As we head into the offseason, it’s time to take a look at where the Penguins’ prospect pool stands.
Just as I did last year, I’ll break down the status of each prospect in the Penguins system, including players on Pittsburgh contracts and players on AHL-level deals who spent time in Wilkes-Barre/Scranton this past season.
I’ll take a look at their contracts for next season and where they are likely to play, as well as highlights from each player. If I interviewed the player this season, I’ll also share my favorite quote of the season from them.
Today, we look at the first half of the defensemen in the system.
2018-19 status: AHL (AHL contract)
2019-20 status: Unrestricted free agent
Size: 6-4, 180
Quote: “I came into camp thinking I’ve got nothing to lose here. Just go in, play your game, and if they think that there’s a spot that I could step into, then that’s great. If not, then maybe I’d end up in Wheeling. I’m really happy that I did get the opportunity to stay here. I think things have gone well since. … I’m just kind of taking it day by day, but I’m really happy with the season so far.”
Abt joined the organization at the end of the 2017-18 season following the conclusion of his senior year at RIT, signing a tryout with the Nailers. 2018-19 was his first full professional season and he spent the entire year in the AHL.
Abt is lean, but he's still a heavy hitter. He has a long reach thanks to that 6-4 frame, and he's a good skater period, not just a good skater for his size. His plus-7 rating was third among Wilkes-Barre defensemen, and his 12 assists in 63 games ranked fourth among defensemen.
I'd like to see Abt back, if only on another AHL deal. He made great strides as a rookie, and it can't hurt to have a big puck-moving defenseman like him in the system.
Drafted?: 2018, second round
2018-19 status: WHL
2019-20 status: WHL (NHL contract)
Size: 5-10, 180
Addison put up nearly an identical stat line in 2018-19 as he did in 2017-18. He recorded 11 goals, 54 assists and 52 penalty minutes in 67 games this season -- just one fewer penalty minute and one fewer game than the season before. Pretty odd.
Bill Guerin recently compared Addison to a "new-age NHL defenseman" on an NHL Network Radio appearance, saying that teams now aren't as focused on size as they are a player's mobility and agility. While Addison is on the smaller side, he's a great puck-mover and he can skate. The organization is high on him.
Addison joined Wilkes-Barre as a Black Ace this spring following Lethbridge's elimination from the playoffs, and recorded two assists in three games.
At Addison's age, he's not yet eligible to play in the AHL for a full season because of the NHL's transfer agreement with the CHL. He'd either have to play in the NHL full-time, or return to juniors. He's not ready to make the jump to the NHL, so he must play in the WHL next season. In 2020-21, he'll be eligible to play in Wilkes-Barre.
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