(Not sure if anyone about to be mentioned is in here or not . . .)
The list of skilled skaters and dominate goal scorers whom wore the Pittsburgh Penguins jersey is a crazy talented one. It has current Hall-of-Famers Joe Mullen, Ron Francis, and, of course, Mario Lemieux. It has should be Hall-of-Famers Sly Apps and Kevin Stevens. It has soon to be Hall-of-Famers Jaromir Jagr and, let's face it, Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin. Point is, the darn list is impressive.
It always seems the Pittsburgh Penguins have at least one pure scorer on the roster at all times, no matter how good or bad the team is. Even in the dark ages of the late '90s to early 2000s, the Pens still had Alexi Kovalev (when consistent) and Marty Straka (when healthy) lighting the lamps. Skilled forwards are to the Pens like a tough running backs are to the Steelers. And while the next batch of forwards coming up through the farm system aren't overwhelming, Pens aficionados should have some faith that this pattern will not be interrupted.
Teddy Blueger - The ninteen-year old Latvian has a scorer's touch and coal miner's grit. He had 24 goals and 64 assists in 51 games at Shattuck St. Mary's prep school last season while also earning 64 penalty minutes. His vision and passing are great, but his faceoffs and stick handling are even better. Bad news is he is 183 pounds . . . even after riding the Raging Rapids (Kennywood plug!). Bulking up takes time, so don't get too excited. He's probably four years away from his debut.
Josh Archibald - Want to see Josh Archibald stake around the rink? Want to see him do it again? Speed is a huge part of Archibald's game, as he uses it to get into traffic and make things happen on the rush. He is in his second year with Nebraska-Omaha and the step up in competition dampened his stats, but not his character. He is a emerging leader on the Mavericks squad. That and speed can't be taught, but like Blueger, he's a ways away.
Harry Zolnierczyk- Like Simon Despres, Zolnierczyk is not a surprise anymore. He's played 44 NHL games with rival Philadelphia Flyers and has seven points (three goals, four assists). But scoring isn't why the Penguins traded for him. The Ivy Leaguer a pure brute. He's intense physical play and endless motor make him a nightmare on the ice, but his attitude makes him one off it. He's been arrested before and his lack of maturity will be a big reason why he starts the year in Wilkes-Barre.
Scott Wilson - The twenty-one year old Canadian is tearing it up in college. Wilson had 38 points (16 goals, 22 assists) in 37 games in 2011-12 and followed that with the same numbers over 41 games in 2012-2013 playing for the U. Mass-Lowell Riverhawks. Obviously, his offensive capabilities are not in question. It's his defense. His small size (5'11" 184 lbs.) makes him nervous in the dirty areas, but production like his is hard to ignore. He might out on a show in the preseason.
Bryan Rust - If and when the Michigan native makes it to the NHL, he wouldn't sell a ton of jerseys, but he'll help the Pens win a ton of games. The two-way forward scores his goals the workman way; getting in front of the net, garbage rebound, defenders forgetting he's there. However, he doesn't score a lot of them. Over the past two years in Notre Dame, Rust netted eleven goals . . . in eighty games. But his great hockey sense makes him a valuable forward. He has a future as a penalty killer and fan favorite ala Craig Adams. A better Craig Adams.
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