Pittsburgh Penguins Rookie Report Cards


The Pittsburgh Penguins have fought the injury bug this entire season. All kinds of issues have put Penguins on the shelf this year–physical injuries such as shoulders, knees, feet, ankles, groins, and cheekbones to illnesses such as cancer, blood clots, and the mumps. Penguins’ players seem to have no luck this year. As a matter of fact, less than one third of the opening day lineup has managed to get to this point in the season injury free. Hockey is a rough sport, but even this is quite excessive.

Good thing the Penguins build their team from within and develop most of their players through the team’s AHL affiliate, the Wilkes-Barre/ Scranton Penguins. Several minor leaguers have been called up and inserted into the lineup due to the injuries. Here is a report card for players that started the season with the baby Pens, but are currently showing their stuff on the NHL level:

Derrick Pouliot – B+
Although DP has only played one game with the big squad, he has shown that it was no mistake giving him a shot in the NHL. With one goal in his first game on his first shot, he quickly got the support of Pens’ fans.  He has quickly progressed to elite status at every level of to this point in his career. Pouliot can do it all—play shut down defense, score goals, set up others, kill penalties, quarterback the powerplay, and lead by example. There is no doubt in my mind that this quick skating offensive-defensmen will be a permanent NHL player some time very soon.

Bryan Rust – B-
Rust has used his speed and offensive prowess to turn some heads in Pittsburgh in his short tenure with the Pittsburgh Penguins. Although his numbers are far from elite, he has been inserted into many different roles on the team and has shown some success. Rust can score goals, forecheck hard, create space, and is willing to stand up for teammates. All of these things go a long way in an NHL locker room.

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Scott Harrington – C+
Harrington isn’t a highlight reel kind of defensemen, but he gets the job done. He has a physical edge to his game, and you would be hard pressed to find a better character guy in the locker room. Harrington does all the little things that don’t get recognition on NHL tonight but they make him a solid defenseman. His game is similar in many ways to that of Rob Scuderi.

Bobby Farnham – C
This guy is a flat out agitator; he is a Steve Downie without the soft hands. Farnham is a fan favorite in Wilkes-Barre because of his willingness to fight anyone at any time for any reason. He sticks up for his teammates, protects his goalie, brings limitless energy, and gets under the skin of the other team’s best players. This might not lead to a permanent NHL job, but it sure spices up a boring game for the fans.

Brian Dumoulin – D+
If Dumo can shake his nerves, he might prove to be a decent NHL defenseman. Until then, he is average at best. He skates and sees the ice very well, but he makes continue to fall victim to AHL mistakes. Dumoulin reminds me of a young Despres that makes poor choices. Perhaps if he can simplify his game and stop trying to do too much, he can make a pitch at the pros.

As a whole, the Pittsburgh Penguins rookies have been able to step up when needed and keep the Penguins on the right track. Team play and the Penguins’ record have not suffered with these guys in the lineup. Playing in Pittsburgh may even help some of these rookies develop their games even more quickly. Despite the injuries in Pittsburgh, the Penguins are sure making the best out of their bad luck.