +2, 60 PIM
March Stats: 12GP, 2G-4A, -1, 11 PIM

Not the best month for the Penguins captain, overshadowed by the top line a bit in March.

Nick Drazenovic - Grade C+

Season Stats: 56GP, 12G-26A, +2, 26 PIM
March Stats: 11GP, 1G-3A, +1, 8 PIM

Drazenovic followed up 11 points in 11 February games with just four in 11 March games, being held scoreless in his last five games and also sitting out one game as the team's veteran scratch.

Andrew Ebbett - Grade A

Season Stats: 40GP, 12G-25A, +10, 28 PIM
March Stats: 12 GP, 3G-11A, +6, 2 PIM

Ebbett has been the best Penguins forward this month, in the midst of an 11-game points scoring streak in which he has recorded an assist in each of his last 11 games. He's been the top line center almost exclusively since re-joining the WBS Penguins after an ankle injury he suffered while in Pittsburgh.

Harry Zolnierczyk - Grade B

Season Stats: 53GP, 18G-16A, +7, 71 PIM
March Stats: 8GP, 1G-4A, +2, 12 PIM

Zolnierczyk missed some time with an upper body injury this month and will look to get into playoff form during the last eight games.

Spencer Machacek - Grade B+

Season Stats: 49GP, 17G-13A, +8, 39 PIM
March Stats: 7GP, 2G-2A, +3, 0 PIM

Machacek missed some time with an upper body injury, but has been on the top line with Ebbett and Chuck Kobasew when healthy and not the team's veteran scratch.

Dominik Uher - Grade B-

Season Stats: 60GP, 6G-15A, +8, 46 PIM
March Stats: 11GP, 1G-2A, +6, 8 PIM

The feisty Czech continues to be a solid two-way winger that can produce offensively on occasion, as evidenced by game-winning shorthanded goal on Saturday and his set up of Josh Archibald's first pro goal on Friday.

Jayson Megna - Grade B-

Season Stats: 25GP, 9G-6A, +13, 4 PIM
March Stats: 7GP, 0G-2A, Even, 0 PIM

Megna didn't light the world on fire in his last AHL stint, but despite all the critics in Wilkes-Barre he is clearly an NHL-caliber player.

Anton Zlobin - Grade B-

Season Stats: 38GP, 8G-7A, +13, 14 PIM
March Stats: 8GP, 3G-2A, +3, 0 PIM

Zlobin had his highest scoring month in the AHL this season in March, despite being a healthy scratch the last two games in Norfolk over the weekend. He continues to adjust to the pro game and needs to work on his play in his own end.

Mike Carman - Grade C+

Season Stats: 57GP, 6G-8A, +3, 30 PIM
March Stats: 10 GP, 0G-0A, -1, 8 PIM

Carman has done a good job centering the 4th line this month, and most of the season, and brings a solid two-way game. He's not overly physical, but is well rounded and is a staple of the WBS PK.

Bobby Farnham - Grade C+

Season Stats: 57GP, 5G-7A, Even, 147 PIM
March Stats: 12GP, 0G-3A, +1, 28 PIM

Farnham is developing into more than just a pest on the ice this season, and his 12 points this season are just indicators that Farnham's game is evolving. He's still the pest that draws penalties, but he backs that up with relentless tenacity on the fore-check and often starts a good cycle behind the net with his 4th line teammates.

Denver Manderson - Grade B

Season Stats: 32GP, 2G-9A, +1, 4 PIM
March Stats: 9GP, 1G-3A, +2, 0 PIM

Manderson had been playing as the team's third line center before being a healthy scratch last weekend in Norfolk. The small, speedy center plays a reliable two-way game and has been a great addition on the WBS Penguins penalty killing unit. A solid bottom-six forward option at the Penguins disposal.

Adam Payerl - Grade B-

Season Stats: 37GP, 3G-6A, Even, 35 PIM
March Stats: 11GP, 1G-2A, +1, 7 PIM

Payerl has been one of the team's better forwards this month, playing a consistent and physical game. Payerl is strong in the corners, behind and around the net. He's the net-front presence the Penguins have been searching for.

Chuck Kobasew - Grade A

Season Stats: 7GP, 7G-1A, +5, 11 PIM
March Stats: 7GP, 7G-1A, +5, 11 PIM

Kobasew has been a scoring machine since being re-assigned by Pittsburgh, scoring a goal in each of his first six games with the WBS Penguins.

Pierre-Luc Leblond - Grade C

Season Stats: 59GP, 2G-4A, -3, 226 PIM
March Stats: 11GP, 1G-0A, +1, 22 PIM

Leblond tallied his second goal of the year on 3/15 against Norfolk. The team's enforcer has been just that. He's not doing anything to hurt his team's chances when on the ice, but with the playoffs around the corner his playing days this season may be limited to just the final eight games of the regular season. 

Beau Bennett - Grade Incomplete

Season Stats: 3GP, 0G-1A, Even, 0 PIM
March Stats: 3GP, 0G-1A, Even, 0 PIM

Bennett appeared in three AHL games on a conditioning stint and improved with each game.

Carter Rowney - Grade Incomplete

Season Stats: 18GP, 1G-2A, -1, 4 PIM
March Stats: 2GP, 0G-0A, +1, 2 PIM

Rowney was recently recalled from Wheeling after Beau Bennett's conditioning stint ended.

Josh Archibald - Grade Incomplete

Season Stats: 3GP, 1G-0A, +2, 2 PIM
March Stats: 3GP, 1G-0A, +2, 2 PIM

Archibald joined the Penguins last week and made an immediate impact, playing in the team's next three games following his arrival from the University of Nebraska-Omaha after a 29-goal performance in 37 games at UNO in his junior season.


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