The New Guys in Town

Nick Johnson is in the midst of an impressive seven game point scoring streak and recently notched his 20th goal of the season, his 10th power play goal earlier this week.

I'm sure most of you guys at PensBurgh know relatively little about the four WB/S players that were called up so I'm gonna give you the details. The four recently recalled were Joe Vitale, Nick Johnson, Ryan Craig and Brett Sterling.

After the jump a brief scouting type report and my insights on these four guys.

RW Nick Johnson: 48 games played - 20G, 19A and 10 PPG

Johnson might have the best vision of all the WB/S players I have seen this season. He was in the midst of a seven game point scoring streak before being recalled and led the Pens with 20 goals before being recalled to Pittsburgh.  He spent most of the season on the second line but was always a force on the power play. He's not overly physical and hasn't seen much of any time on the penalty kill but he's a play-making winger that could be of some use for Pittsburgh with their inability to create offense.

 

LW Brett Sterling: 46 games played - 18G, 21A and 6 PPG

Sterling is a small guy with decent speed and great scoring ability. He's usually the last guy back on defense and the first guy out of the zone to get on the attack, but he has been able to score at the AHL level. Not a very physical type player who spends a lot his ice time in the offensive zone.  He has been back and forth between the WBS Pens' top two lines and has played a lot with Dustin Jeffrey in the AHL.

 

C Joe Vitale: 50 games played - 8G, 19A and 3 GWG (Game winning goals)

Vitale is far and away the hardest working player night in and night out in WB/S.  He's got great speed and is relentless on the forecheck. He isn't the biggest guy at 5-11 but he plays much bigger and hits everything that moves. Decent on the faceoffs and between Vitale and Zach Sill, the best penalty killer WB/S has had this season. The eight goals might not seem very promising but Vitale was a second/third line center who specialized on the penalty kill and wasn't given much power play time this season. His eight goals also already surpassed his total from 74 games last year.  Good to see Vitale get rewarded for his great work ethic.

 

C Ryan Craig: 49 games played - 13G, 20A and 4 GWG 

Craig was the WB/S captain and a true leader on the ice.  He is a good two-way forward that played a pivotal role for the AHL Pens on both the power play and penalty kill. He could fit into the grinder role on the 3rd/4th line for the NHL Penguins well as he never backs down from delivering a body check or even dropping the gloves to stick up for his teammates.

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