Penguins minor league notebook: Pressure on young forwards to deliver
WILKES-BARRE — The Penguins' lack of prospect depth at forward is on display in Wilkes-Barre this season in an interesting way.
Young forwards aren't scoring much. The Baby Pens' top-six scorers up front have at least three years' pro experience and were acquired via trade or free agency. The leading scorer is 35-year-old Tom Kostopoulos.
But when young forwards score, the Baby Pens win.
When at least one of the team's eight first- or second-year forwards scores a goal, the Baby Pens are 18-2-3. When they're held scoreless, the team is 16-18-5.
It's a stat that puts pressure on the young forwards to produce, which isn't necessarily a bad step in their development.
Jayson Megna, with 26 NHL games this season, is the most accomplished of the bunch. He has nine goals in 22 AHL games this season. Rookie Anton Zlobin and sophomore Tom Kuhnhackl have had their moments — both had eight goals heading into this weekend — but haven't been consistent.
Second-year pros Dominik Uher, Bobby Farnham and Adam Payerl are known more for their physicality than their scoring. Rookies Cody Sylvester and Carter Rowney have been with the ECHL's Wheeling Nailers for most of the season.
“We need the younger guys to get into that act,” coach John Hynes said. “It's something we've discussed as a team. When you get later into the season, we feel we have real quality veteran players, and those guys have been the core of our team throughout the year to carry us to where we are at this point, but you need to have some secondary guys coming up.”
On the mend
Zach Sill has returned to practice for the Baby Pens, wearing a red, no-contact jersey two months after he needed surgery to repair a skate-blade cut to his left arm.
The gritty, 25-year-old center expects to be back in the lineup before the end of the regular season.
“I hate the red jersey. I hate what it signifies,” Sill said. “But it is nice to be out there with the guys.”
Where he left off
Chuck Kobasew, waived and sent down by the Penguins at the trade deadline, carried a five-game, nine-year AHL scoring streak into this weekend.
Kobasew hit the scoresheet in his last three games of the 2004-05 lockout season with the AHL's Lowell Lock Monsters, spent the next eight seasons in the NHL, then scored goals in his first two games with the Baby Pens last weekend.
“That's what we expected from him, but he delivered,” Hynes said.
Hard to figure
Matia Marcantuoni, the Penguins' fourth-round pick in the 2012 draft, was expected to join the Baby Pens on an amateur tryout contract this weekend.
A 6-foot, 189-pound center, Marcantuoni is an interesting prospect. The Penguins like his speed and energy and see him as a bottom-six difference maker someday.
His stats, however, are unimpressive. He had 15 goals, 32 points and a minus-30 rating in 54 games for the OHL's Kitchener Rangers this season.
Jonathan Bombulie has covered the Baby Pens for the Citizens' Voice in Wilkes-Barre since the team's inception in 1999. Reach himvia email at email@example.com.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Penguins get their man in making trade with Toronto for Kessel
- Penguins notebook: Rutherford proves savvy in deal
- Starkey: Rutherford hits jackpot with Kessel
- Penguins notebook: Sheary hoping to return to organization
- Shopping season starts up for Penguins amid onset of free agency
- Penguins deflect trade inquiries, decide to stand pat during NHL Draft
- Penguins intend to sign Russian winger Plotnikov, target Tikhonov
- Scouts think Penguins could regain luster with minor tinkering
- Downie, Ehrhoff lead list of likely Penguins leaving in free agency
- Penguins bringing back defenseman Cole with 3-year extension