Pittsburgh Penguins Prospect Update – November 2019

We are a month into the 2019-20 NHL season so it is time to take a look and see how the Pittsburgh Penguins prospects are performing thus far. Here are all the Pens prospects playing in Europe, the junior leagues, and the NCAA.

For the first time in longer than I can remember they don’t have any goaltending prospects playing developmentally, everybody in the system is signed and playing in the minors. Standings in European prospect entries are listed in IIHF format: regulation wins-overtime/shootout wins-overtime/shootout losses-regulation losses.

 

Defensemen

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Vegas Golden Knights 2019 Training Camp

The Vegas Golden Knights are gearing up for the 2019-20 NHL season with their annual training camp set to begin this weekend. They have invited 53 players to camp: 7 goaltenders, 17 defensemen, and 29 forwards. There are a number of key roster battles to watch this year and the team will need to be down to a 23-man roster (and cap compliant) before the regular season begins on October 2.

We are going to take a look at the preseason schedule, seeing if we can get an idea of when we can expect rooster cuts to take place, and examine to roster to try to estimate the opening night lineup/salary cap and what the minor league options will be.

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Pittsburgh Penguins 2019 Training Camp

It is that time of year again, the kids have finished up the annual rookie tournament (see the recap of the 2019 Prospects Challenge in Buffalo) and the players are gearing up for the main NHL training camp activities. Barring any last minute additions of invites who impressed during the rookie tournament the Pittsburgh Penguins have invited 54 players: 6 goaltenders, 17 defensemen, and 31 forwards. They will need to be down to 23 players (and cap compliant) before the start of the 2019-20 NHL season on October 2.

Like usual we are going to take a look at the schedule, seeing where one can reasonably expect cuts to occur, and look at who all is attending camp, what their chances of making the lineup are, and what the roster could look like going into the season.

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Pumping the Brakes – Jimmy Schuldt

I have seen a remarkable number of Vegas Golden Knights fans discussing RFA Jimmy Schuldt. They want to know who he will be partnered with on the blue line, and how much they will need to clear off the roster in order to fit him in under the cap. Vegas is a new team, so the fans still need to learn patience, there were similar assumptions last year about Zach Whitecloud based on his single game during the spring that he signed.

The assumption appears to be that he was a Hobey Baker finalist, so obviously he will be heading straight into the NHL. And why would they burn up his ELC if they weren’t planning to give him big money on his next contract? While the fans may be new to the game, the team staff has been around the block a few times so I wouldn’t expect them to make any hasty decisions. Let’s take a look at why people may be overestimating Schuldt’s chances and need to be a bit more patient with his development.

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2019 NHL Draft – Consensus Ranking 2.0

The last time I decided to put together a consensus ranking for the 2019 NHL Entry Draft I used lists that included the Top 31 picks in the draft, covering just the 1st round. This time I wanted to expand that to include players expected to be taken in the 2nd and 3rd rounds.

This update also allows me to use final draft rankings and to exclude lists that separated goaltenders out. I used the top 93 picks from seven different lists: Future Considerations, Bob McKenzie and Craig Button of TSN, Ryan Kennedy of The Hockey News, Ryan Pike and Larry Fisher of The Hockey Writers, and Cam Robinson of Dobber Prospects. Unfortunately I was unable to include ISS or McKeen’s because I only had access to the Top 31, and skipped Corey Pronman because he has goalies on a separate list, but I generally really like those sources too.

From the seven lists I did use I awarded each player 93 points for a #1 pick down to 1 point for a #93 pick, then sorted the list by the sum total. 149 players were listed on at least one of the rankings, and teams often have their own targets that may seem out of place, so this consensus list certainly won’t be perfect. However, 51 players made all seven lists while 62 were on at least six, so I am reasonably confident that the first two rounds will be close.

The Pittsburgh Penguins have just one pick relevant to this list: #21 overall in the 1st round. The Vegas Golden Knights have #17 in the 1st, #48 in the 2nd, and #79, #82, and #86 in the 3rd. So I will look into more detail at options who may be available at that range.

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2019 NHL Draft – Consensus Rankings

While the 2019 NHL Stanley Cup playoffs are still underway the Vegas Golden Knights and Pittsburgh Penguins have already started their off-season planning and as such talk has moved towards the 2019 NHL Entry Draft.

As I have done in years past I looked over the Draft Rankings from various sources in order to put together a consensus ranking. Some of them are not final lists, we may see another update towards the end of the month, and I didn’t search out some of my usual sources, but it should be adequate for now.

I used EliteProspects to find Draft Rankings from their scouts, HockeyProspect, Future Considerations, International Scouting Service, McKeen’s, and TSN Bob McKenzie. Each player got 31 points for each #1 rank down to 1 point for each #31 rank, adding it together for an overall score.

I skipped the NHL Central Scouting rankings because they separate out North American and European players as well as separate lists of goalies. I also didn’t search out some of the others I usually look to like Dobber Prospects, The Hockey Writers, and The Hockey News, although I may do so if I update the list with finalized rankings in a month or so.

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2019 NHL Awards – My Votes

The 2018-19 NHL season is over and we are getting ready for the opening round of the playoffs, so this seemed like a good time to write up my predictions for the 2019 NHL Awards. We’ll start with the easy ones that have already been determined.

 

Presidents’ Trophy – “Team that finishes with the most points during the NHL regular season.”

Tampa Bay Lightning – 128 Points

 

William M. Jennings Trophy – “Goaltender(s) that have played for the team that allows the fewest goals scored against it.”

Robin Lehner and Thomas Greiss (New York Islanders) – 191 Goals Against

 

Maurice “Rocket” Richard Trophy – “Leading goal scorer in the NHL.”

Alex Ovechkin – 51 Goals

 

Art Ross Trophy – “Player who leads the NHL in points at the end of the regular season.”

Nikita Kucherov – 128 Points

 

Next we will look at the ones we can make a reasonable guess at based upon quantifiable data. There is no set criteria of what specifically the voters are looking for, so sometimes you see unexpected upsets.

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