Stockpiling talented forwards becomes a priority for Penguins
The Penguins' quest to acquire and develop longterm, homegrown scoring wingers for elite centers Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin is soon going to be entering its second decade.
There's reason to believe that, at last, the search soon could bear some fruit.
“We have quite a few (recent) draft picks (at forward) that we're real excited about,” Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins coach John Hynes said from Penguins development camp this week.
In the Ray Shero era, the Penguins were known for drafting and developing defensemen.
Forwards? Not so much.
Setting aside Crosby, Malkin and Jordan Staal (each of whom never played a day of Junior or AHL hockey after being drafted by the Penguins), the organization has been lacking in producing NHL-ready forwards from within.
Ignoring their “Big Three” centers (Staal was traded in 2012), Penguins homegrown forwards have combined for 48 goals over the past three Penguins seasons — and some of those were from players skating as a fourth-line center.
The dearth of forward prospects has meant recent AHL Penguins scoring leaders were Chuck Kobasew (2014 playoffs), Tom Kostopoulos (2013-14 regular season) and Trevor Smith (2012-13), who were 32, 35 and 28 years old, respectively.
This season will be different, Hynes vowed.
“The dynamic of our team in Wilkes-Barre will change a little bit, just from the fact we won't have so many (AHL) free agents on our team to fill out those spots,” Hynes said. “(Now) we're going to be able to work with some young players, and that's exciting.”
Many of those players are in Pittsburgh this week. Some have a chance to crack the Penguins' lineup this season. Others will enter their first season as a professional at the AHL level.
Five of the organization's forwards who have exhibited varying levels of scoring touch at the major junior or NCAA level had brief auditions with Wilkes-Barre/Scranton last spring: Josh Archibald, Jean-Sebastien Dea, Bryan Rust, Conor Sheary and Scott Wilson.
“Definitely a benefit for those guys,” Hynes said. “It's helped them (this week) – you see the comfort level.”
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 to appear on national TV 18 times in 2015-16
- ‘Warning track’ makes Pittsburgh debut at Southpointe’s Iceoplex
- Penguins bring in analytics expert from Carnegie Mellon
- Pens assistant GM Fitzgerald leaves for Devils
- Penguins winger prospect Rust isn’t afraid of working hard
- Penguins co-owner Burkle stands to make big profit in selling team
- Russian winger Plotnikov could join Penguins in August
- Pens prospect Zlobin happy being back on ice
- Second-generation Loney sparkles in Penguins’ development camp scrimmage
- Financial experts suggest sale of Penguins could drag into fall
- Penguins notebook: Team to have plenty of forward options in camp