Yesterday we took a look at some of the prospects making names for themselves in Penguins prospect camp, among them Philip Samuelsson, Rob Madore and Andre Blazek. Today we'll take a little look at a few others who are turning some heads in camp.
Tom Kuhnhackl is a name that was thrown around a bit in some of the comments on yesterday's post. I guess one thing I didn't really consider with Kuhnhackl's presence in camp is his adjustment to the rink. After all, the international rink is much bigger, inviting the use of long passes, breakout plays and slow momentum. Now, in camp, the Tribune-Review's Annie Maroon writes:
If Kuhnhackl had a hard time adjusting, it doesn't show in his statistics. He finished the year with 39 goals and 29 assists for 68 points in 63 games. In the postseason, when the Spitfires lost in the OHL's Western Conference Finals, he led the team with 23 points in 18 games.
The Pens selected Kuhnhackl 110th overall in the 2010 Draft, so his presence in camp is at least a good sign that they're keeping him in the team's plans.
Defenseman Simon Despres, taking 30th overall in 2009, is another prospect worthy of consideration in camp this season. We all had a chance to watch him play in the preseason last season, and a few lucky ones even had the opportunity to watch him lend a hand in leading the QMJHL's St. John Sea Dogs to a record-setting 58 wins en route to the Memorial Cup victory.
Despres immediate future is still a question mark, but there's no doubt he's going somewhere in the right direction within the Penguins' organization:
"Winning the Memorial Cup finished off a very good junior career, and I think I'm ready to take on my pro career," Despres said. "I really don't know what to think. I'm going into camp thinking I want to make the team and I want to work hard to do that, but if I have to go to Wilkes-Barre (of the AHL) I will work that much harder just to get to the NHL."
The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette's Shelly Anderson tossed up an article geared toward the progress of prospect Kevin Veilleux. At 6-foot-5, you'd expect that kind of frame to be locked somewhere in the defensive end. But Veilleux is making it work as a forward. Based on his willingness to drop the mitts (122 penalty minutes) on top of potting a few goals(12g, 24a last season with Wilkes-Barre/Scranton), I can't help but draw the comparison to a young Ryan Malone. Stick that big body in front of the net, screen a few goalies and if the defenseman gets a lil scrappy then watch him drop the gloves and knock some teeth out. There are plenty of options for Dan Bylsma to work with when it comes to a player like that.