The Pittsburgh Penguins 2015 development camp starts Tuesday, with 37 players from all levels of professional hockey converging on CONSOL Energy Center for a week-long development camp.
Of those 37 players, there are seven high-level prospects to keep an eye on throughout the week:
Derrick Pouliot, Penguins defenseman: The biggest name on the camp roster, Pouliot will participate in his first development camp with the Pens after missing the camp last summer due to injury. Pouliot, who played in 34 NHL games with the Pens in 2014-15, finished with seven points (2G-5A) before going down with an injury prior to the start of the first round of the Stanley Cup playoffs against the New York Rangers.
The 21-year-old defenseman is expected to take on added responsibilities as a top four pairing next season for the Pens. He’ll come into camp looking to show the improvements he’s made from year one to year two at both ends of the ice.
Daniel Sprong, Charlottetown Islanders forward: The No. 46 overall pick in the 2015 NHL Draft, Sprong will take part in his first career prospects camp with all eyes glued to him. Armed with a lethal shot, impressive speed and skating ability, and outstanding puck handling, Sprong could steal the show this week. The Netherlands native is an electric talent in the offensive zone, where he’ll look to impress in his first appearance in a Penguins sweater.
Matt Murray, WBS goaltender: Murray is coming off of an outstanding season for the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins. In 40 games, Murray compiled a record of 25-10-3 with a .941 save percentage, while being named the AHL Goalie of the Year and Rookie of the Year. On top of that, Murray established the AHL rookie shutout record and set the AHL record for longest shutout streak when he kept opponents off the board for 304:11 minutes between Feb. 8 and March 8 - a stretch that included four consecutive shutout wins. His 1.58 goals against average also topped the AHL during the 2014-15 season. Looking to build off of his strong season, Murray will look to impress the coaches during development camp and training camp in hopes to land the backup goalie position behind Marc Andre Fleury.
Tristan Jarry, WBS goaltender: Following his second-round selection by the Pens in the 2013 NHL Draft, Jarry put on quite a show for the Edmonton Oil Kings of the Western Hockey League. The 20-year-old Surrey, Canada native led the Oil Kings to a 6-3 Memorial Cup victory over the Guelph Storm, in which Jarry stopped 32 of 35 shots. Jarry followed 2013-14 up with 23 wins and a .907 save percentage in 2014-15. He’ll look to grab a spot in the AHL alongside likely starter Matt Murray.
Conor Sheary, WBS forward: Having just signed his first NHL contract with the Pens, Sheary hopes to get off to a good start heading into the 2014-15 season. Following up his impressive playoff performance in 2013-14 with the WBS Pens in which he recorded 11 points (6G-5A) in 15 games, Sheary tallied 45 points (20G-25A) in 58 regular-season games with the Pens, his first full season in the AHL. Now, the 5-foot-9 forward has a chance to crack the NHL roster, which could use his speed and scoring ability in the bottom six.
Teddy Blueger, Minnesota State-Mankato center: The top center for one of the best teams in the country last season, Blueger heads into development camp with the Pens looking to leave a lasting impression. In 37 games last season for the Mavericks, Blueger recorded 28 points (10G-18A). Possessing good puck handling skills and able to protect the puck well in traffic, Blueger projects to be a top six center in the pros. He’ll serve as an alternate captain at Minnesota State-Mankota in 2015-16.
Bryan Rust, WBS forward: Rust received his first taste of NHL action with the Pens in 2014-15, playing in 14 games and scoring his first NHL goal against the Tampa Bay Lightning at home, Dec. 16. With the ability to move up and down the lineup and hold his own in most game situations, Rust figures to see more NHL action with the Pens during the 2015-16 season. He’ll be one of the better players on the ice during development camp.