This is a continuation of the series of profiles of members of the Penguins’ organization. Dave Molinari recently completed profiles of the Penguins’ roster, and now I’m taking a look at select prospects not on the major-league roster:
Age: 26 Size: 6 feet, 200 pounds Position: Forward Acquired: Signed to an AHL contract with Wilkes-Barre in 2016, signed to an NHL contract in 2018 2018-19 AHL stats: 23 goals, 21 assists in 68 games
How he fits: Last spring Haggerty was on the right wing of Wilkes-Barre's top line, alongside Sam Miletic and Sam Lafferty, but he saw time on all four lines throughout the year. He has the offensive production to be in a top-six role, but he's physical and has a good enough defensive game to fit in on the bottom-six as well. In Wilkes-Barre's lineup, he could fit in anywhere. If he sees NHL time, it would be in a third- or fourth-line role.
Shortcomings: He plays a well-rounded game, he could just stand to be more consistent offensively.
Strengths: Well, Clark Donatelli once summed it up pretty well. “He plays hard, he’s going to the net, he’s got a great NHL shot," Donatelli told me. "He’s playing the right way. Not just the scoring. He’s getting in on the forecheck, he’s playing physical, he’s blocking shots, his wall play’s good.”
Hidden variable: Haggerty got off to a very slow start last season. He didn’t score his first goal of the season until Dec. 7, and through the first 32 games, he only recorded six goals and 12 assists. He ended up finishing as Wilkes-Barre's No. 3 leading scorer and No. 1 goal scorer as a result of a monster second half of the year. His 2017-18 season followed a similar path -- he was a healthy scratch for much of October, then finished the season with 37 points in just 47 games, trailing only Daniel Sprong in points per game among the regulars in the lineup.
2019-20 expectations: The organization is just so high on Sam Lafferty that I'd have to think Lafferty is the next forward up. But if Haggerty is able to build off of the success he had in the second half of last season, he could make any further decisions pretty difficult.
The big question: What kind of start will Haggerty have this year?