Pittsburgh Penguins Young Prospects Providing a Glimmer of Hope


The Pittsburgh Penguins are a team struggling to find offensive depth. They have a lot of players that can step in and play bottom-six minutes, but they haven’t been able to find a young prospect that can play top-six and contribute.

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However, things may be looking up a bit when you glance at the Wilkes-Barre Scranton Penguins and see Conor Sheary and Kasperi Kapanen. The Pittsburgh Penguins may finally have some young talent to look forward to on offense.

Of course, AHL success doesn’t always translate to NHL success. But, it’s still uplifting to see these young guys playing as well as they are, especially on a bigger stage in the playoffs.

As it stands right now, Conor Sheary is tied for third in scoring in the AHL playoffs with 7 points (3G, 4A) in four games played. He is only two points back from the leaders, and all four players ahead of him in scoring have two additional games played.

In the case of Kasperi Kapanen, he has also played four games and has 5 points (3G, 2A). That puts him in a logjam at fourth in scoring so far in these playoffs. Kapanen has been quite special since joining the Penguins approximately one month ago.

The major difference between the two is that Kapanen is expected to be a top-six NHL forward this fall for the Pittsburgh Penguins. Whether he is up to the challenge remains to be seen, but he sure is off to a good start so far since coming to North America.

Conor Sheary isn’t looked at in nearly the same capacity as Kapanen. But, he has been extremely impressive all season in the AHL. The knock on Sheary is that he’s a bit undersized at 5’9 and 174 lbs. but he’s very skilled. Young and fast are the words that Jim Rutherford used for next season’s Pittsburgh Penguins, right?

Sheary tallied 45 points (20G, 25A) in 58 games this season. His 127 shots on goal showed that he isn’t afraid to pull the trigger, which is a mentality that the Pittsburgh Penguins could surely use. It’ll be interesting to watch him in camp next season.

We haven’t had the privilege of seeing Oskar Sundqvist crack the lineup for Wilkes-Barre just yet. It’s reported that he could be in very soon, though. Sundqvist is a guy that’s going to get every chance to make the Pittsburgh Penguins NHL roster next season. He’s a big, skilled center that plays a solid defensive game while also exhibiting some offensive punch. At worst, I’d imagine he’ll get looks for the fourth line center role if Brandon Sutter is still a Pittsburgh Penguin in 2015-16.

There has been a lot of talk about the defensive prospects within the Pens system. It’s refreshing to see that some of the offensive youth within this organization is playing well and making a case for themselves. Considering the free agent market this summer and sparse trade options, if the Pittsburgh Penguins truly want to get younger and faster these guys may be relied upon.

Next: The Case of Beau Bennet: Enough is Enough

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