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Throwback Thursday: Past Scouting Reports

by Staff Writer / Pittsburgh Penguins

With the 2015 NHL Draft being held this Friday and Saturday at the BB&T Center in Sunrise, Florida, for Throwback Thursday we dug up old scouting reports on a bunch of current Penguins players from their respective draft years.

It’s definitely interesting – and awesome – to go back and see what was said about these guys back when they were 18-year-old kids, especially now that a lot of them have been in the league for years now.

We used reports from NHL Central Scouting, Red Line Report, Kyle Woodlief (who is Red Line Report’s publisher and chief scout and a special contributor to USA Today), Hockey’s Future and ISS Hockey. Check them out below...

Marc-Andre Fleury
Drafted: Pittsburgh, 1st Round (1st Overall), 2003

NHL Central Scouting: “Top-ranked North American goaltending prospect backstopped Canada to the silver medal with a spectacular performance at the World Junior Championships, leading the tournament with a 1.57 goals-against average and finishing third with a .928 save percentage. His carefree personality has prompted some to compare him to Vezina Trophy winner Martin Brodeur. Some scouts believe he could join Rick DiPietro of the New York Islanders as the only goalies taken with the top overall pick. Like Brodeur, he likes to move the puck to teammates. And like so many French-Canadian goalies, he employs the butterfly style. He also has the ability to recover quickly in scramble situations and control rebounds.”

Evgeni Malkin
Drafted: Pittsburgh, 1st Round (2nd Overall), 2004

Kyle Woodlief, USA Today/Red Line Report: “Big Evgeni Malkin was the dominant force in the World Under-18 Championship in Minsk last month and has not only solidified his No. 2 overall ranking, but has significantly narrowed the gap between himself and consensus No. 1 Alex Ovechkin. It's not a matter of Ovechkin coming back to the pack; Malkin has just elevated his game to a new level. A number of teams now have the pair ranked in a dead heat, with some believing that Malkin's rapid progression and long-term upside make him worthy of the top spot. As much as we love Ovechkin, it's not that big a stretch. Malkin is nearly a full year younger and will play in the NHL at nearly 6-foot-4, 215 pounds when he fills out. He also has the puck skills of a much smaller man and a nasty edge to boot. Watch the way Vinny Lecavalier has been playing in this year's playoffs and imagine Malkin five or six years from now — the comparison seems quite valid.”

NHL Central Scouting: “Good, strong skater with fine balance and agility. Has a good change of pace. Excellent stickhandler and a smart player. Good, smooth hands and an excellent playmaker. Carries the puck with confidence. Has a quick, accurate wrist and slap shot. Can score in many ways. Outstanding hockey sense. Creative player. Works hard on every shift. A good competitor who can play both a finesse and physical game. Competes hard for the puck and is willing to pay the price to score or set up a goal. Played on Team Russia at the Under-18 World Junior championships. Had a fair World Junior tournament with Team Russia in 2004. Played better as a regular with top team Magnitogorsk in the Russian league. Great mix of size, skills and hockey sense. A leader on the ice. Has all the tools needed for a great career.”

Sidney Crosby
Drafted: Pittsburgh, 1st Round (1st Overall), 2005

Kyle Woodlief, USA Today/Red Line Report: “Hockey has always been blessed, from generation to generation, with outstanding ambassadors of the game — players who have a special dignity and universal appeal for their sincere humility and genuine appreciation of the gifts they've been given. They are players who never take their standing in the game for granted and unfailingly sell the sport to young and old alike; think of names such as Howe, Beliveau, Orr, and Gretzky. That's the type of attitude that Crosby exudes, and it's why he will be made the flag-bearer of the new, post-lockout NHL, no matter where he ends up playing.”

Kris Letang
Drafted: Pittsburgh, 3rd Round (62nd Overall), 2005

Kyle Woodlief, USA Today/Red Line Report: “The question for him is whether his tremendous skating and smarts overcome his lack of size? He has exceptional footwork and, frankly, much better hockey sense than his more-publicized defensive partner, particularly in the offensive zone. He's a very smart PP quarterback and plays a clean, efficient, mistake-free game. He's a very subtle player, but very underrated. His poise under pressure, neat spin moves and great puck movement decisions give him a good shot to overcome the size handicap.”

Patric Hornqvist
Drafted: Nashville, 7th Round (230th Overall), 2005

Hockey’s Future: “Hornqvist is an offensive player who may lack some foot speed. He has a good nose for the net and is always dangerous. He is willing to pay the price and goes to the dirty areas to dig for pucks. Keeps it simple and lets his wrister off quickly. Has good hockey sense and positioning in the offensive zone. Is a solid puckhandler who has the ability to create space for himself. Is weak and has to add leg and upper-body strength. Has to work on his skating, which is holding him back.”

Brandon Sutter
Drafted: Carolina, 1st Round (11th Overall), 2007

NHL Central Scouting: “A skilled forward that is opportunistic in the offensive end. Is very smart with the puck. Has a good work ethic and excellent puck-pursuit. Very versatile and used in all situations. Sometimes tires at the end of shift and needs to work on his conditioning. Needs to improve his 1-on-1 skills.”

Ian Cole
Drafted: St. Louis, 1st Round (18th Overall), 2007

Kyle Woodlief, USA Today/Red Line Report: “Cole is not a flashy, high-end skills guy, but does everything well and is a coach's delight. He's a throwback defense-first rearguard who is so steady and reliable, plus he adds an element of physical toughness and is a high-character kid.”

David Perron
Drafted: St. Louis, 1st Round (26th Overall), 2007

Hockey’s Future: “Perron tore up the QMJHL in 2006-07, his first campaign in the league. His team-leading 28 playoff points, in addition to the 83 he accumulated in the regular season, helped the Lewiston MAINEiacs reach the Memorial Cup. Perron's game is based around his great individual skill, which makes him one of the most dangerous offensive players on the ice. He is especially adept at stickhandling his way past defenders and utilizing his accurate shooting to make opposing goaltenders nervous whenever he is near. His vision within the offensive zone also allows him to set up teammates for scoring opportunities.”

Taylor Chorney
Drafted: Edmonton, 2nd Round (36th Overall), 2007

ISS Hockey: “Chorney uses his great skating ability to corral loose pucks and skate the puck out of trouble. Although we are slightly concerned about his size, Chorney’s hockey IQ is very high. He understands the game very well and continues to improve at every viewing while playing for the powerful Shattuck-St. Mary’s team.”

Nick Spaling
Drafted: Nashville, 2nd Round (58th Overall), 2007

Hockey’s Future: “While he doesn’t excel at any one thing, Spaling has shown an impressive ability to be solid in all aspects of the game: offensive, defensive, and special teams. While few expect Spaling to tear up the professional ranks offensively, he has all the tools needed to be an effective – and valued – member of any franchise in a two-way or defensive checking role.”

Brian Dumoulin
Drafted: Carolina, 2nd Round (51st Overall), 2009

Kyle Woodlief, USA Today/Red Line Report: “Dumoulin is a big (6-foot-3, 195 pounds) powerful, mobile kid who is just beginning to scratch the surface of his potential. He took a quantum leap forward this season with some good coaching and development in the Monarchs' program, and has all the physical tools you could ask for. He's got quick feet for a big man and a booming shot.”

Beau Bennett
Drafted: Pittsburgh, 1st Round (20th Overall), 2010

B.J. MacDonald, NHL Central Scouting: "He's got velvet hands and a lightning-quick release on his shot. He has radar vision and can lay a pass down as good as anyone in this draft. Deceptive skater and can be elusive in the corners slipping checks."

Derrick Pouliot
Drafted: Pittsburgh, 1st Round (8th Overall), 2012

Red Line Report: “One of the most offensively gifted defensemen in this year’s class. Very much at home with the puck on his stick and has a great eye for reading offensive plays developing. His decision-making process, particularly distributing the puck, is as quick as any in recent memory. Speed and acceleration allow him to join the rush and even lead the break. Ultra-elusive, can dangle and slide laterally to avoid hits and is exceptional at sensing danger. Power play specialist in the making is the triggerman on WHL’s best PP and carries a heavy shot with great release – gets it through blockers on net. Needs to be more diligent about picking up defensive zone coverage assignments. Gets caught running around in own zone and needs to be better positionally. Projection: Top-pairing offensive defenseman. Style compares to: Dan Boyle.”

Olli Maatta
Drafted: Pittsburgh, 1st Round (22nd Overall), 2012

Red Line Report: “Supremely consistent, smooth-skating defenseman with a fine combination of size and hockey sense. An excellent skater with quick feet to contain opposing forwards. Shows a quick and active stick to disrupt passing lanes. Extremely aware and alert with his head on a swivel around net. Willing to use the body and mix it up in corners, and takes hits to make the right plays with the puck. Even will drop the gloves when required. Outstanding competitive spirit. Moves the puck crisply and efficiently out of the zone with great outlets. Was not overly creative or aggressive at the offensive end during regular season, but finally hit his stride at the right time, playing all-world in the postseason and leading the young Knights to an OHL crown. Picks his spots well, smartly jumping into the offense. Shot lacks velocity, but distributes well on the PP. Projection: Strong two-way, No. 3 defender. Style compares to: Brent Seabrook.”

Michelle Crechiolo, Josh Carney and Jonathan Kabana compiled this feature.
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