Breaking Down The Penguins Rookie Camp Roster - Part 2 Forwards

Friday, September 12, 2014
Anton Zlobin (left) and Conor Sheary (right) look to lead Penguins' forward this weekend at the rookie tournament. Photo credit: @ItsJacki.
Editor's note: If you missed Part 1 on the goaltenders and defensemen on the Pens' rookie camp roster, you can check that out here.

We are about 24 hours from the Pittsburgh Penguins prospects taking on prospects from the Ottawa Senators organization in this weekend's annual rookie tournament in London, Ontario. The wait for Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins fans to see and hear about familiar faces in some exhibition matches is just about over.

The forwards offer two players on a tryout to replace two forwards who won't be participating due to injury. With 13 forwards on the roster, it looks as though everyone should get some decent ice time this weekend with three games on the slate.

The Pens' 1st round pick from 2014 Kasperi Kapanen is not playing this weekend due to an apparent finger injury he suffered over the summer. Jaden Lindo, the Pens' 6th round pick this past summer, is still out of action with a knee injury that also forced Lindo out of the team's annual development camp in July.

In on a tryout is Christophe Lalancette, a former San Jose Sharks draft pick turned free agent. Local product Patrick McGrath, a Shavertown, Pa. native, was also invited to the Penguins rookie camp roster. McGrath comes to rookie camp having signed an ECHL deal with the Pens' affiliate in Wheeling over the summer. He's coming to London with something to prove.

I caught up with McGrath before he left for the rookie tournament and will have his story in a broader, more full preview of this weekend's rookie tournament in London, Ontario. Check back Saturday morning for that.
Missing in Action

Jaden Lindo - Owen Sound Attack (OHL)

Lindo, the Pens' 6th round pick (173rd overall) in 2014, didn't participate on-ice at development camp because of a knee ailment. He finished his second season in the OHL last year with 18 points (9G-9A) in 40 games.

Kasperi Kapanen - KalPa Kuopio (SM-Liga)

Kapanen, 18, is the youngest player on the Pens rookie camp roster but he's certainly generating a lot of hype. The Pens' first round pick in the 2014 NHL Draft is looking to make the NHL roster out of training camp and this rookie tournament gives him another chance to make an impression before main NHL training camp starts later next month.


Josh Archibald - University of Nebraska-Omaha (NCHC)

Archibald, 21, is coming off a spectacular season at UNO where he tallied 29 goals on the way to being named a finalist for the 2014 Hobey Baker Award. Upon joining the AHL Penguins on an amateur tryout last spring, Archibald scored his first pro goal in his second pro game and his first playoff goal in his first appearance in the 2014 Calder Cup Playoffs. For more on Archibald, take a look at this piece on the goal-scoring forward who signed his entry-level NHL contract this summer.

Jean-Sebastien Dea - Rouyn-Noranda Huskies (QMJHL)

Speaking of goal-scoring forwards, Dea, 20, is coming off of back-to-back regular season goal totals of 45 and 49 in the QMJHL and has a pure goal-scoring ability relatively unmatched amongst his peers. Dea will have to improve on rounding out his overall game and adding some size to his smaller frame, but could be among the next generation of offensive talents in Wilkes-Barre come this fall. I caught up with Dea at the Pens Development camp in 2013 when he was a tryout and told his story here.

Tom Kuhnhackl - Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins & Wheeling Nailers (ECHL)

Kuhnhackl, 22, is at a crossroads entering this season having injury-filled seasons to start his pro career and not excelling at the AHL level at the start of last season before being re-assigned to Wheeling for the postseason. Kuhnhackl scored goals in bunches in the ECHL, but with a large group of incoming forwards and Kuhnhackl being in the last year of his entry level contract, now is as good a time as ever for him to make an impression before the puck drops on the 2014-15 season.

Christophe Lalancette - Drummondville Voltigeurs (QMJHL)

One of few tryouts invited to the Penguins rookie camp, Lalancette is a former San Jose Sharks 4th round draft pick from 2012 who was not retained and is one of two tryouts (see below) on the roster. The concerns have been with strength, drive and puck battles but Lalancette seemed to be stronger and more engaged in battles he easily lost the year prior to last season.

Matia Marcantuoni - Kitchener Rangers (OHL)

Marcantuoni's blazing speed was front and center at the development camp scrimmage, as he blew past Brian Dumoulin and set up Adam Payerl for the first goal of the afternoon. After a four year stint with Kitchener (42 goals, 56 assists in 184 games), Marcantuoni made his pro debut in the AHL Penguins regular season finale up in Utica, NY back in April. He will be turning pro in the fall and is looking to stick on the AHL roster out of camp.

Patrick McGrath - Wheeling Nailers (ECHL)

McGrath, the 21-year-old local product from Shavertown, Pa., is the other player on the roster besides Christophe Lalancette who is attending the rookie tournament with the Penguins on a tryout contract. McGrath is an agitator much like that of a Bobby Farnham type, who is relentless and physical. In his first season of pro hockey, McGrath registered one assist and 176 penalty minutes in 45 games with Wheeling last season. McGrath signed an ECHL contract with the Nailers this summer.

Adam Payerl - Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins (AHL)

At 23, Payerl is the oldest forward on the Penguins rookie camp. He's also the most experienced forward of the group, having the only NHL experience (2 games in 2013-14) on the entire roster. To top it off, Payerl is the biggest forward of the bunch at 6-3, 218 and the power forward is looking to prove he can play in a bottom six role and be effective on every shift this fall.

Bryan Rust - Notre Dame (Hockey-East)

Rust, 22, got his first taste of pro hockey last spring with the AHL Penguins after finishing his senior season - 33 points (17G-16A) in 40 games - at Notre Dame. Rust appeared in three games, including one playoff game, last season in the AHL and has come into camp ready to learn and soak it all in as he enters his rookie season in the fall.

Conor Sheary - UMass-Amherst (Hockey-East) & Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins (AHL)

After leading UMass as captain last fall, Sheary finished his collegiate career andmade an immediate impact upon arriving in Wilkes-Barre. Sheary finished the 2014 Calder Cup Playoffs with 11 points (6G-5A) in 15 games, tied for second most goals on the Penguins along with then-rookie Anton Zlobin. Only on an AHL contract, Sheary wants to make an impression on the new management in Pittsburgh and what better time than now.

Oskar Sundqvist - Skelleftea AIK (SHL)

Gaining more responsibility on his Swedish league team has paid off in spades for his development. Sundqvist, 20, is already competing against men in Sweden and is playing well. From what I've seen in person at development camp the last two years, he's a big, rangy forward with a great shot and good puck control. Ian Altenbaugh from Hockey's Future had this to say about Sundqvist's development with Skelleftea.

Dominik Uher - Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins (AHL)

Uher comes to rookie camp as one of the more seasoned veterans, entering his third season at the pro level this fall. The feisty Czech forward is a menace on the forecheck and is efficient on the penalty kill - two things he's looking to show he can do consistently to make an impression on the NHL staff.

Scott Wilson - UMass-Lowell (Hockey-East)

Wilson was a leader on UMass-Lowell his senior season and looks to be a solid two-way forward who isn't overly flashy in any way but a well-rounded prospect fresh out of college and ready for his first full season of pro hockey in the fall. I watched Wilson in a game against Penn State early last fall and had this blurb on him.

Anton Zlobin - Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins (AHL)

Zlobin found his game at a crucial point of the year and carried his play through the postseason, with six goals and several game-winning tallies in last spring's run to the Eastern Conference finals. With a good rookie tournament and training camp, Zlobin could be poised for a breakout season in his sophomore season of pro hockey.


Post a Comment