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Thread: Current state of the team?

  1. #1
    Pro Bowler D Rock's Avatar
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    Current state of the team?

    whats the current thoughts on all these WB/S guys getting some time in the big leagues?

    Seeing as how the Pens went on a big run earlier this year to put themselves in solid playoff standing, I think this is a bit of a silver lining.

    As long as the guys out now take their time and really get healed up, they will be fresh for the playoffs. And this is valuable learning time for a lot of young guys, and a great chance for the FO to see what they have in some of these players.


    I like how Kennedy has stepped up his scoring lately.

    Fleury is holding this team together right now.

    At least the defense has been healthy.

  2. #2
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    Re: Current state of the team?

    The NHL insiders are saying that Crosby may not return this season and that there are currently discussions in the organization about shutting him down.

    The big trade yesterday was another win for Shero. Neal is a young, 6'2" 210 pound power forward. He is good on the forecheck and has a quick wrister from the slot. He can score with toughness and effort in front of the net and with accurate shooting from moderate distances. Niskannen has had some poor seasons since a great rookie year. But, he is a young two-way defensemen with legit NHL skill. Both are under contract for next season. Neal may already be the best winger on this team (sorry Kunitz).

    We lost Goligoski, but with Simon Despres ready to play next season, it was not a big loss.

    As far as the youngsters go...

    Jeffery is a young winger with a scoring touch (as a passer and shooter). He has decent size (6'1 205) and gives good effort (though I'd like to see him play a little more physically given his size). He will turn 23 this week so he is still young. He scored 71 points (24 goals) in 77 games for the Baby Pens last season. He was only a sixth round pick, but he will likely develop into a legit second line winger who scores 20 goals a season.

    Vitale is a grinder, not much more. He brings energy and throws his body around.

    Sterling is 26 years old and is small. He has a nice scoring touch and has decent wheels. But, he'll likely never overcome his size.

    Nick Johnson is a 25 year old with some scoring touch (though not as much as the younger Jeffrey). He hasn't been up long. I haven't seen much that I like about his game in the defensive end. But, He was +20 last season in Wilkes-Barre. Some confuse him with Nick Petersen who is a 21 year old forward in our system who was invited to camp this season. Petersen is probably a couple of years away, but the organization like him.

    Wallace has been up and down for a while. He has some skill, can scrap, and gives great effort. But, I see him as a 4th line check guy at best.

    Letestu is still out, but he is the best of our rookie forwards this season. He is very smart and responsible defensively. He also can center scoring lines or grinding lines which is a big advantage for him and will keep him in the lineup as long as he is healthy. He has good vision, a little scoring touch, good instincts, and a great understanding of our system. I think Bylsma sees himself in Letestu.

    Conner has been fun to watch all season and is a fair 3rd line energy guy. He has electric speed and burst. And competes along the boards better than you'd expect for such a small guy. He has a good shot when he can find some space. However, he is 27 years old and likely won't improve much.

    It is too bad that Tangradi is concussed. He was injured on a dirty play in that crazy Islanders game. The hope is that Tangradi will become a physical, Ryan Malone-type net presence. He always looks slow to me and doesn't have the scoring touch of newly acquired Neal. I think he can be a third liner, who fill in on the top lines when needed. In a year or two, he should be able to be a regular.

    The pens have a lot of young defensemen in the system. Strait played last night. Simon Despres (6'4 205) is pretty much a lock to be an NHL starter. He is still very young (19), but he made a good case to make the team this season in camp. Barring injury or setback, we should see him as a #5 or #6 defensemen next season. He is a good skater and passer. He has great size and is still filling out. The scouts say he is very hockey smart and can play in all situations. Carl Sneep and Phillip Samuelseon both have a some NHL potential as well. Sneep's development has been a little slower than anticipated. Samuelson is Ulf's son, but he plays more like Z. Michalek than Ulf.
    Even if Bill Belichick was getting an atomic wedgie, his face would look exactly the same.

  3. #3
    Legend RuthlessBurgher's Avatar
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    Re: Current state of the team?

    I was surprised that they traded Goligoski (I figured they'd make a deal involving future draft picks or prospects), but I love how it turned out.

    Neal is a younger, bigger, stronger version of Kunitz with more of a scoring touch. He is finally the young (23) winger (20 goals in each of his first 3 NHL seasons) that we've been looking for to team up with Sid (when healthy).

    Niskanen seemed to be on the same path that Goligoski was on in his first couple of seasons in the league, but has fallen off in the last season and a half. Perhaps he just meshed well with Dave Tippett's scheme and struggled under the system Marc Crawford implemented (since the change for the worse in his game coincided exactly with that coaching change). Hopefully Bylsma, Granato, and Reirden are able to tap into what made this kid (only 24) so promising so early.

    Niskanen should be able to handle the #5 D role pairing up with Engelland or Lovejoy for the 3rd D-pairing. Goligoski will be able to get more of an opportunity in Dallas as one of their top 4 D-men that he didn't get here with Letang, Orpik, Martin, and Michalek in front of him. I don't think this hurts our even strength blue line much at all, and while we may miss Gogo improvisational ability on the power play at times, I think with more PP time, Martin may start to flourish more in that role now with a greater opportunity there.

    I think Goligoski for Neal straight up would have been a fair trade...getting Niskanen was certainly icing on the cake. These guys will help out now with all of our injuries, and should be with us for the foreseeable future as well. It is funny that Crosby and Niskanen fought earlier this season.

  4. #4
    Pro Bowler D Rock's Avatar
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    Re: Current state of the team?

    and Kennedy just keeps rolling. 7 goals in the last 11 games I think it is.

    What do you guys think of him overall? I've never really heard anyone come down strongly about him on either side of the fence.

  5. #5
    Legend RuthlessBurgher's Avatar
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    Re: Current state of the team?

    Quote Originally Posted by D Rock
    and Kennedy just keeps rolling. 7 goals in the last 11 games I think it is.

    What do you guys think of him overall? I've never really heard anyone come down strongly about him on either side of the fence.
    Like his speed, his tenacity for digging pucks out of the corners and cycling it around, his shot from the circle to the goalie's right side. Always thought that he, like Dupuis, looking at their raw skills, should produce more often than they do. Kennedy finally is. He has been playing like a 3rd line winger, who is now playing like a 2nd line winger (and has been conducting himself like a top line guy since both Sid and Geno have been on the shelf).

    What happens when (hopefully it's a when and not an if) Sid comes back?
    Letestu could be back as early as this weekend. Kunitz is skating now too.

    Do Neal and Kovy automatically become Sid's wingers?
    Does Kennedy stay with Staal, possibly with Kunitz when he's back?
    Cooke, Letestu, and Dupuis on the 3rd line?
    Rupp, Adams, and Talbot on the 4th?

    Perhaps they keep Neal with Staal (since they'll have some time together) and keep Kunitz with Sid, since they have been together for so long.

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