It's been since early November since we took a peak at how the prospects are doing, so let's take a look.
John Curry [undrafted] - Aside from the poor outing in his only NHL action so far, Curry's had a tough season. His save percentage was .915% and .916% in his first two seasons in the AHL is down. His GAA has risen from 2.23 to 2.38 to 2.79 in the three seasons. In the summer months many were wondering if Curry was ready for the full-time jump to be the backup goalie in the NHL. From his performance, it seems GM Ray Shero was wise to pick up veteran Brent Johnson. Curry is still signed for the 2010-11 season, so perhaps he'll have the time to turn it around.
Patrick Killeen [6th round pick, 2008] - Killeen remains the starter for the Brampton Battalion, playing the lionshare of the games. His numbers seem solid, if not spectacular for a team that's about middle of the road as well. Killeen's playing for a professional contract and it remains to be seen if the Penguins will bring him along to the next level.
The rest of the prospects after the jump..
Alexander Pechurskiy [5th round pick, 2008] - Somewhat famously got a taste of NHL action under harsh circumstances and faired well. Now he's playing a lot of games on one of the best teams in the WHL and has hada few great outings and a few so-so ones.
Brad Thiessen [undrafted] - In his first professional season, Thiessen's gotten some time in the AHL, but he's obviously had more success at the lower ECHL level of competition. Neither of the Pens minor league teams have been consistent over the course of the season, but Thiessen still seems miles away from being NHL ready. And for a guy who's about to turn 24, one has to wonder what his future in this organization holds.
Robert Bortuzzo [3rd round pick, 2007] - Bortuzzo's had a solid first rookie season: he's got the second best +/- among defensemen on the team, he's adding physicality and seemed to slide in comfortably to life as a pro. Bortuzzo stood out in training camp, now he's settling in to earning his time as a 20/21 year improving player.
Simon Despres [1st round pick, 2009] - Simply put, Despres is the best defensemen on what's been Canada's best junior hockey team. Despres told our own Frank at the draft he wanted to work on his shot, and Despres' done well there too; he scored 3 goals in his first two seasons and already has 8 so far this season.
|Saint John Sea Dogs||QMJHL||51||8||30||38||27||66||4||1||4||129||6.2|
Ben Lovejoy [undrafted] - Lovejoy's done well when in Pittsburgh, but he remains outside of the Top 6 players, so when everyone's healthy, he's back in the minors. Also look how he barely gets 1 shot a game at the NHL, but it's about 2.75 shots/game in the minors. Sure, different roles and different levels, but if he gets more puck to the net, it might help him stick around.
Carl Sneep [2nd round pick, 2006] - Samuelsson's teammate, Sneep is leading the way for the defense on the #2 team in Hockey East. Sneep also scored a goal in the finals of the Beanpot Tournament. Sneep's a senior and expected to turn pro next sason.
Brian Strait [3rd round pick, 2006] - Strait has the best plus/minus among WB/S defensemen, and you rarely her about him. Considering he plays a defensive defenseman's simple game, that's a good thing. It's unclear if Strait can jump to the NHL next season, but it seems likely he could be a candidate for a call-up next season if he continues progressing like he has in his rookie professional season.
All in all, Lovejoy could be in the NHL next season but everyone else has a long trip. Prospects like Despres, Sneep and Strait could all carve out careers in the NHL but likely not soon. And guys like Samuelsson, Pechurskiy and Bortuzzo seem even further away.
Tomorrow, we take a look at the batch of forward prospects in the organization.