Penguins: Top 25 Prospects Update

By pbadmin

1.
Name: Michal Rozsival
Position: Defenseman
Height: 6-1
Weight: 208
Birthdate: Sept. 3, 1978
Birthplace: Vlasim, Czech Rep.
Acquired: 1996 NHL Draft, fourth round (105th overall)

HF Comments: Michal started off the 99-00 season on a positive note, impressing Penguins management enough to earn himself a spot on the full-time roster. Since then he has continued to climb the latter of success. His valiant efforts have not gone unnoticed and have moved him up to the number one spot on the prospect list. As a rookie, Michal still has much to learn, but he does appear to be doing so quickly. Mid-way through the season, and one coach later, he’s not only earned the respect of his teammates, but more importantly, he has also earned the respect of his coach. Herb Brooks has admitted to being very impressed by Michal’s work ethics. He says even though Rozsival is a young defenseman, he feels as though he can trust him on a nightly basis.
Year Team League GP G A Pts PIM
1999-00 Pittsburgh NHL 45 3 11 14 22
1998-99 Syracuse AHL 49 3 22 25 72
1997-98 Swift Current WHL 71 14 55 69 122

2.
Name: Andrew Ference
Position: Defenseman
Ht: 5’10″ Wt: 190
Born: March 17, 1979
Edmonton, Alberta
Acquired: 1997 NHL Draft, eighth round selection (208th overall)

HF Comments: “Andy” had a shot in the NHL early in the season, and did a fine job for a rookie defenseman. Still very much a crowd pleaser, both in the NHL and AHL, he’s determined enough to make it in the “big leagues” on a full-time basis one day soon. He works hard, skates with incredible speed and skill, and doesn’t appear to be afraid of anyone or anything. Like Michal Rozsival, he is an offensive minded defenseman (with perhaps a little more grit than Michal has), who may need to sharpen his defensive skills, but overall he is a welcomed addition to the Penguins organization. Former member of the World Junior Championship team (Canada) and WHL Humanitarian of the Year (1999), Ference has come a long way in proving himself. If it is future NHLers you seek, Andrew Ference should be on top of the list.
Year Team League GP G A Pts PIM
1999-00 Wilkes-Br AHL 8 2 6 8 25
Pittsburgh NHL 30 2 4 6 20
1998-99 Kansas City IHL 5 1 2 3 4
1998-99 Portland WHL 40 11 21 32 104
1998-99 Canada WJC 7 1 2 3 6
1997-98 Portland WHL 72 11 57 68 142
1996-97 Portland WHL 72 12 32 44 163

3.
Name: Jean-Sebastien Aubin
Position: Goalie
Height: 5-11
Weight: 176
Birthdate: July 17, 1977
Birthplace: Montreal, Quebec
Acquired: 1995 NHL Draft, third round (76th overall)

HF Comments: Jean-Sebastien has proven himself to be a future NHL starter. He stepped up and did a terrific job when Pittsburgh needed him the most. Granted he’s made a few mistakes and may not have the hottest record in the American Hockey League, but his time on NHL ice has been more than impressive. Coach Brooks has made it very clear he and his staff are very impressed with this young goaltender. The most frustrating part for Aubin however, is living out the season bouncing back and forth between two teams (Wilkes-Barre & Pittsburgh). In many ways it is like standing in the revolving door of success. One minute he’s feeling confident and doing a great job in Pittsburgh, the next he’s on his way back down to Wilkes-Barre. Management backs up their decision by stating it is the best way to make sure Aubin gets in plenty of ice time. With Barrasso back in the number one spot, the number two goaltender spends much of his time on the bench. Without any question, circumstances will change next season and Jean Sebastien could very well get his chance in the spotlight. Until then, its back on the yo-yo string.
Year Team League GP GAA W L T SO
1999-00 Wilkes-Br AHL 9 4.35 2 7 0 0
Pittsburgh NHL 23 2.70 10 11 0 1
1998-99 Kansas City IHL 13 3.27 5 7 1 0
Pittsburgh NHL 17 2.22 4 3 6 2

4.
Name: Milan Kraft
Position: Center
Height: 6-3
Weight: 191
Birthdate: Jan 17, 1980
Birthplace: Plzen, Czech Rep.
Acquired: 1998 NHL Draft, first round (23rd overall)

HF Comments: Milan Kraft and his team, the junior Czech Republic national team, were the stars of the 1999 World Junior Championships in Sweden as they claimed a gold medal victory. If his performance on the international stage (5 goals 7 assists in 6 games) was any indication of the future, Pittsburgh is in for a real treat. Milan is an incredible player who doesn’t appear to have any trouble seeing the ice, or taking advantage of his opponents’ mistakes. Is this the start of another Jagr-like legend, or simply the evolution of a talented player who will eventually make his way to NHL ice? Time will tell, but the money is currently on the creation of another legend. Kraft’s estimated time of arrival in the world of professional hockey … the 2000-2001 hockey season.
Year Team League GP G A Pts PIM
1999-00 Prince Albert WHL 21 13 20 33 18
1998-99 Prince Albert WHL 68 40 46 86 32
1997-98 Plzen Czech 16 0 5 5 0
Plzen Czech Jr 24 22 21 43 12

5.
Name: Robert Dome
Position: Center/Right Wing
Height: 6-0
Weight: 210
Birthdate: January 29, 1979
Birthplace: Skalica, Slovakia
Acquired: 1997 NHL Draft, first round (17th overall)

HF Comments: In terms of talent, Rob Dome is a bright spot in the system. In terms of consistency however, he has improved, but still has some maturing to do. He had a strong showing in training camp and accepted demotion to the American Hockey League (Wilkes-Barre/Scranton) like a real pro. Since then however, he’s remained an AHL caliber player, whose NHL career is now in question. Far from a lost cause, Dome still has a great deal of potential, but he must first master the toughest skill a player can possess, consistency. Now more than ever, he is close to becoming the NHL worthy player the Penguins had hoped he would become, but he has to force positive play, using his size to play a tough game and dominate not only the puck, but also the ice. Patience is a must with all young players, the question is whether or not Pittsburgh will want to see this project through. Fortunately for Dome, Pittsburgh is not in as much of a hurry to rush its forwards to the NHL, as they are to utilize the defensemen in the system.
Year Team League GP G A Pts PIM
1999-00 Pittsburgh NHL 19 1 5 6 0
Wilkes-Br AHL 22 3 13 16 48
1998-99 Houston IHL 20 2 4 6 24
Syracuse AHL 48 18 17 35 70
1997-98 Pittsburgh NHL 30 5 2 7 12
Syracuse AHL 36 21 25 46 77

6.
Name: Konstantin Kolstov
Position: Right Wing
Height: 6-0
Weight: 187
Birthdate: April 17, 1981
Birthplace: Minsk, Belarus
Acquired: 1999 NHL Draft, first round (18th overall)

HF Comments: Still a teen-ager, Konstantin has much to prove, but is predicted to do great things for the Penguins. Drafted in the first round of the 1999 NHL Entry Draft (18th overall), Pittsburgh was pleasantly surprised to see this talented winger still available. His greatest gift is his ability to skate. Some say he was the best skater in the Draft. Time, and of course some exposure to professional North American hockey, will be the true judge of his abilities. Don’t expect Konstantin to be a real force in the NHL over the next couple years, but do keep an eye out for him in the future.
Year Team League GP G A Pts PIM
1998-99 Cherepovec Russian 33 3 0 3 8
1997-98 Minsk Div I 52 15 18 33 60

7.
Name: Pavel Skrbek
Position: Defenseman
Height: 6-3
Weight: 213
Birthdate: Aug 8, 1978
Birthplace: Kladno, Czech Rep.
Acquired: 1996 NHL Draft, second round (28th overall)

HF Comments: Skrbek has the tools to be a solid defenseman, however he must take more advantage of his size. He already posses great game sense and a nice shot. Now all he has to do is put the complete package together. He is learning, but needs to continue to do so before he can embrace NHL ice.
Year Team League GP G A Pts PIM
1999-00 Wilkes-BR AHL 35 6 10 16 26
1998-99 Pittsburgh NHL 4 0 0 0 2
1998-99 Syracuse AHL 64 6 16 22 38
1997-98 Kladno Czech. 47 4 10 14 126

8. Name: Boris Protsenko Position: Defenseman Height: 5-11 Weight: 192 Birthdate: August 21, 1978 Birthplace: Kiev, Ukraine Acquired: 1996 NHL Draft, third round (77th overall)

HF Comments: Protsenko’s strength is his physical style of play. Once touted as a selfish player who had earned the nickname “The Ukrainian Nightmare,” he has since proven to be a dedicated player who’s willing to work with the entire team. A trench digger with a decent amount of on-ice vision, Pretsenko seems to know exactly where to be when it comes time to score. Given the opportunity, he won’t hesitate to put puck in the net or make the play that helps someone else do the same. On the downside however, he could lose out because of Pittsburgh’s offensive depth, especially at Right Wing.
Year Team League GP G A Pts PIM
1999-00 Wilkes-Br AHL 36 7 10 17 26
Portland WHL 2 0 1 1 5
1998-99 Syracuse AHL 65 24 24 48 84
1997-98 Calgary WHL 70 40 47 87 124

9. Name: Jeremy Van Hoof Position: Defenseman Height: 6-2 Weight: 190 Birthdate: Aug 12, 1981 Birthplace: Lindsay, Ontario Acquired: 1999 NHL Draft, 2nd round (57th overall)

HF Comments: Jeremy is a solid player uses his size to win the battles in the corners and to stand strong in front of his own net. Respected by his teammates, he attacks the game with a great deal of maturity and shows no signs of letting up. He’s the type of player Pittsburgh could definitely use. Dependable stay-at-home defenseman are hard to find these days. Finding one who’s only 18 years old is a rare commodity.
Year Team League GP G A Pts PIM
1999-00 Ottawa OHL 39 3 8 11 38
1998-99 Ottawa OHL 54 0 13 13 46

10. Name: Martin Sonnenberg Position: Left Wing Height: 6-0 Weight: 184 Birthdate: Jan. 23, 1978 Birthplace: Wetaskiwin, Alberta Acquired: signed as a free agent on Oct. 9, 1998 Year Team League GP G A Pts PIM 1999-00 Wilkes-Br AHL 33 11 17 28 60 Pittsburgh NHL 9 1 2 3 0 1998-99 Syracuse AHL 35 14 9 23 31 Pittsburgh NHL 44 1 1 2 19 11. Name: Valentin Morozov Position: C Height: 5-10 Weight: 196 Birthdate: June 1, 1975 Birthplace: Moscow, Russia Acquired: 1994 NHL Draft, sixth round (154th overall)

HF Comments: Statistically speaking Valentin had a decent season last year. This year however, he started off with a concussion, but has since come back to prove his worth. It’s still not certain whether or not he has the ability to make it to the NHL, but he is certainly working hard to become an offensive threat for the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins. Valentin’s biggest downfall is his lack of ability to complete a play and lack of aggression in obtaining the puck. If he can overcome those two obstacles, perhaps then he would get a chance to shine.
Year Team League GP G A Pts PIM
1999-00 Wilkes-Br AHL 38 11 16 27 2
1998-99 Syracuse AHL 63 17 23 40 10

12.
Name: Eric Meloche
Position: RW
Height: 5-11
Weight: 195
Birthdate: May 1, 1976
Birthplace: Montreal, Quebec
Acquired: 1996 NHL Draft, seventh round (186th overall)

HF Comments: A senior at Ohio State, Eric is a graceful skater, who adds speed and power to his game to help make things happen. He has a shot unlike any other, and is greatly depended on in power play and penalty kill situations. The opposition knows all too well however, this skilled winger is a threat each time he steps on the ice. Its players like Meloche who make ice hockey one of the most exhilarating spectator sports.
Year Team League GP G A Pts PIM
1999-00 Ohio State CCHA 24 11 8 19 78
1998-99 Ohio State CCHA 31 9 13 22 83
1997-98 Ohio State CCHA 42 26 22 48 86
1996-97 Ohio State CCHA 39 12 11 23 78

13.
Name: Sven Butenschon
Position: Defense
Height: 6-4
Weight: 215
Birthdate: March 22, 1976
Birthplace: Itzehoe, West Germany
Acquired: 1994 NHL Draft, third round (57th overall)

Year Team League GP G A Pts PIM
1999-00 Wilkes-Br AHL 41 9 15 24 56
Pittsburgh NHL 1 0 0 0 0
1998-99 Houston IHL 57 1 4 5 81
Pittsburgh NHL 17 0 0 0 6

14.
Name: Tomas Skvaridlo
Position: Center
Height: 6-1
Weight: 180
Birthdate: June 19, 1981
Birthplace: Zvolen, Slovakia
Acquired: 1999 NHL Draft, fifth round (144th overall)

Year Team League GP G A Pts PIM
1999-00 Kingston OHL 41 10 21 31 10

15.
Name: David Cameron
Position: Center
Height: 6-2
Weight: 178
Birthdate: April 27, 1980
Birthplace: Winnipeg, Manitoba
Acquired: 1998 NHL Draft, third round (80th overall)

Year Team League GP G A Pts PIM
1999-00 Saskatoon WHL 47 15 26 41 37

16.
Name: Chris Kelleher
Position: Defenseman
Height: 6-1
Weight: 210
Birthdate: March 23, 1975
Birthplace: Cambridge, Mass.
Acquired: 1993 NHL Draft, fifth round (130th overall)

HF Comments: Head Coach Glenn Patrick named Chris alternate captain for the 1999-00 season
Year Team League GP G A Pts PIM
1999-00 Wilkes-Br AHL 34 0 4 4 24
1998-99 Syracuse AHL 45 1 4 5 43
1997-98 Boston U. HE 37 4 26 30 40

17.
Name: Alexei Kolkunov
Position: Center
Height: 6-0
Weight: 201
Birthdate: Feb. 3, 1977
Birthplace: Belgorod, Russia
Acquired: 1995 NHL Draft, sixth round (154th overall)

HF Comments: Kolkunov is projected to become a third or fourth line role-player, who before coming to North America displayed strong two-way play. In order for this to happen however, he must first continue focussing on what he can do for the team this year. If he puts forth an extra effort it will help justify the decision made by the Penguins scouting staff.
Year Team League GP G A Pts PIM
1999-00 Wilkes-Br AHL 41 7 11 18 15
1998-99 Syracuse AHL 55 5 13 18 20

18.
Name: Matt Murley
Position: Left Wing
Height: 6-1
Weight: 175
Birthdate: Dec. 17, 1979
Birthplace: Troy, NY
Acquired: 1999 NHL Draft, second round (51st Overall)

HF Comments: Matt is a sophomore at Rensselaer (RPI) this year. He has much to prove, but the season is young and he and his teammates are off to a great start ( 8-2-0). A fine example of what kind of player he is would be an incredible performance against Cornell on November 5, 1999 , where Murley tallied 3 points from 3 assists. With a love for the game and a great deal of passion on his side, Murley should make it to the professional level. Whether he has what it takes to make it to the NHL hasn’t yet been determined. The odds are against him, but like everything else … odds change.
Year Team League GP G A Pts PIM
1999-00 RPI ECAC 21 5 18 23 –
1998-99 RPI ECAC 36 17 33 50 32
1997-98 Syracuse Jr. A 49 56 70 126 203

19.
Name: Tom Kostopoulos
Position: RW
Height: 6-0
Weight: 204
Birthdate: Jan. 24, 1979
Birthplace: Mississauga, Ontario
Acquired: 1999 NHL Draft, seventh round (204th overall)

HF Comments: In 1998-99, Tom was ranked 2nd on London (OHL) with 87 points in the regular season, and 35 points (19 goals, 16 assists) in 25 playoff games.
Year Team League GP G A Pts PIM
1999-00 Wilkes-Br AHL 40 16 14 30 66
1998-99 London OHL 66 27 60 87 114

20.
Greg Crozier
Position: Left Wing
Height: 6-3
Weight: 200
Birthdate: July 6, 1976
Birthplace: Calgary, Alberta
Acquired: 1994 NHL Draft, third round (73rd overall)

HF Comments: Greg is playing very well for the “Jr. Pens” this season. He’s a smart player who uses his head and does what he can to change the momentum of a failing game. He probably won’t get a taste of Pittsburgh until next year, but he’s a likely candidate to do just that. It all depends on how well he works through the remainder of the season and whether or not he’s committed to a strong performance in the next year’s training camp. First impressions are always lasting impressions.
Year Team League GP G A Pts PIM
1999-00 Wilkes-Br AHL 37 13 14 27 18
1998-99 Michigan WCHA 39 7 6 13 63

21.
Name: Alex Zevakhin
Position: C/LW
Height: 6-0
Weight: 187
Birthdate: June 4, 1980
Birthplace: Perm, Russia
Acquired: 1998 NHL Draft, second round (54th overall)

HF Comments: Alex is a good skater with excellent speed. He is considered a creative playmaker with strong puck handling skills. He has a good shot with a quick release and the ability to maneuver in heavy traffic. An effective forechecker and two-way player, this impressive athlete is another bright spot on the Penguins prospect list. What more would you expect from a player who was ranked 59th among Europeans on the CSS mid-term Ranking, and had a final ranking of fifth. Captain of the 1998 Russian Under-18 team, Alex has proven himself as a leader, which could potentially inspire positive play in future teammates…. not such a bad quality to have on any team.
International experience: Won a gold medal with the Russian junior team at the 1998 Four Nations Tournament at Yaroslavl where he played with such 1999 Junior World Champions as Florida’s draftee Denis Shvidky, Phoenix’ draftee Kiril Safronov, Artem Maryams, Anaheim’s draftee Vitaly Vishnevsky and Los Angeles’ draftee Alexey Volkov.

**scouting information and 99-00 stats were written and provided by Denis Neznanov

Year Team League GP G A Pts PIM
1999-00 CSKA Russia 9 1 0 1 0
1998-99 CSKA Russia 42 7 4 11 16
1997-98 CSKA-2 Russia Jr 32 13 14 27 20
CSKA Russia 10 1 0 1 0

22.
Name: Craig Hillier
Position: Goalie
Height: 6-1
Weight: 183
Birthdate: Feb 28, 1978
Birthplace: Cole Harbour, Nova Scotia
Acquired: 1996 NHL Draft, first round (23rd overall)

HF Comments: With Skudra and Aubin fighting for the number two spot, behind the injured Barrasso, there’s not much room for the likes of Hillier. Once a hope for the future, Hillier is quickly slipping in popularity. Most recently he was demoted to the East Coast Hockey League, so Wilkes-Barre could utilize Aubin and young David Weninger. At the same time he still has a great deal of potential. It wasn’t a lack of skill that made him the first round choice in 1996. If he holds on, works hard, and takes advantage of the few times he does get called up, he may get a shot at the NHL within the next couple years. More than any other position however, goaltending is an art form which can only be mastered through time and patience. If Hillier doesn’t stick to those rules, he may lose his chance.
Year Team League GP GAA W L T SO
1999-00 Wilkes-Br AHL 11 4.15 1 6 2 0
1998-99 Syracuse AHL 36 3.94 9 18 6 1
1997-98 Ottawa OHL 46 2.50 27 12 4 6

23.
Name: Ryan Malone
Position: LW
Height: 6-3
Weight: 185
Birthdate: Dec. 1, 1979
Birthplace: Pittsburgh, PA
Acquired: 1999 NHL Draft, fourth round (115th overall)

HF Comments: It would be wonderful to see Ryan return home and make a name for himself. Before he can do so however, he must first develop his skills at the college level then tackle the challenge of professional hockey. Considering he’s only a freshman, it would be fair to say he’s off to a good start.
Year Team League GP G A Pts PIM
1999-00 St. Cloud WCHA 21 4 16 20 48
1998-99 Omaha USHL 51 14 22 36 81
1997-98 Shattuck USHSW 50 41 44 85 69

24.
Name: Toby Petersen
Position: Center
Height: 5-10
Weight: 196
Birthdate: Oct 27, 1978
Birthplace: Bloomington, Minn.
Acquired: 1998 NHL Draft, ninth round (244th overall)

HF Comments: Toby is currently a senior at Collorado College. In 1998-99 he suffered from two broken legs, but has since recovered and is ready to challenge the season at hand. His efforts have not gone unnoticed as he was elected Team Captain for the 1999-00 season.
Year Team League GP G A Pts PIM
1999-00 Colorado WCHA 24 12 15 27 6
1998-99 Colorado WCHA 21 12 12 24 2
1997-98 Colorado WCHA 34 13 15 28 30
1996-97 Colorado WCHA 40 17 21 38 18

25.
Name: Scott Myers
Position: Goalie
Height: 5-10
Weight: 175
Birthdate: June 11, 1979
Birthplace: Winnipeg, Manitoba
Acquired: 1998 NHL Draft, fourth round selection (110th overall)

Year Team League GP GAA W L T SO
1999-00 Prince George WHL 28 3.07 14 11 3 0

Notables

Name: Dennis Bonvie
Position: Right Wing
Height: 5-11
Weight: 205
Birthdate: July 23, 1973
Birthplace: Antigonish, Nova Scotia
Acquired: Signed as a free agent by Pittsburgh on September 20, 1999

HF Comments: Dennis is better known for how hard he hits than he is for his ability to score. In 1996-97 he set an AHL record for penalty minutes in a single season with 522. In 1994 he racked up 600 penalty minutes in 120 games between Kitchener and North Bay of the Ontario Hockey League. Since then his reputation has continued to grow. This year however, he’s adding a scoring punch to the mix.
Year Team League GP G A Pts PIM
1999-00 Wilkes-Br AHL 29 2 20 22 210
Pittsburgh NHL 12 0 0 0 37
1998-99 Chicago NHL 11 0 0 0 44
Portland AHL 3 1 0 1 16
Philadelphia AHL 37 4 10 14 158

Hans Jonsson
Position: Defense
Height: 6-1
Weight: 202
Birthdate: Aug 2, 1973
Birthplace: Jarved, Sweden
Acquired: 1993 NHL Draft, eleventh round (286th overall)

Year Team League GP G A Pts PIM
1999-00 Pittsburgh NHL 39 1 4 5 4
1998-99 Modo Sweden 41 3 4 7 40

Name: John Slaney
Position: Defense
Height: 5-11
Weight: 189
Birthdate: February 7, 1972
Birthplace: St. Johns, Nfld.
Acquired: Tryout 1999

Year Team League GP G A Pts PIM
1999-00 Wilkes-BR AHL 33 18 23 41 19
Pittsburgh NHL 8 1 3 4 4
1998-99 Milwaukee IHL 7 0 1 1 0
Nashville NHL 46 2 12 14 14

Name: Tyler Wright
Position: C
Height: 5-11
Weight: 185
Birthdate: April 6, 1973
Birthplace:
Acquired: trade from Edmonton Oilers in June 1996

Year Team League GP G A Pts PIM
1999-00 Wilkes-Br AHL 25 5 15 20 86
Pittsburgh NHL 15 4 4 8 4