The Pittsburgh Penguins have shown a tendency in the last few years to pick mainly North American prospects in the NHL Entry Draft. Nearly two months into the season, many of the 10 Penguins prospects in the CHL are performing admirably.
Ryan Stone, RW – Brandon (WHL) – Drafted in 2003, 2nd round, 32nd overall.
Stone is one of Pittsburgh’s strongest prospects in the CHL, with plenty of scoring ability and a hard nose to boot. Stone has amassed over 100 penalty minutes in both previous seasons for Brandon of the WHL.
Stone is having a fantastic season in 2004-05, where he is currently second in league scoring. His great form began from the first week of the season, when he was named the WHL Player of the Week, when he scored seven points (four goals, three assists) in helping his Wheat Kings start the season with a 3-0 record.
Paul Bissonnette, D – Saginaw (OHL) – Drafted in 2003, 4th Round, 121st overall
Bissonnette is a strong stay at home defenseman who can also join the rush. The young blueliner turned plenty of heads when he almost made the Pittsburgh squad in his first training camp in the 2003-04 season.
Bissonnette has returned to his struggling Saginaw squad in the OHL again this season, where the team has only 3 wins from 16 games.
Daniel Carcillo, LW – Mississauga (OHL) – Drafted in 2003, 3rd round, 73rd overall
Carcillo is a strong goal scorer with a nasty edge, combining 30 and 29 goals the last two seasons with plenty of penalty minutes for Sarnia of the OHL. After beginning this season again with Sarnia, he was traded to Mississauga on October 19.
This season has started slowly for Carcillo, with only 2 goals so far through 15 games, but has shown his nasty side with 56 penalty minutes.
Stephen Dixon, C – Cape Breton (QMJHL) – Drafted in 2003, 7th round, 229th overall
Dixon, a former teammate of Penguins goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury, was selected late in the draft of 2003, coming in at 229th overall. The talented two-way center is considered a strong defensive forward prospect, perhaps a future NHL checker.
Dixon returns for his fourth season for the Screaming Eagles of Cape Breton in 2004-05, where he is now the team’s top center, tying for the team lead with 14 points. Amongst those eight goals include five on the power play.
|Cape Breton (QMJHL)||19||8||6||14||10||-7|
Jonathan Filewich, RW – Lethbridge (WHL) – Drafted in 2003, 3rd round, 70th overall
Filewich is another strong power forward prospect in the Penguins system. After leading his team, Prince George, in goals last season with 30, he was traded to Lethbridge just before this season.
Filewich’s best game came on October 22, when he posted the game winning goal and three assists in a 6-1 victory. His totals stand now at six goals and seven assists through 17 games.
Moises Gutierrez, RW – Kamloops (WHL) – Drafted in 2004, 6th round, 164th overall
Already at 6’3 and 200 pounds, Gutierrez has the size that scouts love. Entering his third season in the Western Hockey League, he is looking to improve on his stats from the 2003-04 season which saw him post 19 points and 107 penalty minutes. Last season Gutierrez spent some time as linemates with fellow Penguins prospect, Eric Christensen, who is now with Pittsburgh’s AHL affiliate in Wilkes-Barre.
Gutierrez would like to have more goals than the single tally he has so far, but looks set to see plenty of the penalty box again this season, posting 26 penalty minutes through the first 16 games.
Tyler Kennedy, C – Sault Ste. Marie (OHL) – Drafted in 2004, 4th round, 99th overall
Kennedy is a combination of all that is good in hockey players. With soft hands, great hockey sense, strong leadership and plenty of heart, Kennedy could be a future NHL star. After being picked 99th overall in 2004, he returned to Sault Ste. Marie for the 2004-05 season.
After missing games earlier in the season due to suspension and illness, Kennedy has clicked at better than a point per game. Just two games back from a three week layoff with bronchitis, Kennedy posted a goal and three assists in a 5-1 win against Paul Bissonnette’s Saginaw Spirit. His nine points put him third in team scoring, despite only playing in seven of 14 games.
|Sault Ste. Marie (OHL)||7||3||6||9||6||0|
Jordan Morrison, C – Peterborough (OHL) – Drafted in 2004, 7th round, 222nd overall
Despite being selected down in the seventh round in the last draft, Morrison has plenty of skills. After improving to 45 points in the 2003-04 season from 14 in his rookie year, Morrison looks set to blitz those numbers in 2004-05.
Morrison’s development continues as he grows into his 5’11 frame, and much of his potential is so far untapped. Despite this he has had many strong games this season, including scoring two goals and an assist in an 8-6 win against Oshawa on October 24.
Michael Sersen, D – Rimouski (QMJHL) – Drafted in 2004, 5th round, 130th overall
Sersen, a native of Slovakia, was highly touted enough to be taken with the first overall pick in the CHL import draft by Rimouski at the beginning of the 2003-04 season. Sersen is a skilled offensive defenseman, posting 25 points in 45 games. He also has the advantage of playing on the same team as one Sidney Crosby, the heavy favorite to be taken first overall in the 2005 NHL Entry Draft.
Sersen has started strongly again this season, already posting two goals and 11 assists in his first 20 games. One of the important things for Sersen is to make sure he avoids injuries this season, which has caused him to miss many games in the last two years.
Lukas Bolf, D – Barrie (OHL) – Drafted in 2003, 6th round, 169th overall
Czech born Bolf is entering his second season in the OHL in 2004-05. The defenseman, who was selected by Barrie with the 27th overall pick in the CHL import draft before last season, has represented his home country at international level in junior competition.
So far this season, Bolf has posted totals of three goals and four assists in 12 games, hoping to better his total of 20 points (two goals, 18 assists) from last season.
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