For the first time this season there will be people in black/yellow Penguins jerseys playing in a (semi) meaningful games. The Pittsburgh prospects are up in Buffalo for the annual prospects challenge.
Typically, the Devils and Sabres stream online the games their respective teams are in. This leaves a hole for today, being as those teams aren’t in it. Tomorrow at 3:30 the Pens/Devils game will definitely be out there. Is there a way to watch this one? Share it if you know but at this point it doesn’t seem out there.
Friday, September 6 (HarborCenter, Buffalo, NY)
-Pittsburgh Penguins vs. Boston Bruins, 3:30 p.m.
Here is the Pens’ roster:
Goalies (2): Emil Larmi, Alex D’Orio
Defensemen (8): Calen Addison, Niclas Almari, Pierre-Olivier Joseph, Michael Kim, Zach Lauzon, Jon Lizotte, John Marino, Liam Ross
Forwards (14): Anthony Angello, Jordy Bellerive, Chase Berger, Chris Brown, Jan Drozg, Brandon Hawkins, Renars Krastenbergs, Sam Lafferty, Nathan Legare, Jake Lucchini, Sam Miletic, Billy Moskal, Samuel Poulin, Josh Williams
And for their counterparts today, Boston will be sending the following roster:
Forwards: Samuel Asselin, Anders Bjork, Scott Conway, Trent Frederic, Jacob Gaucher*, Dante Hannoun*, Cameron Hughes, Joona Koppanen, Robert Lantosi, Jakub Lauko, Tom Marchin, Pavel Shen, Oskar Steen, Jack Studnicka, Alex-Olivier Voyer*
Defensemen: Axel Andersson, Max Martin*, Riley McCourt*, Andrew Perrott*, Jordan Sambrook*, Wiley Sherman, Alexey Solovyev, Urho Vaakanainen, Cooper Zech
Goaltenders: Taylor Gauthier*, Kyle Keyser, Dan Vladar
The Bruins have more star-power (well for this event anyways) and experience with Bjork, Frederic and Vaakanainen all having NHL regular season games under their belt —which no one from Pittsburgh does.
That said, the talent gap that Pittsburgh is facing isn’t daunting, which is quite a big departure from previous seasons. Still, the Pens have six forwards either as tryouts or AHL contracts, so they’re not exactly flush with legitimate NHL prospects at the moment and that lack of depth usually shows in even a short tournament setting.
If you’re new to the prospect game, here’s who to keep an eye on this weekend:
Calen Addison: in an organization without many high-end prospects, Addison certainly is one. He’s likely to either be a top-four impact NHL defender in five years, or not in the league at all. Boom or bust based on if his skills of puck moving and offensive wizardry can translate at the pro level. The Pens don’t have another young player like him, and at 19-years old and a likely candidate for Team Canada’s World Junior team this winter, Addison should really stand out positively against this competition and peer level.
Samuel Poulin and Nathan Legare: Lumping these two 2019 draft picks together, since they both have a lot of offensive skill, and there’s some question if the third round pick might even end up a better pro player than the first rounder. That said, the top pick in Poulin is a great prospect- his puck control, vision and ability to make plays in the offensive zone is very impressive. Legare is a fun player to watch because you don’t need to see the puck come off his stick twice to realize he is special in that regard, as his 45 goals in the Q last season also attest to.
Pierre-Olivier Joseph: He’s the new prospect in town courtesy of the Phil Kessel trade. Arizona’s 2017 first round pick is now 20-years old and likely to start the season in Wilkes-Barre. Some scouting reports weren’t thrilled about his play in juniors post-drafting, so his progression to the NHL might be slow as a 170ish pound defenseman who is going to need to fill out and add a lot of muscle before he’s likely to be ready to compete at the top level. Still, he’s got good size and can move around the ice well and it will be fun to get a taste of seeing Joseph in a Pens’ jersey and watching his season, and pro career, get off to a start in a new organization.
Sam Lafferty: The 24-year old has a chance to use this prospect challenge as a ramp into a great pre-season. He led Wilkes-Barre last year in assists and finished second on the team in points. He’s got a good motor and can create plays with the puck, and really impressed those in the organization with the way he continually improved last season, his first as a pro. He was one of the best players on the ice for many games towards the end of last season, can he keep that up and eventually parlay it into making his NHL debut at some point in the 2019-20 season? Seems very possible but it’s going to need to start with a strong showing here against mostly younger and lesser competition.