Welcome back to our series on the Top 25 players under 25, if you missed the first part, check it out here for #25 - 21.
20. Adam Payerl
19. Bryan Rust
Turning pro after four seasons at Notre Dame, Rust will finally make his profession debut this fall four plus years after being drafted in the 3rd round in 2010. According to Ian Altenbaugh, he might be worth the wait.
"His game is versatile, as he played a lot of different roles in college," Ian said in his Top 20 list. "He is defensively responsible, and at 6’0 and over 190 pounds his size should not be a hindrance. He is not a game-breaking talent though, and his ceiling is probably that of a third line forward who can chip in offensively."
Rust probably starts his career in Wilkes-Barre and then depending on how his transition to the pro game goes, could be on track for a potential NHL call-up as soon as he shows he's ready. That might not be next season, but at least the player is in the organization and able to start down his path.
18. Dominik Uher
Uher, a 5th round pick in 2011, turned pro at a very young age. Still at 21 years old, Uher has finished two pro seasons and improved all his offensive numbers in his second season in the AHL. Not content with that, Uher has aims to make an impact in the NHL this season.
"This is the first year I’m spending the whole summer in North America," Uher said. "Trying to get in the best shape of my life so I’m ready for training camp. If there’s a chance (to make the NHL roster) I want to take it seriously. That’s my goal."
Ian sees Uher's strengths as fitting in perfectly on the bottom six, saying: "Uher plays a nasty, cantankerous style of game that drives opponents crazy. He hits, chirps, and possesses enough skill to play a complementary role in the top nine. He is also a strong defensive presence and is very good at killing penalties."
It will remain to be seen if Uher has the overall skillset to make the jump to the NHL at this time, but it certainly seems like this player's arrow is trending upwards and he might be making his NHL debut at some point in 2014-15.
17. Jean-Sebastien Dea
The two things that jump off the page when looking at J-S Dea's starts are his gaudy goal scoring numbers (94 goals in the past two seasons in the Q) and his low weight (he's been listed anywhere from 157 - 170 pounds). This year we will certainly learn about more about Dea, who's goal scoring ability and ability to remain in the lineup will be tested as he jumps to the pros
Signed as an undrafted free agent by the Pens, Dea represents a unique prospect in the organization at this time- he's one of the few pure goal scoring forwards the team has at a young age. It remains to be seen how his transition to the pros goes, hopefully for a rookie season he can establish himself as a reasonable point producer at the AHL level to take a step forward in these rankings for next season.
16. Philip Samuelsson
Finalizing today's portion of the list is 2011's second round draft pick, who has a chance to make the full-time transition to the NHL this training camp. With Brooks Orpik and Matt Niskanen departed, the Pens will need some internal replacements. Samuelsson made his NHL debut in 2013-14, playing a few games for the team when they were in a pinch with injuries.
"Philip plays a steady, defensive style of game," Ian's profile reads. "Predicated around getting in shooting lanes, blocking shots, and transitioning the puck out of the defensive zone. He does occasionally lay a big hit, and at 6’2 and about 200 pounds, he has the size to make those hits hurt."
Samuelsson will be waiver eligible if Pittsburgh decides to send him down, which may factor into their options for the back-end of their roster. He could slot in as a 6-7-8 guy off the bat this year (if there is cap room to keep an 8th defenseman, that is) so it will be a very relevant storyline later this month to see how he performs and how the team decides to build their team.