While there’s still a mystery surrounding the starters on the bottom two lines for the Pittsburgh Penguins, they could look at one of there youngsters to fill one of those open slots.
Jayson Megna, 23, was signed by the Pens as an undrafted free agent following his 2011-12 campaign with the University of Nebraska-Omaha Mavericks, and has the potential to be a contributor for the Pens next season.
Standing at six-feet and weighing in at 193-pounds, Megna’s not one of the biggest skaters, but his speed is what attracts Pittsburgh.
Running an uptempo offense, the Pens fast-paced style of play fits Megna’s skill set.
Attending the Pens prospect development camp in July, Megna strongly impressed the organization and he also scored two goals (game-high) in Pittsburgh’s prospect scrimmage the last day.
Dealing with lower-body injuries all last season in the AHL for Wilkes-Barre/Scranton, Megna didn’t have the most compelling statistics.
Finishing with a 12 points (5G, 7A) in 56 games for WBS, he was able to salvage a better showing during the baby Pens Calder Cup run with five points (2G, 3A) in 12 contests — albeit they still weren’t eye-popping.
When he was healthy and playing for the University of Nebraska-Omaha Mavs, Megna tallied 31 points (13G, 18A) in 38 contests, and was named to the Western Collegiate Hockey Association’s (WCHA) All-Rookie team.
Pittsburgh has found themselves scrambling for players to skate on the bottom-six, so Megna’s door is wide-open in terms of him making the team.
Although the Pens have enough current NHL players to stop Megna from performing for them, they really aren’t appealing, and so giving him a shot isn’t as farfetched as it sounds.
Chris Conner, Matt D’Agostini, Tanner Glass, Steve Macintyre, and Harry Zolnierczyk are just a few names the Pens could look towards as options on the bottom-six — but that’s just because they all have NHL experience.
And while they all possess the ability to play steady hockey due to the Pens star-studded roster, the organization shouldn’t count on them making a difference.
With Megna, because he has yet to play in a professional hockey game, at least you get to see if the kid has the capability to make it at the NHL level.
We’ve seen undrafted players suffice in NHL before — two of which are already on the Pens (Pascal Dupuis, Chris Kunitz).
As cliché as it sounds, the undrafted skaters have more motivation to succeed than the ones that do get selected — so why not give Megna a chance?
We’ll have to see how the lineup card eventually shakes out, but Megna is without a doubt a viable option for the Pens.