The Wilkes-Barre / Scranton Penguins made it to the Calder Cup Playoffs for the thirteenth consecutive season, longest in the AHL. Their goaltenders have won the Hap Holmes Award for lowest goals against (2.14) for the regular season. As a team, an A+, but it’s time to hand out some individual grades!
You should know how this works by now. Any skater that played in a game in the Penguins Fourth Quarter gets a grade. The threshold is 5 or more games to earn a grade. I refer a lot to numbers which can be found on this chart. As soon as you click through the jump, we can get started….
Alex Boak: 9 GP, 0-2-2, -1 — Boak looked just OK in this period, probably due to the fact that he was called upon to step up a pairing with all of the injuries to the bodies up in Pittsburgh. It’s going to be a trial by fire for Boak and a trial he must pass if the Penguins are out to do great things as a club in the next few weeks. Grade: C
Taylor Chorney: 11 GP, 1-5-6, +7 — Chorney is on NHL recall duties currently but has been the best defenseman on the Penguins all season. He was at the top of the +/- in the AHL for nearly all season before his recall. If Pittsburgh should fall out, expect Chorney to return and his impact to be immediate. Grade: A
Nick D’Agostino: 18 GP, 0-2-2, +4 — D’Agostino has done remarkably well for himself in his current situation on the Penguins top defensive pairing with all of the bodies ahead of him on the depth chart pressed into NHL duty. No longer a liability, for as long as the Pittsburgh Penguins remain in playoff contention, D’Agostino is going to be your top pair defenseman and fans in Wilkes-Barre can feel confident that he is more than apt to fulfill his duties. Grade: A
Brian Dumoulin: 16 GP, 1-6-7, +8 — Called up the morning after Pittsburgh clinched and pressed into the NHL fire fight, Dumoulin here in the AHL has done extremely well for himself and really doesn’t have much if anything more to prove other than to work on small things which, unless you are an NHL head coach, you don’t really notice. His 67.18 GF% is best among active Penguins defensemen with 30 or more games. If he should find his way back to Wilkes-Barre, Dumoulin will undoubtedly help immensely. Grade: A
Barry Goers: 11 GP, 2-1-3, E — When Goers went down and Chorney, Harrington and Dumoulin were recalled, that left the Penguins in a tough spot with raw, unproven guys coming in from any and anywhere. Now that Goers is back, that should definitely help the Penguins efforts. Barry is paired with Nick D’Agostino, who has vastly improved his play due to the help of the elder Goers. Grade: B
Scott Harrington: 16 GP, 2-1-3, +4 — Harrington went up with Dumoulin the day after Pittsburgh clinched but has yet hasn’t appeared in a game. Now due to the status of Christian Ehrhoff, may be up for the duration. While here, Harrington did well for himself and the >50% GF% shows that. Grade: B
Clark Seymour: 7 GP, 0-0-0, +1 — Seymour was called up as a matter of nearly everyone shuffling to Pittsburgh. Looks like he is in over his head at times. I would be surprised to see him in any playoff games unless the situation was dire. Grade: C
Danny Syvret: 17 GP, 2-3-5, -5 — Syvret’s acquisition at the AHL trade deadline was a godsend. He wanted out of Iowa and onto a team that he could help contend for a championship. The time is his. Grade: B
Josh Archibald: 13 GP, 1-4-5, E — Better quarter for Archibald. I think that the Penguins are a better team with him in the lineup. His biggest knock may be defense though as his ESGF% is under 50%. With a defensive-minded team like the Penguins, it’s probably why Archibald hasn’t has a complete period. Grade: B-
J-S Dea: 6 GP, 1-1-2, E — Break down who the better player is between Dea and Archibald and my answer is Dea, but he hasn’t played half of the games as Archibald has and I really can’t explain it. He is better in his own end (65.38 GF% to Archibald’s 57.69%) and is OK on a power play. Because of games played, can’t go too high on the grade. Grade: C+
Andrew Ebbett: 14 GP 3-7-10, +10 — Ebbett is here it appears for the duration now. Would have probably led the team in scoring this quarter had he played more games. His innate ability to win a face-off at key times will be relied upon heavily going forward. Grade: A
Bobby Farnham: 20 GP, 3-3-6, +4 — Farnham isn’t just a pest, he has a set of hands on him too. And no, they aren’t used for fighting. His six points this quarter and 14 overall is a plus to his sandpaper like style. Grade: B
Tom Kostopoulos: 19 GP, 5-9-14, -2 — The teams heart and soul. That’s all you need to know. Grade: A
Tom Kuhnhackl: 20 GP, 6-9-15, +4 — Breakout quarter for Kuhnhackl. You hope that the trend continues into late May, early June. You can see the confidence growing in Kuhnhackl game by game. Grade: A
Pierre-Luc Letourneau-Leblond: 17 GP, 1-2-3, +1 — Depending on the situation, you have probably seen the last of Leblond because pugilism is non-existent in playoffs. Not a bad quarter with Leblond getting a goal in this period. Grade: C+
Matia Marcantuoni: 20 GP, 2-4-6, +5 — Was looking for more offense from Marcantuoni this quarter and didn’t find it. His six points equal Bobby Farnham! Secondary scoring is a key in playoffs and you want to see this out of Marcantuoni in the playoffs. Grade: C
Jayson Megna: 20 GP, 10-4-14, +4 — Teams MVP for this quarter. Megna has done it all. He is getting hot at the right time too, with a hat trick Saturday vs. Norfolk. Grade: A+
Adam Payerl: 12 GP, 1-2-3, -1 — Payerl has become the forgotten man in Wilkes-Barre. I don’t now if they think he is a lost cause or what. Grade: D
Carter Rowney: 18 GP, 4-10-14, +3 — Rowney’s surge shouldn’t surprise anyone. He has been consistent and responsible in his own end with a 64.29 GF%. Grade: A
Bryan Rust: 8 GP, 0-3-3, +2 — Is week to week with a lower body injury. Didn’t light up the score sheet but has been the most defensive responsible forward next to Scott Wilson all season with a 69.09% GF%. Grade: B
Conor Sheary: 11 GP — 3-9-12, +1 — Sheary knows what a deep run in the playoffs is like because he played a key role in it last season. Teams scoring leader in the regular season. Grade: A-
Dominik Uher: 20 GP, 6-6-12, +5 — Uher is getting stronger with every game. Secondary scoring. Secondary scoring. Secondary scoring. It’s going to be so vital to get that and Uher has shown that he can provide it. Grade: B+
Scott Wilson: 17 GP, 5-5-10, -3 — Played on top pair with Kostopoulos and Ebbett and thrived in the spot light, putting up big numbers. Is on NHL recall. Grade: A
Matt Murray: 12 GP, 9-2-1, 1.41 GAA, 0.951 SV%, 724:29 — Murray has done it all and then some this season. He shattered the shutout streak that stood for years. He’s been the best goaltender for months. If he remains that for the next two months, the Penguins are raising a cup for the first time. Grade: A+
Jeff Zatkoff: 8 GP, 4-4, 3.39 GAA, 0.898 SV%, 478:07 — Overshadowed by the stellar play of Murray. Numbers are not impressive, but again, it’s all overshadowed because of the play of Murray. Grade: C
Guys that have played five or less games.
Sean Escobedo: 2 GP, 1-2-3, +2 — Offense came in regular season finale against a nothing to play for Lehigh Valley Phantoms.
Kasperi Kapanen: 4 GP, 1-1-2, -1 — Looked great in his first NHL game, people wanted to put him in the hall of fame, but then with his -3 against Albany, showed that he has a lot to learn about the North American pro game.
Reid McNeill: 1 GP, 0-0-0, E — Hurt blocking a shot in the Manchester series. Is close to returning.
Derrick Pouliot: 3 GP, 0-1-1, -1 — Played three games in the fourth quarter then got called up to Pittsburgh then got hurt.
Harrison Ruopp: 5 GP, 0-0-0, E — Whouopp?
Steven Shamanski: 4 GP, 0-1-1, +1 — Shamanski and Escobedo are on the same curve I think.
Agree or disagree? Comments open for your thoughts…