Courtesy of Point Park University

Prospect pool breakdown: Defensemen, Part 1

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Calen Addison. -- KDP PHOTOGRAPHY / WBS PENGUINS

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.

MATT ABT

Drafted?: No
2018-19 status: 
AHL (AHL contract)
2019-20 status: 
Unrestricted free agent
Age: 
25
Shoots: Left
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.

CALEN ADDISON 

Drafted?: 2018, second round
2018-19 status:
WHL
2019-20 status: 
WHL (NHL contract)
Age: 
19
Shoots: Right
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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