Saturday's scrimmage among the Penguins prospects and invited participants was highlighted by a familiar name as Ty Loney, yes that Loney, notched a hat trick in regulation and a shootout goal in Team White's 6-0 regulation pasting of Team Black at Consol Energy Center.
Loney wearing jersey number 25 reminded me of another 6'4" man-child (Kevin Stevens) from the glory years of the early 1990s as his 208 lb frame just had his way around the ice but like Stevens and very unlike his old man, Loney's mitts were on display.
The son of former Penguins winger Troy Loney opened the scoring in the first half taking a loose puck on a turnover up the ice and over powering goaltender Tristan Jarry with a hard wrist shot. His second goal was the traditional deflection about five feet in front of Jarry off a Derrick Pouliot shot from the middle of the ice. The hat trick for Loney came as he flew down the left wing and stick handled his way for a backhand that goalie Sean Maguire had no shot of stopping.
Loney signed with the Penguins AHL team for this season and if today's performance is any indication of what we're about to see from him this season for Wilkes-Barre/Scranton, he'll be getting a deal from the parent club by season's end.
While Loney was the star at forward, defensemen Jeff Taylor, Patrick Sexton, and Matt Murphy made good first impressions as quality puck-moving defensemen, something this franchise desperately needs behind Pouliot as the cupboard is almost bare.
Watching Taylor skate and move the puck, reminded me of a young Alex Goligoski, similar style of play.
The 6-0 regulation win wasn't without some quality goaltending by Matt Murray (first half) and Matt Skoff (second half). Fans in Wilkes-Barre/Scranton are familiar with Murray but Skoff was pretty good moving around in his crease.
It was nice to see Anton Zlobin score a goal after a rough season last year suffering a shoulder injury and taking a hard hit to his head early in the first half. He even appeared to have smiled after the goal. Unfortunately, Zlobin appeared to tire throughout the game and struggled to keep up with the action skating.
Conor Sheary's speed and puck searching ability was pretty good, it is no wonder he'll be expected to compete for one of the fourth line jobs during training camp in September.
Dominik Simon scored goals that you wanted to see another one of the fourth line candidates score around the net, twice, and his experience and skills playing the game were evident throughout. The pro experience in the Czech Republic is going to give him an advantage to win the fourth line center job if Oskar Sundqvist falters or is slow to get back from his injury.
A favorite of mine continues to be right-winger Jaden Lindo. He's got the size to really drive goaltenders nuts as he displayed throughout today's game. Lindo was hampered much of last season with a knee injury, if he can put together a full season for Owen Sound (OHL), I believe he'll be moving up the prospect list in Pittsburgh.
Not much to say about Pouliot, he stood out as a man among boys in terms of his skills and reading the play on the ice. He shouldn't have been on the ice but I think this camp was about sending a message to Pouliot that he has to be stronger and more attentive to his defensive responsibilities. We'll see how that goes against the big boys.
As for Team Black, they did manage the puck well for the first few minutes of the first half but once a turnover sprung Loney for the game's opening goal, Team White had their way in the scoring chance department.
Jarry gave up four goals but I can't be disappointed as three appeared to be deflected on the way to the net.
Jake Guentzel showed some things with his speed and passing ability, was ok coming down the left-wing. He's definitely someone who needs to get more of shooter's mentality.
Speaking of passing, I can confirm I saw Bryan Rust pass the puck a few times.
You can see the offensive skills in spurts for Frederik Tiffels and Daniel Sprong but both need to get more engaged in the middle of the ice and along the boards. Both will need a year or two to mature physically, work on their skating, and engage more. I saw Sprong floating around the edges a little too much for my liking.
Overall, it was a good day for the Penguins prospects to perform as team in front of their fans as they got to learn about what it takes to be a Pittsburgh Penguin. There's an expectation come September, some of these guys will get a chance to show what they learned this week and possibly compete for a fourth line job or put themselves into a better position this season or next.