Found October 05, 2013 on The Farm Club:
picture from penguins.nhl.com The Pittsburgh Penguins enter the 2013-2014 season set with their lineups, but as James Neal, Kris Letang, and Tomas Vokoun have shown, every team must have depth to have continued success in the NHL. The American Hockey League (AHL) is the main pipeline of that depth, and for the Penguins it is no exception. Their AHL affiliate, the Wilkes-Barre Scranton Baby Penguins’ 2013-2014 team have a perfect blend of top prospects, AHL depth players, and depth players that could contribute on the fourth line of the NHL team. The top prospect playing for the Baby Penguins is Scott Harrington, the Penguins’ 2011 second pick, who has turned into a steady stay-at-home defenseman with top four potential, and could fit in perfectly on the second defensive pairing behind Olli Maatta and Kris Letang. Harrington enters his first full professional season, after making his pro debut last year during the AHL playoffs, so despite his upside, don’t expect to see Harrington’s name being one of the first names to get the call should the Penguins need an extra hand on defense. He had a strong camp, but his main focus should be getting a full season under his belt this year, and compete for a NHL roster spot next year with Matt Niskanen, Brooks Orpik, and Paul Martin all set to become unrestricted free agents at the end of the season. So outside of Harrington, who will have all eyes on him regardless, what other players playing for the Baby Penguins should Pens’ fans keep an eye on this season? 5. Brian Dumoulin Harrington arguably has more upside, but former Boston College Eagle defenseman Brian Dumoulin is the most NHL ready prospect the Penguins have, and it should and likely will be Dumoulin that gets the call to the show first should the Pens need an extra body on defense. In 73 games last year with Wilkes-Barre, Dumoulin scored 24 points (6 G, 18 A) and was a minus-11. He kicked it into high gear in the playoffs, scoring eight points (2 G, 6 A) in 15 games. At 6’4, Dumoulin has a huge reach, with two-way potential and look for him to take that next step this year in his offensive game. 4. Jayson Megna Megna was a curious case for the Baby Penguins last season, as scouts said he oozed potential, but could never put it together in games. In 56-games at the minor league level, Megna scored only 12 points (5 G, 7 A) but one thing to keep in mind about him, the AHL was his third level in three years. He played in the USHL one year, followed by a year in college, and turned pro, playing in the AHL this most recent year. In the organization’s prospect camp in July, Megna’s name kept being brought up by the coaching staff and Bill Guerin, the Penguins’ director of player development, even with the camp filled with high upside defensive prospects. In a system that lacks much forward depth, Megna is an interesting prospect who has a chance to separate himself from the pack this year and establish himself as a legitimate NHL prospect. 3. Adam Payerl 22-year old Adam Payerl fits the mold of a fourth line NHL prospect, and could follow the same path as current Penguins, Joe Vitale. Payerl only scored four goals in 48-games between the AHL and ECHL level, but that isn’t his bread and butter. His physical presence and willingness to drop his gloves is what makes him a prospect. Payerl had more fights (5) than goals (4) last season, and while that isn’t a lot, over a 82-game season that would equate to nine and fought 14 times in the OHL in 2011-2012. He the Penguins have plenty of depth on their bottom-six so Payerl will get another chance to develop in the minors before possibly getting a chance at the NHL roster next year. 2. Simon Despres The Simon Despres sage has been an interesting one, going from coach Dan Byslma declaring Despres is a top-four defenseman all the way to starting yet another season in the minors. Despres has top four defenseman written all over him, but he has yet to get a real shot at becoming one in Pittsburgh and time is running out. Despres is in his last year of his entry level contract, and with Maatta, Derrick Pouliot, Harrington, and Dumoulin all, going to be knocking on the NHL door next season, if Despres hasn’t established himself in the NHL yet he might be the odd man out. If the Penguins were going to trade him, they missed their opportunity at last year’s deadline where his value was likely the highest. Starting in the AHL for the third straight year isn’t likely to help his value, even if he is the first player that will get a call up if the Pens need a body. This is a make or break year for Despres, and sadly, there is nothing he can do but continue to play at a level that he clearly graduating from two years ago. 1. Eric Hartzell Last year’s Hobey Baker Finalist is the biggest name to watch this year in Wilkes-Barre for one simple reason, we will get our first look at if he can be a future starter, backup or depth option for the Penguins. Not only was the Tomas Vokoun injury a blessing in disguise for Jeff Zatkoff, who will get his first shot in the NHL but also Hartzell who will likely get more starts now as oppose if Zatkoff were in the minors. The Baby Pens signed Jeff Deslauries to a professional tryout contract and could get a look early in the season but if Hartzell plays to anything like they think he might be able to, the playing time will quickly shift in Hartzell’s favor. His window to establish himself in the organization will be small, as the Penguins drafted Tristan Jarry to be the goalie of the future and when he appears ready to move to the next level they won’t let any player stand in his way, even Hartzell   The post Wilkes Barre Scranton: 5 Players To Watch From The Penguins Affiliate appeared first on The Farm Club.
THE BACKYARD
BEST OF MAXIM
RELATED ARTICLES

Injury could keep Penguins right winger James Neal out for weeks

Penguins right winger James Neal could be out for an extended amount of time because of an injury. Coach Dan Bylsma said today that while Neal needs more medical evaluation for a firm timetable to be set he appears closer to being out week-to-week than day-to-day. Neal missed practice Wednesday and the team's game-day skate Thursday because of the problem but was in the lineup...

Crosby, Fleury lead Penguins

The past two seasons, the Pittsburgh Penguins have topped the NHL in scoring. They've come up short in the playoffs both times, eliminated with a pair of disappointing early exits. The Penguins are playing better defense so far this season, and embattled goalie Marc-Andre Fleury is leading the way. Sidney Crosby and Chuck Kobasew each scored his second goal and Fleury was nearly...

Twitter Headers by @ryannoble66

Tired of trying to fit your favorite Pittsburgh Penguins pictures into that little space known as your Twitter header? Don't worry because Pens Initiative has you covered. Here are some that we use that we hope you enjoy! 

Game 2 – Sabres at Penguins

By: Casey Johnston (@CaseyR82) Last Game for the Pens:  Thursday, October 3rd.  The Pens defeated the Devils 3-0 in their season and home opener.  The Penguins got goals from Chuck Kobasew, Sidney Crosby, and Craig Adams while Marc-Andre Fleury stopped all 27 of the Devils’ shots. Last Game for the Sabres:  Friday, October 4th.  The Sabres fell to the Ottawa Senators 1-0. ...

One flew over the Goalie's Net - @LuigiLemieux

Redemption, thy name is Flower. At least for now. Going into the first game of the 2013 NHL season, many of us were hesitant to place all of our faith into the glove of our 28 year old netminder Marc-Andre Fleury. Considering the way he ended his stint in the 2012-2013 Postseason, many of these doubts were not completely unfounded. During the five games he played...

Game 2: Penguins vs. Sabres Preview

The buzz around the Pittsburgh Penguins and specifically Marc-Andre Fleury as at a high after the shutout of the New Jersey Devils on Thursday to open up the season. But what is that game worth exactly? How much should be taken from any of the first several games on the schedule? The Pens don’t play…

Pittsburgh buries New Jersey 3-0

PITTSBURGH — Marc-Andre Fleury showed why he is the number one goalie in Pittsburgh as the Penguins rolled past the New Jersey Devils 3-0 on Thursday at the Consol Energy Center. He collected his first shutout and the Penguins first win of the season. Chuck Kobasew, Sidney Crosby, and Craig Adams scored for Pittsburgh, Kobasew […]

About last night: Marc-Andre Fleury calms the Steel City

Thursday was the first seriously busy night in NHL this season. Here is what we learned:Marc-Andre Fleury pulled himself together. He has been an awful postseason goaltender. He didn’t look great during the preseason. The loss of back-up Tomas Vokoun really put his start in focus. And he opened the season by shutting out the depleted Devils.Radim Vrbata can still finish. And the...

Penguins Fights 2103-14 #1: Glass vs Clowe by @evil_shero

Oct 3, 2013 1st Period 19:55 The first fight of the regular season and what started as a hug-fest turned out to be quite a scrap. Glass went in deep and laid a hard hit on Salavadore. Clowe came in to dig out the puck and when the whistle blew Clowe locked up with Glass over the El Salvadore hit.  Clowe initiated with the first punch up and over. Glass got his preferred...

Sabres-Penguins Preview

After a disappointing showing in the playoffs, Marc-Andre Fleury's season debut couldn't have gone much better. He would appear to have another favorable matchup against the Buffalo Sabres, who haven't been able to generate much offense thus far. The Pittsburgh Penguins try to open 2-0-0 for the third consecutive season Saturday night when they host the winless Sabres...

Carolina Hurricanes Head-to-Head in New Metropolitan Division: Pittsburgh Penguins

By Dylan Howlett (@DylanHowlett) For General Manager Ray Shero, they were the best-laid plans. The Penguins were on their way to rattling off 15 straight wins (they didn’t lose a game in the month of March). They were well on their way to the Eastern Conference’s top seed (a cakewalk that saw them clear second-place Montreal by nine points). And, in Shero’s mind, they could...

This Week in Penguins History by @RobUllman

LINK CITY: Recap Round-ups, Flyer Beat Writers jammed.

Some other recaps from the opener -- @pensbender with a good write up; On the play Beau Bennett made a ridiculous one-touch pass to Kobasew in stride. Kobasew then dropped it off to Sutter who quickly turned it to the net. After weaving through the Devil defense on his way to the net, Kobasew found himself in the right place at the right time. -- @HockeyMeesh...

RECAP: GAME 1. Pens win 3-0.

' You have to start somewhere, and this was a good place for the 2013-2014 season to start. Too many times, the roles have been reversed in this type of game. Usually the Devils shut the Pens down, get some ****** goals, and go home. Not this time. The Pens (and Marc-Andre Fleury) were aided largely by the fact that the Devils are terrible. This game was close for...
NHL News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

Today's Best Stuff
For Bloggers

Join the Yardbarker Network for more promotion, traffic, and money.

Company Info
Help
What is Yardbarker?

Yardbarker is the largest network of sports blogs and pro athlete blogs on the web. This site is the hub of the Yardbarker Network, where our editors and algorithms curate the best sports content from our network and beyond.