So our roster is looking quite deep at defence, but with only 2.2 million left in cap, it looks as though DB is going to have to pull up from WBS to fill out the roster.
Right now our lineup looks something like this
Now we need to at least promote or find via free agency 2 forwards and 1 defenceman. Here's a quick look at what we have stocked in the WBS http://www.hockeysfuture.com/articles/12146/penguins_ahlechl_prospects200910_review/
Dustin Jeffrey, C/W
Although he started the season playing center and posted three goals and 19 assists in his first 20 games, it was not until Jeffrey shifted to left wing that he became a goal-scoring threat for the Penguins. The biggest change was he started shooting the puck more. So much more that Jeffrey finished the season 10th in the league in shots on goal with 236. In 77 regular-season games, Jeffrey posted 24 goals, 47 assists, a plus-16 rating and registered only 16 penalty minutes. The 6’1 forward was also one of the top contributors on special teams, posting four goals and 15 assists on the power play and three goals and assists on the penalty kill. He is also among the team’s best penalty killers.
In four playoffs games, however, Jeffrey did not fare so well. Often matched against opponents' top lines, the forward finished with only one assist and a minus-five rating.
The switch to wing not only paid dividends for the 22-year-old forward but also for the Penguins organization, as it made parting with winger Luca Caputi at the NHL trade deadline less painful.
Jeffrey’s ability to play on the penalty kill as well as fill a variety of different roles at forward will increase the odds that he will eventually be an NHL contributor.
Mark Letestu, C
It has been a breakout season for the 25-year-old center from Elk Point, Alberta. Despite missing training camp and the first couple games of the season due to arthroscopic knee surgery, Letestu started strong out the gates and at no point slowed, let alone faltered. His consistently strong play earned him multiple call-ups to the NHL, the first being on November 14th and the most recent being against the Montreal Canadiens in the second round of the Stanley Cup playoffs.
As a member of the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins, Letestu was the team’s No. 1 center and a key offensive contributor, finishing fourth on the team with goals (21) and assists (34) through 63 games. He was also second on the team with a plus-21 rating. In Wilkes-Barre/Scranton’s four playoff losses to Albany, Letestu posted three assists and registered 19 shots.
Eric Tangradi, LW
Although he started his rookie professional season slowly, dislocating his shoulder in only his third game and missing a month of play, Tangradi has emerged as the Penguins prospect with the greatest NHL potential. He started out the season on a checking line with Joe Vitale and Tim Wallace. This allowed the 6’4 225-pound winger to develop his physical game and assimilate to the professional style of play without the added pressure of being depended on for offense. As his game matured and he learned to use his large frame to his advantage, the points started coming with regularity. By the beginning of January, Tangradi was one of the Penguins key contributors and started seeing regular time as a top-six forward and on the power play.
Tangradi would finish out the AHL regular season with 17 goals, including eight on the man-advantage, and 22 assists through 65 games. In his team’s four playoff appearances, Tangradi registered one goal and assist and a plus-two rating.
Nick Johnson, RW
At 6’2 and 202 pounds, Johnson has a prototypical hockey build. He is not afraid to battle in corners for loose pucks nor is he afraid to create havoc around the net. Johnson is also a competent defensive player, able to create turnovers in the neutral zone and has shown a willingness to block shots. He is also considered a calming locker-room presence.
Playing alongside Mark Letestu and Dustin Jeffrey on the Baby Pens top scoring line, Johnson posted 16 goals, 27 assists, a plus-19 rating, and two fights. He also saw regular duty on the man-advantage where he posted four power-play goals.
The 24-year-old’s package of skill, grit, and character make him a versatile forward who should not have any trouble one day finding work in the NHL
Brian Strait, D
The second member of the Baby Penguins shutdown defensive pairing, Strait posted a team-leading plus-22 rating to go along with two goals and 12 assists through 78 games. Like frequent defensive partner Robert Bortuzzo, Strait is known for blocking shots, shutting down passing lanes, and all-around sound defensive play. He is also a strong skater and a steady calming presence who rarely makes mistakes.
Along with increased ice time and responsibilities, expect the 22-year-old Strait to take on a greater leadership role with the team.
Ben Lovejoy, D
A player with size (6’2, 214 lbs), skill, and good on-ice awareness, Lovejoy has shown in his third season with the Penguins organization that he has little left to prove at the AHL level. Through 65 games, Lovejoy posted nine goals, 20 assists, and 92 penalty minutes including two fighting majors. More importantly, he started asserting himself physically in his own zone while still playing a steady defensive game.
After a 12-game stint in 2009-10 in which he at no point looked out of place, the 26-year-old defenseman will be expected to compete for a full-time spot for next season
who do you think we should pull up?