The Pittsburgh Penguins 2015 prospect development camp drew to a close with an open scrimmage attended by 5000 fans on Saturday. Nearly half of those players, including most of the invitees, will be heading back to school. The remaining prospects and invitees will be back again for the rookie tournament in September.
The camp veterans with NHL experience stood out and it was clear they had done this before. In particular, defenseman Derrick Pouliot was on a whole different level as he skated end to end with the puck, undressing players. Bryan Rust also stood at due to his hard work and nose for the puck, although his stat sheet was not representative of how well he actually played the game.
The real standouts on the scoreboard, however, were the new guys. Ty Loney, who was signed out of Denver as an undrafted free agent, had a hat trick, and then scored once again with the shootout winner. He looks to be pushing for big minutes in the AHL this year. Recently signed Czech center Dominik Simon was a workhorse and was rewarded with two goals. 2015 second-round pick Daniel Sprong played just as the scouting reports suggested: he’s an offensive dynamo that needs to work on his two-way game.
Reigning AHL goaltender of the year Matt Murray made the game look easy in goal. Granted, he didn’t have to stop much, but what he did was with skill and poise. Tristan Jarry, on the other hand, had a really rough afternoon. He did get hung out to dry a few times, but his performance left a lot to be desired, he looks as if he could certainly benefit from an adjustment period as an ECHL starter. Sean Maguire looked pretty solid after missing an entire season due to injury. His positioning and rebound control were spot on, but he did get undressed on a couple chances.
The other experienced AHL were more of a mixed bag, but none of them looked bad. Conor Sheary had a fairly solid showing on the scoreboard, but considering how he played last year he wasn’t as dominant as he could have been. Jean-Sebastien Dea started off a bit slow, but he had a strong finish. Anton Zlobin connected for one of the goals, but overall, he looked tentative in his first game in months. Clark Seymour played a responsible, stay-at-home role on defense.
Amongst the Penguins’ college prospects there were some impressive performances, but they all still need work before they are ready to hit the pros. Jake Gunetzel and Teddy Blueger both looked good despite their team’s lack of scoring. Blaine Byron and Troy Josephs stood out again this year for their offensive prowess. Big defensemen Dane Birks and Ryan Segalla both were able to gets pucks on net from the point, while still staying in position to defend.
Power forward Anthony Angello appeared as if he would have done a little better if he wasn’t worried about holding back so as to not hurt his teammates. Russian center Nikita Pavlychev is a giant, but he has a lot of work to do still. He especially needs to hit the gym to bulk up his lanky frame. Jeff Taylor, an undersized offensive defenseman, was good with the puck but he still needs to work on his total game.
Photo credit: Pittsburgh Penguins