The last installment of this series in relation to skaters, we finally approach RD, where we get to encounter medical misdiagnosis for the first and hopefully the last time.
Frank Corrado, AHL Experience : 4 Years
The Toronto media’s favorite son and inspiration for his own hashtag, Frank Corrado moved to the Penguins at the 2017 trade deadline as part of a deal that cleared Eric Fehr‘s cap hit off the Penguins’ books. Theoretically a great fit to the Penguins system as a good skater with strong puck moving skills, Penguins GM Jim Rutherford identified Corrado as someone with an NHL future when he signed him and he managed to appear in 2 games for the NHL Penguins last year. As likely the 5th RD on the Penguins overall depth chart, expect to see Corrado get some NHL time this year. He will produce at a decent rate for WBS this year when he is down there, however, and I expect him to score on a rate of 10 goals and 30 assists.
Zach Trotman, AHL Experience : 5 Years
Zach Trotman was a free agent signing on July 1st for the Penguins and follows along the lines of several other depth defense signings like Jarred Tinordi and Chris Summers in that they are bigger bodies. Trotman comes in at 6’3′ and 215 lbs and uses that body to effectively box out in front of the net and execute his defensive duties. He missed a lot of the last year where he was in the Los Angeles organization after sustaining an upper body injury in a fight with Duncan Siemens of San Antonio, but brings a wealth of AHL and NHL experience, having served as Boston’s #7 D in the 2015-2016 season while appearing in 38 NHL games in the process. Like the entire Penguins blueline, Trotman possesses good skating and a good first pass, even if he is not particularly dynamic with the puck. Will compete with Corrado to be the first RD call up. I expect him to score about 5 goals and 25 assists if he stays in WBS long term.
Lukas Bengtsson, AHL Experience: 1 Year
When the Penguins managed to sign Lukas Bengtsson to an ELC towards the end of the 2015-2016 season, it was seen as a coup of sorts as the New York Rangers appeared to have the inside track on Bengtsson. However, Bengtsson encountered health issues not long after Penguins training camp. He was diagnosed with Lyme disease initially and managed to control his symptoms enough to play in 16 games for WBS. It then transpired that he had PoTS, a heart condition that causes the heart rate to accelerate when changing from standing to sitting and vice versa. This shut down Bengtsson for the year while he was treated for this. By all accounts, he has recovered from this syndrome and is ready to go for training camp this year.
Moving onto Bengtsson as a player, he is undersized, but plays extremely fast. He has great puck skills and signed with the Penguins after competing in Swedish men’s leagues for the prior 3 years, so he knows how to compensate for his lack of size against bigger players. If Bengtsson can stay healthy and put together a good season, expect to see him pushing for ice time in the NHL and earn a spot for the 2018-2019 season. In WBS, I project him to score 10 goals and 40 assists.
Ethan Prow, AHL Experience : 1 Year
Ethan Prow was signed as a college free agent and had an up and down rookie AHL season. It started off poorly, with Prow getting little ice time and having a one game demotion to Wheeling. However, towards the end of the season, Prow seemed to gain some traction and earned more ice time. The Penguins will hope he continues to develop like he did at the end of the season and work on his defensive game some more. As a smaller defenseman at 5’11″ and 190 lbs, Prow must continue to rely upon his speed and puck moving to carve a niche for himself. I expect 5 goals and 20 assists from Prow this year as he tries to focus on his defensive game.