Training camp is officially underway for the Pittsburgh Penguins and there are several roster spots up for grabs.
Camp opened last week and several prospects are looking to make an impression and crack the NHL roster.
So, which of these young guns are most likely to suit up for the Penguins this season?
Here are three forwards and three defensemen that have a realistic shot at seeing time in Pittsburgh:
The 6-foot, 192-pound center is currently recovering from offseason hip surgery. He is expected to be back in time for the start of the regular season.
The Penguins re-signed the 27-year-old to a one-year, two-way contract for $550,000 this summer.
In 63 games with Wilkes-Barre/Scranton, Drazenovic notched 13 goals and 29 assists. He added one goal and three assists in nine AHL playoff games.
In 444 career games in the AHL, Drazenovic has 113 goals and 183 assists.
While he was sent down to Wilkes-Barre/Scranton in the first round of training camp cuts, Drazenovic could be called up soon. He projects to help bolster a bottom six group of forwards that was one of the Penguins’ biggest weaknesses a year ago.
Sill was also handed a one-year, two-way contract for $550,000 this summer.
Last season, Sill made his NHL debut and played 20 games for the Penguins.
Sill projects to be a guy that could challenge for a bottom six forward role. He’s not afraid to throw his weight around and he saw time on the penalty kill as well.
He may not make the team right out of camp, but he could be one of the first callups the Penguins make.
The Penguins selected Kapanen with the 22nd overall pick in this summer’s NHL Draft. Can he follow in the footsteps of fellow countryman Olli Maatta and make this team only months after being drafted?
It may seem like a longshot, but he certainly possesses the skills to make a strong run at it.
The Penguins’ management was impressed by his showing at their development camp this summer.
With the departure of James Neal and Jussi Jokinen, there are two spots open on Evgeni Malkin’s line. One of those spots figures to be claimed by Patric Hornqvist, but the other wing may be up for grabs.
If the Penguins don’t think Beau Bennett can make the jump to being a top six forward, Kapanen just might get a shot.
The Penguins’ pipeline of defensive prospects is stacked and Dumoulin is just one of a few guys vying for a roster spot with the parent club.
The 6-foot-4-inch, 207-pound defenseman had five goals and 16 assists with Wilkes-Barre/Scranton a year ago.
He also played six games for the Penguins and there were no signs that he couldn’t perform at the NHL level.
Dumoulin is a strong skater that can jump up into the play. He could also see time on the power play, if needed.
This may very well be a case of now or never for Despres.
Despres was never given a full chance to prove himself under Dan Bylsma, but he may get his chance at the start of this season.
He’s played in 85 games at the NHL level in his career, but always seemed to be on a short leash with Bylsma.
At 6-feet-4-inches and 214 pounds, Despres possesses the physical traits and skating ability to be a solid member of the Penguins’ defensive corps.
The biggest question is can he seize the opportunity?
Harrington played his first full season of professional hockey last year with the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins. In 76 regular season games, he scored six goals and added 19 assists.
As with the two guys above, Harrington also figures to compete for a vacant roster spot due to the departures of Brooks Orpik, Deryk Engelland and Matt Niskanen.
Harrington is another good skating defenseman that is responsible in his own zone.
He has also seen plenty of time killing penalties and could be also be used on the power play.
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