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Prospect Confidential: 1/4

by Sam Kasan / Pittsburgh Penguins
The following is a weekly look at the progress of some of the top prospects within the Penguins organization. This week we spotlight the below players:

1.    Michael Gergen, LW
2.    Nicholas D’Agostino, D
3.    Tim Crowder, RW
4.    Joe Vitale, C


Position: Defenseman
Attributes: 6-1, 177 pounds, Shoots L
Team: St. Michael’s
League: OPJHL (Ontario Provincial Junior Hockey League)
Acquired: Penguins 2008 seventh-round draft pick (210 overall)

Scouting Report: Nicholas D’Agostino has a powerful slap shot with decent accuracy. He’s really rounding his offensive abilities and is having a breakthrough season in the OPJHL. He has a long reach and sound technique. D’Agostino takes good angles and is discipline with his defensive positioning. He has good height and worked hard at adding muscle to his 6-foot-1 frame.

Minor Report: D’Agostino is having a monster season with St. Michael’s. He’s already set career highs with seven goals and 18 assists for 25 points in only 31 games. Last year, he netted five goals and 18 assists for 23 points in 46 contests.


Position: Right Wing
Attributes: 5-10, 185 pounds, Shoots L
Team: Minnesota-Duluth
League: WCHA (Western Collegiate Hockey Association)
Acquired: Penguins 2005 second-round draft pick (61 overall)

Scouting Report: Michael Gergen is a great two-way hockey player. He is discipline in the defensive zone and is rarely caught out of position. Gergen has lightning-quick speed that can make up for many deficiencies. He has great hands, vision and awareness. Gergen will play physical along the boards and battle for pucks.

Minor Report: Gergen was an offensive juggernaut in the USHL. During his last season at Shattuck-St. Mary’s, the forward scored 64 goals and 53 assists for 117 points in 69 games and was selected by the Penguins that June. Gergen is entering his senior season with the University of Minnesota-Duluth. During three campaigns with the Bulldogs, Gergen has compiled 25 goals and 26 assists for 51 poitns.


Position: Right Wing
Attributes: 6-2, 180 pounds, Shoots R
Team: Michigan State
League: CCHA (Central Collegiate Hockey Association)
Acquired: Penguins 2007 fifth-round draft pick (126 overall)

Scouting Report: Tim Crowder has great size and could develop into a power forward prototype. He’ll need to add more muscle but Crowder has a solid 6-foot-2 frame and he plays big. Crowder isn’t afraid to go to the front of the net - which is where he does most of his damage. He’s willing to take punishment around the cage to get those ugly goals.

Minor Report: Crowder is in his senior year at Michigan State and was named an alternate captain for the Spartans. He’s scored three goals and nine assists for 12 points on the current campaign. During his four-year college career, the British Columbia native has compiled 49 goals and 56 assists for 105 points.


Position: Center
Attributes: 5-11, 205 pounds, Shoots R
Team: Northeastern
League: NCAA (Hockey East)
Acquired: Penguins 2005 seventh-round draft pick (195 overall)

Scouting Report: Joe Vitale is a great skater with fluid turns, transitions and stops. He has great speed and above-average hockey sense. Vitale uses his speed and awareness to create plays. He’s a feisty competitor that will fight for pucks along the wall and in the corners. Vitale isn’t overly physical but will use the body, and he will drive to the net with the puck. He’s developed into an excellent faceoff man. Vitale is a natural leader, sporting the “C” for Northeastern and has made progress in the defensive zone.

Minor Report: Vitale is in his senior season with Northeastern. The Huskies’ captain has 11 points on three goals and eight assists with a plus-5 rating through 17 games this season. Vitale had a breakout campaign last year when he netted 12 goals and 23 assists for 35 points in 37 games and garnered team MVP accolades.

Prospect Confidential: 12/28

Prospect Confidential: 12/21
Prospect Confidential: 12/14

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