Chirps from Center Ice

A fan blog about the AHL's Wilkes-Barre / Scranton Penguins

Fourth Quarter Grades

The Penguins concluded the 2012-2013 regular season with a 3-1 loss to the Manchester Monarchs at home on Saturday night. They have qualified for the Calder Cup Playoffs for an eleventh straight season. They are the five seed and will face off against the Binghamton Senators.

But before we look ahead to the future, it’s time to pass out grades for the final time this season.

The Penguins finished 12-6-1 in the fourth and final quarter, which included a seven game win streak and undoubtedly sealed the Penguins fate for the playoff push.

Here is a look at each player who participated in the 19 games:

Forwards

Chris Collins — (15 GP, 1-3-4, -2) — With the acquisition of Derek Nesbitt at the trade deadline, may be odd man out for the playoff run. In the fifteen games he appeared in, didn’t set the world afire, but held his own. Grade: C

Bobby Farnham — (19 GP, 1-4-5, even) — Plays with an edge. Sometimes goes over the top. Will get under your skin both on and off the ice. He needs to continue to walk that razor thin line in order for the Penguins to succeed. Grade: C+

Brian Gibbons — (19 GP, 1-8-9, -4) — When I sat down and started working out these numbers, was disappointed in what I saw from Gibbons for the quarter. I expected more. However, you do notice him game to game and normally not for bad things, so there’s that. Grade: B-

Riley Holzapfel — (19 GP, 5-11-16, +1) — Top line player was a huge part in the surge to get into the playoffs. Obviously you hope that the trend continues all the way till June. Grade: A

Chad Kolarik — (18 GP, 11-10-21, +2) — Teams best player for the entire season, even though he didn’t start the season in Wilkes-Barre. (traded by Connecticut for Benn Ferriero) Got close to the AHL scoring lead, but fell short. Grade: A+

Jayson Megna — (18 GP, 2-2-4, -5) — Gives me headaches watching him play. Yet night after night he is there in the lineup. Has the worst +/- on the team for the quarter. Grade: C-

Adam Payerl — (19 GP, 1-2-3, even) — Has become a third / fourth line staple. Not a liability. Although, some nights he’s barely noticed. Good thing? Grade: C+

Warren Peters — (19 GP, 2-3-5, +3) — Numbers aren’t anything to write home about, but if the AHL kept faceoff statistics would probably be tops in the League. Grade: B

Zach Sill — (19 GP, 2-2-4, -1) — Is the heart of the team. If he returns next season, is a front runner for the “C” if Mormina doesn’t return. Grade: B

Trevor Smith — (18 GP, 6-10-16, +6) — Found a home on the top line centering Holzapfel and Kolarik. A line which will be relied on heavily to score in the postseason. He knows what it takes to win a Calder Cup. Let’s hope he hasn’t forgotten. Grade: A

Paul Thompson — (19 GP, 5-1-6, even) — Back from injury from early in the season. Team missed Thompson when he was out. Has heated up of late. You want him to get hot and stay hot. Grade: B+

Dominik Uher — (14 GP, 3-0-3, even) — I love this kid. Plays sound hockey. Surprised everyone scoring all of his points in Newfoundland. If he can chip in offensively here and there in the postseason, we all will be happy. Grade: B

Defensemen

Brian Dumoulin — (19 GP, 2-6-8, +2) — Has improved significantly from the beginning of the season. Played a great fourth quarter for the most part. Grade: B

Alex Grant — (19 GP, 2-10-12, -4) — May be playing for a job next season. Flourishes on the power play. Has maybe been the lone bright spot on the struggling power play this season. Grade: B-

Joey Mormina — (19 GP, 1-5-5, -3) — The Captain. Numbers don’t reflect how much of an important piece he is to the defensive corps and the overall success of the team. Grade: B+

Joe Morrow — (8 GP, 1-2-3, -4) — Morrow was moved at the trade deadline to the Dallas organization where he is now with the Texas Stars. He was a pawn in the trade for Brenden Morrow, a result of Pittsburgh having many defensemen. Grade: Withdrawn

Dylan Reese — (19 GP, 4-5-9, +3) — Best all around defenseman for the Penguins. Has played consistently like this all season long. Grade: A

Philip Samuelsson (19 GP, 0-1-1, even) — Won most improved player at Team Awards Night. I will go ahead and endorse that. Hasn’t been a liability, that’s all you really can ask for. Grade: B-

Cody Wild — (6 GP, 0-2-2, +2) — Because Joe Morrow got traded away, Wild gets to play. Hardly a liability. Has been here before, skating with the Penguins last season. Grade: C+

Goaltenders

Brad Thiessen — Appeared in seven games, posting a 4-2-1 record with a 3.10 GAA and a 0.890 save percentage. Will probably back up Zatkoff in playoffs and may be looking for a new employer next season. Not knocking Thiessen, just saying that he has not played like the #3 goaltender in the Pittsburgh organization for two seasons now. Grade: B

Jeff Zatkoff — Appeared in thirteen games, posting an 8-4 record with a 2.01 GAA and a 0.920 save percentage. Saddle up, we are riding Zatkoff to the promised land. Grade: A

The “five or under” Club

Not grading here, simply acknowledging the players who appeared in five or less games in the quarter.

Beau Bennett — (4 GP, 0-3-3, -3) — Depending on health of the Pittsburgh forward corps, Bennett may be gone totally. Is currently playing in Pittsburgh like he never wants to get sent back to Wilkes-Barre.

Robert Bortuzzo — (3 GP, 0-1-1, +2) — A bit troubling that Bortuzzo’s, +/- is higher in three games than it is for four Penguins defensemen who played the whole quarter. But that may be why Bortuzzo has graduated to the NHL.

Steve MacIntyre — (3 GP, 0-0-0, even) — Baddest man in hockey. Only question is whether he returns next season, retires or goes elsewhere.

Reid McNeill — (2 GP, 0-0-0, +2) — Has shown himself well, that he belongs at this level. Will probably be a full time staple on the WBS blue line come the Fall.

Christiaan Minella — (4 GP, 0-0-0, -2) — Will probably walk the ECHL – AHL tightrope again next season.

Derek Nesbitt — (1 GP, 0-0-0, -1) — Bombulie called him the biggest AHL trade deadline day acquisition in Penguins history. If he can fit in and contribute in the postseason, the Penguins will be an extremely tough out.

So there you have it for another season of grades. If you disagree with my grades, please say so why in comments.

One response to “Fourth Quarter Grades

  1. Pingback: Binghamton Senators Playoff Preview | eyeonthesens

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