Third Quarter Grades are in. This has been a weird season because there hasn’t yet been a situation where I have been able to get a clean 19 game look. So here is a 17 game snapshot of every player who skated for the Wilkes-Barre / Scranton Penguins since January 17.
You will see me refer to “GF%” from time to time here in the Grades. So if you are wondering what that is it’s based off of this chart and is valid though games played through March 2.
Jump though please and let me know what you think in the comments…
Taylor Chorney – 17 GP 1-3-4, +5 – Paired with Dumoulin most nights on the top defensive pairing. Has played a quiet game. Would like a little more offense out of him. Grade: B+
Nick D’Agostino — 14 GP, 0-4-4, +2 — D’Agostino is in his second year. He is not a liability in his own end at all. the 51.61 GF% is fine by me. Grade: B
Brian Dumoulin – 17 GP, 1-12-13, -2 – Wasn’t traded at the NHL trade deadline as a throw in, so enjoy this last quarter of his AHL career. His +38 GADiff is only two off of Scott Wilson, and Dumoulin has played 8 more games. Grade: A+
Barry Goers — 17 GP, 0-1-1, +2 — Bottom pair defenseman with partner Nick D’Agostino. Not a liability. Job is to keep teams from scoring and the 47.27 GF% is a respectable number being as though he’s on the bottom pairing. Grade: B-
Scott Harrington – 9 GP 0-3-3, +11 – Paired with Reid McNeill, who later you will see when the entire month of February without playing in a where he was a minus. Second pair with Reid is more a 1B to Chorney – Dumoulin 1A. Grade: A
Reid McNeill – 17 GP 1-2-3, +10 – Had to check the +/- twice on McNeill, because his GADiff is -16 and the 37.10% GF% is lowest on the team. McNeill wasn’t a minus player in all of February, which speaks to the team effort of the run the Pens have been on. Grade: B+
Nick Drazenovic – 11 GP, 1-8-9, +2 – When healthy, can be dangerous. Isn’t right now. No time table on return other than week-to-week. Need him back, healthy and productive for the stretch run. Grade: B-
Andrew Ebbett — 13 GP, 9-8-17, +8 — Ebbett’s re-insertion to the Wilkes-Barre lineup ignited the run that the Penguins have been on. Grade: A+
Bobby Farnham — 17 GP, 3-1-4, +2 — If Farnham can put up in the neighborhood of five points a quarter given the style of play he’s known for, he’ll be in the NHL sooner rather than later. Grade: B+
Tom Kostopoulos — 17 GP, 5-7-12, +4 — Hasn’t slowed down and is fourth on the team in scoring. He’s been the most consistent. Grade: A
Tom Kuhnhackl — 17 GP, 4-5-9, +3 — Excellent third quarter for Kuhnhackl, compared to the second quarter. We wanted to see more from him in the third quarter and he delivered. Grade: A
Pierre-Luc Letourneau-Leblond — 7 GP, 1-0-1 +2 — Fourth line physical presence that is there in case the opposition steps out of line. Always gets his man, as evidenced last Saturday against Hartford, fighting Dylan McIlrath for his hit on Bobby Farnham the Sunday before. Grade: B
Matia Marcantuoni — 15 GP, 0-3-3, +1 — Penguins brass saw something in Marcantuoni to keep him around and send J-S Dea and Josh Archibald to Wheeling. I’d like to see him in a more offensive role to see what he could do. Grade: C
Jayson Megna — 17 GP, 5-4-9, +6 — No issues with these numbers here from Megna. Grade: A
Carter Rowney — 17 GP, 4-5-9, +8 — These numbers are impressive for Rowney, who is your third line, checking forward. His 67.44 GF% is higher than Conor Sheary and Tom Kostopoulos. Grade: A
Bryan Rust — 12 GP, 3-7-10, +2 — Was in Pittsburgh for the Second Quarter, but returned and put up respectable numbers before getting hurt. He’ll heal up and help for the run towards playoffs. Grade: B+
Conor Sheary — 17 GP, 7-9-16, +2 — Pittsburgh better sign him to a contract before one of the other 29 NHL teams do. If there is one gripe, I’d like to see the GF% up around 75% or higher. It’s 65.75% right now. Grade: B
Dominik Uher — 15 GP, 2-2-4, E — Numbers aren’t the greatest, but with scorers Wilson and Ebbett back in the lineup he hasn’t been asked to carry the load offensively. Grade: B
Scott Wilson — 17 GP, 11-8-19, +7 — Wilson came back from injury as soon as the third quarter started and his impact was immediate. Best GF% all season long, even when he was called up to Pittsburgh. Penguins third quarter MVP. Grade: A+
Matt Murray — 11 GP, 9-1, 0.99 GAA, .961 SV%, 607:33 — These numbers are LOL. Murray is in his first full season and is playing out of his mind. Eight shutouts leads the AHL and is one off of the league record for rookies in the leagues 79 year history. You can, and rightfully should, make a case that Murray could be not only the Penguins MVP, but the AHL MVP. Grade: A+
Jeff Zatkoff — 8 GP, 3-2-2, 3.24 GAA, .878 SV% 426:12 — Zatkoff has won three of his last four starts but has been straight up overshadowed by Murray’s play. Grade: C
These guys didn’t play the requisite six games to get a grade. If you have read these grades before, the threshold is normally five, but there is a player in here that made me push the criteria to six games.
Josh Archibald — 4 GP, 2-0-2, +1 — All of Archibald’s offense came in the Sunday blowout win against Bridgeport, Archibald’s first action since January 21 against St. John’s. Archibald did an eight game stay in ECHL Wheeling and scored 10 points. He found his scoring touch there and it showed Sunday in Bridgeport. He’s looking to stay in the AHL and as long as he produces, he will stick around.
Alex Boak – 4 GP, 0-0-0, +3 – You can feel confident knowing that Boak is the seventh defenseman should the need arise to insert him into the lineup because of injury or callup. His 59.09 GF% is impressive, given the limited amount of games (22) he has played in.
J-S Dea – 2 GP, 0-0-0 – Sent to Wheeling once bodies in Pittsburgh healed up and trickled back to Coal Street. Was returned to Wilkes-Barre March 4, but for how long?
Adam Payerl — I actually added a game to the “incomplete” criteria becasue of Adam payerl, who has had, for all intents and purposes, an incomplete season. I was surprised he wasn’t traded at the deadline in a minor leager for minor leaguer swap that we saw last year with Paul Thompson and Spencer Machacek. I don’t see any end in sight here.
Derrick Pouliot — 5 GP, 0-3-3, +3 — May be recalled for good and face it, didn’t belong here for as long as he was. Pouliot was papered down at the trade deadline in case Pittsburgh bows out before Wilkes-Barre does.
Harrison Ruopp – 1 GP 0-0-0 – I have dubbed him Whuopp – because he’s played the least amount of games for Penguins prospects coming up from Wheeling. Is with the team currently, recalled March 4.
Agree or disagree? Comments open for your thoughts…