The Pittsburgh Penguins will take part in the 2014 NHL Rookie Tournament, happening at Budweiser Gardens in London, Ontario from September 13 to 16, an annual event that gives NHL fans a glimpse of some of the League’s best young players.
In addition to the Pens, this year’s tourney will feature the Toronto Maple Leafs, Ottawa Senators and Chicago Blackhawks, with each squad playing three games in four days.
Among the prospects who may be part of the Penguins’ rookie squad are defenseman Derrick Pouliot, goaltender Tristan Jarry and forward Kasperi Kapanen.
The 18 year-old Kapanen was selected 22nd overall by the Pens at this year’s NHL Draft. Kapanen dazzled Penguins’ brass at the club’s recent development camp, leading to speculation by Pens assistant general manager Bill Guerin that the young Finn could have a chance to stick with the big club this year.
Kapanen could start the season with the Pens, but will have to prove he’s ready to handle a regular shift on a scoring line to have any chance of sticking with the club all season.
Tristan Jarry could see plenty of time between the pipes for the Penguins at this year’s Rookie Tourney. Taken 4th overall by the Pens in 2013, is coming off a Memorial Cup victory with the Edmonton Oilers this past May.
The 19 year-old was also named a WHL First Team All-Star following an outstanding 2013-2014 campaign, during which he recorded 44 wins and a rock solid 2.24 goals on average. Jarry will return to Edmonton for another year of junior, but not before getting a long look at Pittsburgh’s training camp in September.
Following shoulder surgery back in May, it is unclear whether Derrick Pouliot will be ready to suit up for the Pens at the upcoming Rookie Tournament. Drafted 8th overall by Pittsburgh in 2012, the 19 year-old is one of the most highly touted defensive prospects in the game today.
Named the CHL’s Defenseman of the Year last season, Pouliot posted 70 points in 58 games and added a whopping 32 points in 21 playoff games. Sites like bettingsports will surely have Pouliot in pole position for rookie of the year in the very near future.
Pouliot would likely challenge for a regular spot on most other NHL teams, his role with the Penguins in the upcoming campaign will be determined by his recovery from surgery and the performance of Pittsburgh’s other young defensive prospects including Olli Maata, Brian Dumoulin and Simon Despres.