I put off writing this article until after the trade deadline and I'm glad I had. As we all very well know, Luca Caputi was traded to Toronto in the Poni deal. After the jump, I'll explain my takes on the Caputi trade, future forward lineups, and stock up and stock down prospects
First I'll start with the Caputi trade. Although Poni fills a huge gap in the Penguins system, he may end up only being a rental. Caputi showed a lot of promise and that he could be a top 6 forward in the near future. He had all the tools to potentially become a very good power forward, another thing the Penguins will need in the near future. To sum up, happy about Poni, unhappy about Caputi. Enough about that. Here's where my projected future lineup stands. Keep in mind, this is barring trades, busts, breakouts, new draft picks, and any other unnamed outside influences (alien abductions, etc.):
Line 1: Tangradi- Crosby- Pierro-Zabotel
Line 2: Hanowski- Malkin- Petersen
Line 3: Jeffrey- Staal- Nick Johnson
Line 4: Vitale- Talbot- Moon
13th forward: Letestu
Line 1: There is not much doubt in anybody's mind that in a few years, highly touted prospect Eric Tangradi will be flanking Sid. For those of you who don't know him, he brings a mix of size (6'4", 220lbs), strength, skill, and physicality. He can create havoc in front of the net, very good at capitalizing on chances, and a nasty force around the boards. He has drawn comparisons to Rick Tocchet and John Stevens, but he will probably spend another year in the AHL. Casey Pierro-Zabotel has not succeeded in AHL play in his first pro season. Last year's WHL leading scorer has been demoted to ECHL Wheeling for development. Some may think he is a bust, but he may end up being a long-term project (see Scuderi, Robert). He draws comparisons to Tomas Holmstrom for his good puck-handling and abilities to capitalize on chances close to the net. He has top line potential if he lives up to it.
Line 2: Caputi was probably going to end up flanking Malkin, but now I think it will be up to St.Cloud scorer Ben Hanowski and breakout Nick Petersen. Hanowski made headlines in high school, scoring 73 goals and 62 assists... in 31 games! He has made the transition to college very nicely with 8 goals and 10 assists in 34 games as a freshman at St.Cloud state. He has shown good skating ability, a deadly wrist shot, and good puck distribution ability, but will need to work on his play without the puck. Nick Petersen leads the QMJHL with a +43 rating, 35 goals, and 35 assists. He has shown a very accurate wrist shot and good defensive play. Expect to see him in the AHL soon.
Line 3: Nick Johnson and Dustin Jeffrey are both NHL ready prospects who have both shown that they can fill almost any role put before them. Johnson has shown that he may be ready for the full time NHL roster next year, while Jeffrey may need another year before a full time NHL role.
Line 4: Joe Vitale and Nathan Moon both show potential to be effective agitators in the NHL and Moon may eventually be a decent scorer, too.
Other forwards that could possibly make it would be grandson of former Penguin Andy Bathgate of the same name and fragile Keven Veileux
Rise- Nick Petersen- The Penguins chose the 20-year old in the 4th round, 121 overall, and have not regretted it. Since then he has had a breakout season, putting up great numbers and looks to turn pro soon.
Fall- Keven Veilleux- Although he has great playmaking ability and can overpower opposing defensemen, his health has been a huge issue as he has not played a full season in any league since 06-07
There you have it. Leave questions in the comments and hope you enjoyed this. I will write an article about the defensive prospects soon.
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