Usually my Friday column is reserved for a look at stats, but with the beginning of the month conveniently lining up with a Friday and Hooks Orpik already providing us with an excellent analysis of NHL player performances for the month of October, I decided to go ahead with our monthly Pittsburgh Penguins Prospect Update. If you would like to refresh your memory, the October Edition is available as well.
The Pens leading D prospect, Derrick Pouliot has picked up where he left off last season with the WHL Portland Winterhawks. Shortly after his return from Pittsburgh's NHL Training Camp Pouliot was named an Alternate Captain in Portland, and since then they have reclaimed their place as the #1 team in the WHL with a 12-3-0-1 record. He has already regained his title as top scoring D on the team with 3 Goals and 15 Points in 12 games, and he is also tied for the overall team lead with a +14 rating. He has been playing on both the PP and the PK, with 2 of his Goals and 4 of his Assists coming on the PP while 1 of his Assists came whilst shorthanded.
In quite a pleasant surprise, Pens goaltending prospect Matthew Murray is having a breakout year with the OHL Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds. He is currently 8-1-0-2 with 2 shutouts and a 1.98 GAA and 0.934 Sv%. He has helped lead SOO to a great start, they are currently #2 in the Western Conference and #3 in the entire OHL, but by overall Points% they are actually #1.
Recently signed forward prospect Matia Marcantuoni is off to a good start with the OHL Kitchener Rangers, he has 4 Goals 8 Points in 12 games, which makes him the 2nd highest scorer on his team. Its especially impressive considering that the Rangers currently sit at dead last in the OHL with a 4-8-0-0 record and the lowest Goals For in the league as well. Individually though, Marcantuoni continues to impress as a speedy skater capable of contributing in all 3 zones and playing both PP and PK. 2 of his Goals and 1 of his Assists were scored on the PP.
Quite surprisingly, Pens D prospect Clark Seymour has turned out to be quite an impressive offensive force on the blue line this season, racking up 1 Goal and 8 Points in 11 games with the OHL Peterborough Petes. He has already tied his Sophomore total and is just 5 Points shy of what he got over the entire 62 games he played last season. Quite a pleasant surprise from a player we had assumed was just a big physical defensive D. He has even gotten work on the PP, which is where he scored his lone Goal and 1 Assist, and was named an Alternate Captain for the 7-7-0-1 Petes who currently sit at #6 in the Eastern Conference and #13 in the OHL.
The newest goaltending prospect, Tristan Jarry was off to a rough start as he adjusted to the new responsibilities that came with being named a starting goaltender this season, but recently has gotten back to what we expected from him after his amazing performances last season. The WHL Edmonton Oil Kings starter currently has an 8-6-0-1 record with 1 shutout and a 2.39 GAA and 0.910 Sv%. However, if we overlook his rough start in September and focus just on his October performance, Jarry is 6-4-0-1 with a 1.80 GAA and 0.930 Sv%. So he looks to be back on track to have another excellent season. The Oil Kings as a team though are struggling a bit, currently sitting at #5 in the Eastern Conference and #11 in the WHL.
Recently signed summer standout Jean-Sebastien Dea has also been doing a good job of lighting up the scoreboard, with an astounding 12 Goals and 14 Points in 15 games with the QMJHL Rouyn-Noranda Huskies. He is also an impressive 228 for 369 for 61.8% at the faceoff dot, and he plays both PP and PK, with 5 of his Goals scored on the PP and 1 Goals and 1 Assist scored shorthanded. The Huskies are currently #5 in the QMJHL with a 10-5-1-1 record.
He is still listed as In the System on the Pens website, so I still like to keep an eye on Alexander Pechurski of the KHL Mettalurg Magnitogorsk. He is 2-0-1-1 with a 2.30 GAA and .914 Sv% as a backup for the #3 in the East and #5 in the KHL Mettalurg who are currently 12-2-5-4.
The Pens only real Euro prospect is forward Oskar Sundqvist who currently has 1 Goal and 3 Points in 17 games with the SHL Skellefteå AIK. He has been playing on the Bottom 6 and has actually gotten some work on the wing as well as his usual Center position this year, although his faceoffs are an unimpressive 25 for 54 for 46.3%. He has worked really hard on improving his temper and has a mere 2 Penalty Minutes so far this year. He continues to play with a physical edge, and has been pretty responsible defensively having only 1 goal against, and has quit taking dumb penalties, so all in all his development looks to be coming along nicely.
Bryan Rust, Alternate Captain of the Notre Dame Fighting Irish is currently off to a rough start, only 2 Assists in 6 games, with both being scored on the PP. He is getting work on both the PP and the PK this season, and hopefully it will just be a matter of time before the scoring picks up to the pace he was on last season.
Josh Archibald of the University of Nebraska-Omaha Mavericks is off to a hot start, with a team leading 4 Goals and a #2 6 Points in 6 games and going 30 for 41 for 73.2% at the faceoff dot. 1 Goal and 1 Assist came on the PP.
Scott Wilson of the University of Massachusettes Lowell River Hawks is another struggling prospect considering his output in previous season, he has a mere 2 Assists in 6 games with 1 of those Assists coming on the PP.
Theodor Blueger of Minnesota State University Mankato Mavericks has had a decent start with 1 Goal and 2 Points in 4 games with his lone Goal being scored on the PP.
Sean Maguire of the Boston University Terriers is back as a co-starter again this year, with an unimpressive 1-2-0-0 start but an excellent 2.03 GAA and .941 Sv% despite the 2 losses.
Jake Guentzel of the University of Nebraska-Omaha Mavericks is doing quite well for a Freshman, with 1 Goal, scored on the PP, and 3 Points in 6 games while going a respectable 47 of 87 for 54.0% at the faceoff dot.
Ryan Segalla of the University of Connecticut Huskies has yet to register a Point in his 3 games, but he has been playing fairly responsible defensively for a Freshman.
Blaine Byron of the University of Maine Black Bears has been extremely good for a Freshman, he already has 2 Goals and 5 Points in 5 games, with 1 of his Goals being scored on the PP.
Dane Birks is committed to play in the NCAA, but is currently still playing with the BCHL Merritt Centennials, he currently has 1 Goal and 9 Points in 18 games, his lone Goal being scored on the PP, which is pretty decent for a D.
Troy Josephs of Clarkson University Golden Knights has 1 Goal so far in 6 games, which is not great, but for a Freshman it is not particularly troubling.