The year has come to an end. The Pittsburgh Penguins are Stanley Cup Champions, the first ever champions to successfully defend their title in the salary cap era. Now, we can now look back at the year that was the 2016-17 NHL season. In this piece of literature, however, we’ll be looking at the prospects of the organization specifically, not the big guns who danced with Lord Stanley (with a few exceptions!)
I won’t be counting players who have played a substantial amount of NHL games this year, which means Jake Guentzel and Matt Murray will be excluded from this list. If I were to include them, however, they’d both be getting an A+. What a year it’s been for Guentzel, and what a year it’s been for 2-time Stanley Cup Champion rookie sensation Murray.
I also won’t be counting players who’s seasons have been plagued by injuries, illness or otherwise. This includes defenseman Connor Hall, defenseman Lukas Bengtsson and forward Thomas Di Pauli.
As for my criteria of a prospect, they must have NHL rookie status…so, be under 25 years old (25 is technically rookie status, but I’m going to use under 25) and not more than 25 games played prior to this year in the NHL in a single season…anyway, let’s just get right into it.
Daniel Sprong – LW/RW
Records, both individually and as a team. Daniel Sprong helped the Charlottetown Islanders franchise sweep its first ever playoff opponent in the Baie-Comeau Drakkar (in fact, they did the same thing to the Cape-Breton Screaming Eagles in the very next round), and subsequently lead the Charlottetown Islanders franchise to their very first rodeo in the third round of the QMJHL playoffs…(so, Daniel Sprong reached the third round before Alex Ovechkin did.)
In terms of individual records, Sprong notched himself a few.
This regular season with the Charlottetown Islanders, on a line with Alex Dostie and Francois Beauchemin for the majority of the season, Daniel Sprong scored 32 goals for 59 points in 31 games…yes, Sprong averaged over a goal per game. This had Sprong lead the QMJHL with 1.90 points per game. He only played 31 games due to recovering from a shoulder injury that sidelined him for much of the season (surgery was done before the summer started.) This, perhaps the last year of Sprong’s QMJHL career, saw him leap into a few franchise records. These records include: with 261 points, Sprong is now the all-time leading scorer in Charlottetown Islanders history; with 261 points, Sprong is now the 2nd all-time leading scorer in Charlottetown islanders franchise history (behind Ben Duffy of the P.E.I Rocket); with 117 goals, Sprong is now the all-time goal scoring leader in Charlottetown Islanders history; with 117 goals, Sprong is now the 2nd all-time goal scoring leader in Charlottetown Islanders franchise history (behind Ben Duffy of the P.E.I Rocket). If Sprong had a full season this year, it wouldn’t be too far fetched to believe Sprong would have eclipsed some of Duffy’s records for the franchise leads, instead of just Charlottetown leads. Due to how many games Sprong did all this in, in comparison to Duffy, it also wouldn’t be too far fetched to say Sprong is the best player in Charlottetown Islanders franchise history. Sprong was also deemed the QMJHL’s “First Star” in the months of February and March.
In the historic playoff run, by Charlottetown Islanders franchise standards, Sprong did pretty darn well. He, as of this writing: ranks fourth among the QMJHL playoffs in points per game with 1.67; tied for 9th in points with 20; and tied for 7th in goals with 9. He achieved this all in 12 playoff games.
Sprong had an unbelievable season in the mere 31 regular season games + 12 playoff games he played with the Charlottetown Islanders, and it’s truly a shame the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins were eliminated before Sprong could join them. Along with Aston-Reese, one wonders if Sprong could have changed their fortunes.
Per the CHL transfer agreement (which I quite frankly believe is a load of bullshit), Daniel Sprong is finally eligible to start the season in the AHL, which he likely will. I wouldn’t be surprised if he himself cracks the Pittsburgh Penguins lineup out of training camp, though. He’s yet to play under head coach Mike Sullivan’s system, and didn’t seem quite ready for it judging by his play under Mike Johnston’s system (as mishandled as he was.) Perhaps he’s ready now, but only time will tell, and that time will come in September of 2017.
Dominik Simon – LW/RW
Another player that seemingly dodged the sophomore slump was Dominik Simon. Simon, in 70 games, scored 15 goals for 45 points for the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins, just two points down from his rookie season. His goal total took a 10-goal dip, but his assist-total reached an AHL career high with 31, up from his 23 assists last year. Simon played in all 5 playoff games against the Providence Bruins, notching 3 assists during the series.
Simon also got in two NHL games with Pittsburgh, getting one assist on a Nick Bonino goal during the last game of the regular season against the New York Rangers. Simon is another potential candidate for the NHL line-up next year, but isn’t nearly a shoe-in. His performance in training camp will likely decide that. All in all, a good sophomore season for Simon.
Frederik Tiffels – LW/C
Frederik Tiffels, having just completed his senior year with Western Michigan University’s Broncos, matched a career high in points with 21, including 9 goals scored, over a 37 game span. He played throughout WMU’s lineup, acting as a first line center, a third line left wing, and other positions and lineup placements. He looked to be a serviceable player for WMU, particularly near the end of the year in which his production started to heat up.
Internationally, Tiffels represented Germany for 16 games played this year, scoring 7 goals and an assist over a span of 16 games. 2 of those goals and 8 of those games played came during Tiffels’ representation of Germany during the IIHF World Championships, including his overtime goal which eliminated Latvia and fellow Pens prospect Teddy Blueger in the final game of the preliminary round. Germany made it to the quarterfinals of the playoff round, losing a 2-1 contest to Canada.
Tiffels’ next year with WMU will he his senior year, where he’ll reportedly be serving as an alternate captain.
Kasper Bjorkqvist – LW/RW
Kasper Bjorkqvist’s first season playing NCAA hockey seemed to be a rough one, at least individually. A freshman for Providence College, the 2016 2nd round pick for the Penguins scored 3 goals for 9 points in 30 games. He played in Providence’s appearance in the quarter finals as well, in which the team was eliminated.
This is somewhat worrying, but it’s also important to note that this was Bjorkqvist’s first full season of hockey played on North American ice, and the transition is never a piece of cake. We’ll see what Bjorkqvist’s sophomore season brings, but there is certainly some reason to worry.
Representing Finland U-20 this year, Bjorkqvist scored 1 goal for 7 points in 15 games. 1 goal and 6 of these games came in the 2017 World Junior Championships.
Sam Lafferty – LW/C
Sam Lafferty had the misfortune of playing on a very poor Brown University team this year. This, however, didn’t stop the newly appointed alternate captain from having a career year. In 31 games (as much as he’s played during his freshman and sophomore years), the junior scored 13 goals (career high) and notched 22 assists (career high, lead the team) for 35 points (career high, lead the team). I could very easily see Pittsburgh (or WBS) trying to sign Lafferty, however his intentions seem to be finishing out his collegiate career with Brown. Perhaps he’ll sign with the Penguins after his senior year.
Troy Josephs – LW/C
Troy Josephs just finished his senior year at Clarkson University, in which he shredded his past years of college hockey with an unreal season-long performance. Where his past career high in points in a lengthy college season was 17, Josephs finished his college career with a bang by notching 20 goals for 33 points in 37 games, both career highs. This fantastic performance earned Josephs a contract with the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins for the 2017-18 year, however he signed an ATO out of college which allowed Josephs to finish the 2016-17 season with WBS.
In 13 AHL games, Josephs scored 1 goal and 1 assist for 2 points. Josephs also played 1 game for the Pens in the playoffs, against the Providence Bruins. Josephs will likely be in the WBS Pens’ lineup next year, and will be able to undertake his true rookie season as an AHL player.
Zach Aston-Reese LW/C/RW
On March 13th, 2017, it was reported that the Pittsburgh Penguins were interested in college free agent Zach Aston-Reese. His accolades were nothing short of insane, as he lead the NCAA in both goals (31) and points (63). Not only that, he’s was also a finalist for this year’s Hobey Baker Memorial Award (which was won by Will Butcher.) According to Jason Mackey of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, there were over a dozen teams trying to get Aston-Reese, the most sought-after college FA this year.
On March 14th, the day after it was reported the Penguins were interested, they signed Aston-Reese to a two-year, entry-level contract. He joined the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins for the remainder of their season. So…how’d he do?
Really, really well.
Aston-Reese started his AHL career with a four-game point streak. Ending the season with 3 goals for 8 points in 10 games — including his first professional career goal being the game winner against the Hartford Wolf Pack — Aston-Reese’s performances were nothing to balk at. He was regularly shifted on the top line with captain Tom Kostopolous and Kevin Porter.
Unfortunately, we’ll have to wait for Aston-Reese’s playoff debut at the pro-level until next year. Due to a combination of injuries and classes, Aston-Reese was not available for any of WBS’ first round series (and unfortunate loss) against the Providence Bruins.
For my one bold prediction regarding next season, I believe Aston-Reese cracks the Pittsburgh Penguins line-up out of training camp, considering the potential absences of Carl Hagelin, Nick Bonino, Matt Cullen and Chris Kunitz. We’ll see when the time comes.
Anthony Angello – C/RW
If a sophomore slump hit somebody, it hit Anthony Angello (though not too badly.) His second year with Cornell University saw him nab 12 goals for 20 points through 35 games, one more played than in his freshman year. He also set a new career high in goals for a single season with 12, although his production in the assists production dropped from last year’s 13 to this year’s 8. Angello played on Cornell’s top line, advancing to the NCAA tournament in which Cornell was eliminated in the quarterfinals, ending Angello’s season.
Don’t be surprised if the Penguins, or WBS Penguins for that matter, try to lure him to the AHL after he completes his junior year.
Blaine Byron – C
Blaine Byron, with the University of Maine’s Black Bears, exceeded expectations by scoring 18 goals for 41 points in 36 games this year. This earned him the honors of being named the recipient of the 2017 Maine Hockey Harold Alfond Most Valuable Player Award. A pick in the Ray Shero era, many were looking forward to seeing Byron help the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins in their playoff run by signing either an ATO with the baby Pens or by signing an entry-level contract by the Pittsburgh Penguins. Neither of those things happened.
Instead, Byron declined to sign and instead will be opting for free agency. I’m sure the Pittsburgh Penguins wish him the best, as do I.
Jean-Sebastien Dea – C/RW
Jean-Sebastien Dea’s third season as a member of the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins was quite similar to that of his second year. In 73 games played, Dea scored 18 goals and 16 assists for 34 points, just to shy of his total last year. Dea was often utilized in a bottom six role, so copious amounts of offensive production shouldn’t be expected of him, however what he does produce is manageable for his role. He’ll likely play in the same capacity next season, barring any changes.
At the end of Pittsburgh’s regular season, Jean-Sebastien Dea got his first ever taste of NHL action as he debuted in game 82 against the New York Rangers. He amassed no points, however he did pick up a minor penalty.
Nikita Pavlychev – C
Nikita Pavlychev’s freshman season with Penn State University was a productive one, as he scored 6 goals and for 13 points in 36 games. Pavlychev’s first season of college hockey was quite an eventful one, as Penn State were crowned B1G champions, as well as made it to the quarterfinals of the NCAA national tournament. Unfortunately, they were eliminated by the University of Denver.
Pavlychev certainly has the tools that makes a successful NHL player (his 6’7″ frame being the most prominent one), and it’s just up to him as to whether he’s able to utilize them if he ever makes it to the NHL (or AHL for that matter) or not. While 13 points in 36 games isn’t bad, I’m sure the Penguins organization would like to see a more productive season from his next year.
Oskar Sundqvist – C
Oskar Sundqvist’s AHL sample and NHL sample told two very different tales in the 2016-17 season.
The AHL side is very, very good. In 63 AHL regular season games, Sundqvist scored a respectable 20 goals for 46 points on the season, where he regularly centered a line (and his wingers were changing all the time.) Where he stood out, I believe, was on the penalty kill with fellow forward and Penguins prospect Teddy Blueger. Whenever these two were on the ice during the PK, you could almost always expect at least one short handed chance, a two on one break here and there…it was mesmerizing. Sundqvist had 2 shorthanded goals on the season, while the penalty kill for the Baby Pens clicked at a cool 86.9%, which lead the entire AHL. In the playoffs, Sundqvist had just one assist, but it should be noted that he had 16 shots on goal (and likely plenty more shot attempts) in just five games against the Bruins. If you watched that series, you know how good Zane McIntyre was.
His limited NHL sample size was…not that great. Through 10 games in this year’s regular season, per Corsica, Sundqvist had a 45.57 CF% at 5v5 (adjusted for score, zone and venue) and registered no points. Of course, you can only judge so much by 10 games and continuously jumbled lines, so I’m still hesitant to axe a third or fourth line centered by Oskar Sundqvist next year (as he’s been talked about to be the likely replacement for Matt Cullen at fourth line center.) We’ll see how he does in training camp.
Teddy Blueger – C
As I said above, Blueger was one half of the AHL’s leading penalty kill, which is nothing to slouch at. While he didn’t have any shorthanded goals, Blueger had 2 shorthanded assists (and I bet you could guess whose goal they came on.) An AHL rookie this year, Blueger notched 7 goals for 31 points in 54 games. He was usually on the third or fourth line, mostly in a checking role. The same can be said in the playoffs, where Blueger scored just one goal in 5 games played…again, McIntyre. Wow.
During the 2017 IIHR World Championships, Blueger represented Latvia by scoring 1 goal in 7 games. Latvia was eliminated by Germany in the last game of the preliminary round.
I doubt Blueger will be cracking the Pittsburgh Penguins roster next season, but I do expect him to have a much better sophomore AHL season (phooey to the sophomore slump.)
Josh Archibald – RW
Josh Archibald’s 2016-17 season was one for him to remember. In 61 games with the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins, Archibald scored 16 goals (career high) and 13 assists (career high) for 29 points (career high). In WBS’ playoff series against Providence, Archibald played all 5 games in which he recorded 2 goals (career high in the playoffs).
WBS wasn’t the only place Archibald played this season, however. Archibald also had stints of NHL time with Pittsburgh, in which he played 10 games and scored 3 goals. Archibald also dipped his feet into the NHL playoff waters for the first time in his career, playing for Pittsburgh and recording 4 games in the process. One of these games was in the Stanley Cup Final, meaning Josh Archibald’s name will be engraved on the Stanley Cup. Archibald will likely start his season with WBS next year, but nothing is impossible.
Dane Birks – D
The 2016-17 season was a career year for junior defenseman Dane Birks. The defense partner of undrafted Mark Auk, Birks played 42 games (career high) this season, notching 2 goals (career high, including his first ever collegiate goal) and 9 assists (career high) for 11 points (career high.) Safe to say, Birks notched some career highs this year.
Birks will be going into his senior year with Michigan Tech for the 2017-18 season, and it remains to be seen if Birks wants to sign with the Pittsburgh Penguins, or if the Pittsburgh Penguins want to sign Birks. As always, time will tell.
Derrick Pouliot – D
The 2016-17 season was one of ups and downs for Pouliot. He spent time with both the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins and the Pittsburgh Penguins, for his 3rd AHL season and his 3rd NHL season.
During his time with the WBS Pens, it was more or less a regular season for Pouliot. Over 46 games played (career high), Pouliot scored 7 goals and 16 assists for 23 points. In the playoffs, Pouliot notched a goal and an assist for 2 points in 5 games. Small sample size sure, but nothing to balk at.
Now…his NHL sample size.
It is indeed limited with only 11 games, but over those games Pouliot had a CF% of 44.52, and no points over those games. I don’t believe Pouliot is a bad player by any means, but I also don’t think it’s going to work for him in Pittsburgh. I’d like to see him moved somewhere else and given a chance there. If so, I believe he’d do much better. Hopefully that happens for his sake.
Ethan Prow – D
The beginning of Ethan Prow’s first AHL season with the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins started slow, but his play picked up in a big way after the second half. In 59 games, Prow scored his first AHL goal in addition to 15 assists. Both were career highs, as well as the 16 points he notched. Prow also played 1 game for the ECHL’s Wheeling Nailers, in which he got 2 assists.
It’s very likely Prow will play more and have a more constant spot in Wilkes-Barre/Scranton’s lineup next season. I’d bet on it.
Jeff Taylor – D
Jeff Taylor, who just finished his senior year with Union College, is now signed to the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins via an ATO. His senior year was one to remember, however. Serving as an alternate captain, Taylor scored 9 goals for 33 points (both career highs) in 38 games, which had him ranked 5th among defensemen in scoring in the entire NCAA.
Taylor also played 6 games for WBS, not yet scoring his first AHL point. It’s likely he’ll be getting a lot more time next year in his official AHL rookie season. Look for him to be a big part of WBS’ defensive core for the 2017-18 campaign.
Joe Masonius – D
Joe Masonius, defenseman for the University of Connecticut’s Huskies, experienced a somewhat harsh sophomore slump. In 34 games, Masonius scored 2 goals (down from 6 in his freshman year) for 13 points (down from 21 in his freshman year.) Now, admittedly, Masonius’ defense partners shifted and changed more often than he probably desired, but it’s still a notable drop in production. For what it’s worth, Masonius’ plus/minus increased from last year’s -18, to this year’s -9. Something else that must be addressed is that, overall, the University of Connecticut wasn’t that great of a team, going 12-16-8. They only amassed 20 points, ranking them 9th in Hockey East, and are…inherently a bad team. Also, head coach Mike Cavanaugh not exactly being the best at his job.
As Jake Baskin (@baskincase) put it: “[Cavanaugh] has no idea what he’s doing.”
You can assume that affected Masonius and could continue to do so. Hopefully, for his sake and the Pittsburgh organization’s sake, it doesn’t.
Niclas Almari – D
If there was a word to summarize Almari’s season? It’d probably be “good.” Why? We’ll get to that in a minute.
During the 2017-18 season, Almari played for four teams. Internationally, Almari represented the U20 Finland team by playing three games. For Liiga’s HPK, Almari played 24 games in which he scored 3 times (a career high) and amassed 5 points on the season. On loan to LeKi of Mestis, Almari played 23 games scoring 1 goal and 6 assists for 7 points…but playing with U20 HPK of the Jr. Liiga is where Almari’s season gets good.
In 10 games, Almari scored 1 goal and 4 assists for 10 points. For this year’s playoff season, Almari was also with U20 HPK. During the playoffs, Almari scored 1 goal and 10 assist for a phenomenal 11 points…and U20 HPK, with Almari’s excellent contributions, were national champions. So, the Pittsburgh Penguins weren’t the only champions in the organization.
Indeed, he did this in a U20 league and I’m sure people would want to see the same in a higher league such as Liiga. Well, there’s only way to get good, and that’s through experience. I guarantee you that this is an experience Almari will never forget and will always treasure. Things like this are invaluable.
Ryan Jones – D
Defenseman Ryan Jones’ freshman year wasn’t the greatest, but it wasn’t entirely his fault. A defenseman for the University of Omaha-Nebraska, Jones played 35 games in which he scored a goal and notched 6 assists for 7 points. The team itself, however, was struggling and there wasn’t much opportunity for Jones to break out. That has possibility to change, though.
Next year’s Omaha-Nebraska team will have a new coaching staff, lead by the team’s third head coach in their history, Mike Gabinet. Gabinet was an assistant coach – one of the tops – for Omaha-Nebraska until now, and it remains to be seen how he’ll run the team. As Jake Baskin said, coaches under 40 years of age are always interesting, and it’ll be even more interesting (at least to Penguins fans) how he affects the development of Jones.
Ryan Segalla – D
Defenseman Ryan Segalla’s first full ECHL season saw him play 62 games, scoring 3 goals for 11 points as a rookie. He also played one game for the WBS Penguins, in which he went scoreless. Unfortunately, the Nailers didn’t reach the post-season this year so Segalla wasn’t able to taste playoff action just yet. There’s no doubt it’ll eventually come, however.
Segalla’s season was coincidentally the first full year of the Jeff Christian era in Wheeling, as Clark Donatelli moved up to coach the WBS Penguins when Mike Sullivan moved up to Pittsburgh. That being said, a system change for the entire team is probably a harder adjustment for a new player than that new player simply adjusting to a system where everyone else (or at least the majority) is used to it. Hopefully his sophomore season is better for him, and hopefully it’s better for the Nailers in general.
Filip Gustavsson – G
A lot of Filip Gustavsson’s 2016-17 season involved moving around from team to team, and none of it was made up of Gustavsson being the starter of his team. Even considering that, Gustavsson’s year wasn’t half bad.
With Luleå HF of the SHL, Gustavsson played 15 games as a backup to Joel Lassanantii’s 39 games. During this span, Gustavsson had a goals against average of 2.70 and a save percentage of .912. It should be noted that Luleå HF’s season wasn’t that great overall, going 23-21-8 and were eliminated in the first round of their playoffs. Gustavsson played two of Luleå HF’s playoff games, with a save percentage of .885 and a goals against average of 3.53.
Gustavsson also played for the Luleå HF U20 team of the SuperElit league, and his performance there was much better (as you’d probably expect.) He recorded a goals against average of 2.09 and a save percentage of .928. Gustavsson’s playoffs with them were nothing short of outstanding, playing 3 games and recording a .95 goals against average in addition to a .967 save percentage. Luleå HF U20 also lost in the first round of the playoffs, but the blame would absolutely not be placed within a mile of Gustavsson’s name.
Internationally, Gustavsson represented Sweden U20 for 5 games, accumulating a save percentage of .914 and a goals against average of 2.76. One of these games was for Sweden in the World Junior Championships, where he recorded a save percentage of .947 and a goals against average of 2.00…so, 2 goals against in that game, you could assume.
One would love to know how Gustavsson could handle himself in a starter role, in addition to being able to play on a better team than Luleå HF. Last year, Gustavsson did not attend Pittsburgh’s training camp along with the other prospects in favor of staying in Sweden. It remains to be seen if this is his plan once again.
For what it’s worth (which may not be much): Gustavsson’s style of play has been compared to that of Henrik Lundqvist. That is a good thing in every single way possible.
Sean Maguire – G
Sean Maguire’s season didn’t go as he’d want it to, presumably. Playing 35 games for the Wheeling Nailers, he recorded a save percentage of .897 and a goals against average of 3.20. When Tristan Jarry was recalled by the Pittsburgh Penguins, Casey DeSmith played all remaining games for the WBS Penguins whereas Maguire served as backup. With the recent news of Fleury waiving his no-trade clause (which allows him to be exposed to Vegas) and the reports of Vegas likely targeting Fleury in the expansion draft, this means Jarry will likely spend his next season backing up Matt Murray at the NHL level. In accordance, the tandem for the WBS Penguins next year will likely be Casey DeSmith and Sean Maguire. One would hope the AHL treats Maguire better than the ECHL did (a higher level of competition can sometimes be a good thing for someone’s career. See: Matt Murray and his AHL/NHL career compared to his OHL career.)
Tristan Jarry – G
Tristan Jarry’s year has no doubt been a whirlwind. Let’s start with his play.
For the 2016-17 campaign, Tristan Jarry was the WBS Penguins’ undisputed starter, with Casey DeSmith backing him up. Through 45 games played, Jarry recorded a 2.15 goals against average (tied for 4th in the AHL with Bridgeport’s Jaroslav Halak) and a save percentage of .925 (tied for 6th in the AHL with Bridgeport’s Jaroslav Halak….again). 28 of Jarry’s 45 performances were wins, ranking him 3rd among AHL goaltenders in that category. Fun fact: On six shootout attempts, Jarry stopped 5, giving him an 8th ranked .833 save percentage in the shootout (tying him with St. John’s Yann Denis.) Jarry faced exactly 1300 shots during his 45 game campaign. Jarry was also named to the AHL All-Star Classic to represent Team Atlantic (division) along with Jake Guentzel, however Guentzel wasn’t able to attend due to being with Pittsburgh at the time.
Jarry’s final game of the season wasn’t at the AHL level, however. The very last game of the Pittsburgh Penguins’ season, against the New York Rangers, featured a lot of young guns playing while a bunch of players such as Sidney Crosby and Matt Cullen were resting. Marc-André Fleury was technically serving as backup, but not to Matt Murray. Fleury was backing up Jarry in his AHL debut. Now, it should be noted that Jarry was basically playing in front of the Wilkes-Barre/Pittsburgh Penguins against a New York Rangers team…and even that didn’t stop Jarry from having a fantastic debut. The loss may have hurt, and the ugly numbers of a 3.06 goals against average and a .880 save percentage may lead you to believe it wasn’t a good night…but Jarry made some fantastic saves. Including this one:[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j4dcJ_MMn1E]
It’ll be nice to see Jarry perform in front of a better team next year, as it’s extremely likely he’ll be backing up Matt Murray at the NHL level for the 2017-18 campaign in Pittsburgh’s attempt at a threepeat, due to the rampant reports that Marc-André Fleury will be drafted by the Vegas Golden Knights in the expansion draft. As I’ve said many times in this prospect report, and this is something that can summarize every single player in this report: only time will tell.
Thanks for reading! Which prospect are you most excited for? Well, maybe don’t answer that yet, as a few more are coming along the way later this month! Excited? I sure am!