Yesterday we took a look at the forward prospects of the Pittsburgh Penguins and how they're fairing in far flung placs and leagues from colleges to junior teams to lower level professional leagues. Today it's time to turn our attention to the goalie and defensemen and how the early part of their season is going in their quest to make it to the NHL.
John Curry [undrafted] - Curry is now in his third season with the Baby Pens and so far he's putting up personal highs in save percentage and goals against. While it must have been disappointing to see Pittsburgh go out and sign a veteran in Brent Johnson, Curry's been nothing but solid and reliable whenever he's been called on. Johnson only has a contract for this season, so perhaps this season will be Curry's last at the AHL level.
Patrick Killeen [6th round pick, 2008] - Killeen has been the workhorse for Brampton (playing in 15 of the 16 games so far). The team is in last place in their division, but that's probably because they are last in the entire OHL in goals scored. Killeen's not getting much support, but it seems he's doing a decent job keeping them in games.
The rest of the prospects after the jump..
Alexander Pechurski [5th round pick, 2008] - All the stat lines I've seen have suprisingly shown Pechurski appearing in 0 games for the KHL leading team, Magnitogorsk Metallurg (Evgeni Malkin's old team). However he is just 19 playing in a top league like the KHL (where Sergei Fedorov is among his teammates) so he has to at least be practicing with the team, right?
Brad Thiessen [undrafted] - Thiessen has been brought along slowly as he transitions to the professional game. He's appeared in just two games this season with Wilkes-Barre, in part due to how well Curry's played.
Robert Bortuzzo [3rd round pick, 2007] - One of the surprising stories from training camp was the strong play of Bortuzzo. By all accounts he's continued to play well in his rookie season, highlighted by getting sucker-punched by AHL tough guy Trevor Gillies. Welcome to the pros, kid.
Simon Despres [1st round pick, 2009] - St. John is currently the top team in "the Q", riding a current nine game winning streak. Despres' been a big part of that. Despres told Pensburgh at the draft he wanted to shoot more and become more of an offensive force and he's got 5 goals this young season already. Compare that to the three goals he scored in his first 130 games in the Q and the strides are noticable.
|Saint John Sea Dogs||QMJHL||17||5||6||11||4||30||4||1||2||46||10.86|
Ben Lovejoy [undrafted] - Lovejoy had a rough training camp, possibly because he had a shoulder injury that knocked him out of about the first month of the season. Now he's back and back in the AHL, probably waiting for an injury before he gets a chance back in the NHL.
Carl Sneep [2nd round pick, 2006] - Sneep is now a senior at BC, a teammate to Samuelsson and a leader of that team. Though he's got a lot of college experience, Sneep is only now about to turn 22, which means he will join the professional ranks as a seasoned but still somewhat young player.
Brian Strait [3rd round pick, 2006] - Strait was set to be the captain of the defending national champion BU Terriers before he jumped to the pros by signing with Pittsburgh. Strait's role is the steady partner, and by all accounts he's had a geat start to his rookie year, leading WB/S defensemen in plus/minus.