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Seider Headlines Penguins' Mid-Season Prospect Review

With future franchise centre Jack Hughes ineligible having played 57 EHEC games (he'd be the clear #1 on this list if he were), it's German defenseman Moritz Seider that currently holds the mantle of Pittsburgh's #1 prospect.

The Penguins' top-10 prospects have received a significant injection of talent since last off-season, with eight of the ten players on the list (plus Hughes) coming into the organization in either the 2019 draft or in trades since then.

10. D Anttoni Honka
Drafted: 3rd round (74th overall) by COL, 2019

Acquired as an additional piece in the recent Hunter Shinkaruk / Mitch Marner trade, Honka is a small defenseman with solid offensive skills, but who is very limited defensively. He'll likely need to get stronger and his defensive game will need to improve more than expected if he is to take a regular shift in the EHEC, but his strong skating and puck moving ability gives him some solid upside if he can develop.

Potential: #6 defenseman / PP specialist
Likeliness to reach potential: D

9. G Mads Sogaard
Drafted: 3rd round (89th overall) by PIT, 2019

The first thing you notice about Sogaard is that he's enormous. The 2019 third-round pick stands a whopping 6-foot-7, giving him the ability to cover a lot of net. Beyond that, Sogaard is a fairly average netminder with average to slightly above average consistency. He's likely to end up as a reliable backup, perhaps a low-end starter on a team with a poor goaltending situation.

Potential: Backup goalie
Likeliness to reach potential: B

8. D Kaeden Korczak
Drafted: 3rd round (63rd overall) by PIT, 2019

The 6-foot-3, 192 pound Korczak provides some size and some bite on the back end, but he's raw and far from a sure bet to reach his potential. While he offers little in the way of offensive ability, he could develop into the type of physical defenseman with plus mobility that teams covet, offering strong contributions on the penalty kill while playing a regular shift.

Potential: Third pairing defenseman
Likeliness to reach potential: D

7. R/L Filip Hallander
Drafted: 2nd round (35th overall) by PIT, 2018

One of the few players on this list that was property of Penguins before the 2019 off-season purge, Hallander is a strong skater who doesn't stand out in any particular way other than that. He has some grit, he has some pro-calibre offensive and defensive ability, but doesn't do anything exceptionally well. Hallander figures to be the type of player you want in your bottom six, a guy who can play a regular shift low in the lineup without being a liability.

Potential: Fourth line forward
Likeliness to reach potential: A

6. L/R Patrik Puistola
Drafted: 2nd round (46th overall) by PIT, 2019

A rather risky, boom/bust type pick by the Penguins in the 2019 draft, Puistola is a fine offensive player with one of the best shots in the entire 2019 draft class, which gives him a real shot to be a top-six forward. On the flip side, however, he's awful defensively to the point that it may hold him back from ever taking a regular EHEC job. Where he ends up is completely up in the air, but the offensive upside sets him apart from the players lower on this list.

Potential: Second line forward
Likeliness to reach potential: D

5. R/C Brett Leason
Drafted: 2nd round (34th overall) by PIT, 2019

Almost pro-ready straight from the draft, Leason has already played three games with the Penguins and is currently lighting it up for their AHL affiliate. He'll likely be one of the first call-ups after the trade deadline if a roster spot opens up. Leason is a gritty winger with enough offensive ability to move up-and-down the lineup, a slightly upgraded version of Filip Hallander. He likes to hit and has a plus shot that should allow him to chip in some goals, though he's a relatively weak skater and doesn't have great hands.

Potential: Third line forward
Likeliness to reach potential: C

4. R/L Vitali Kravtsov
Drafted: 1st round (12th overall) by NYR, 2018

An early-season trade that saw the Penguins sacrifice Ryan Suter brought Vitali Kravtsov into the Penguins organization. Possessing a similar skillset to current Penguin Victor Ohman, Kravtsov's main plus is a nasty shot that can give goalies fits. He's a fairly well-rounded player who's good enough defensively to play on a higher line without hurting his team, making him a likely candidate to hold down a top-six role one day.

Potential: Top six forward
Likeliness to reach potential: B

3. D Matthew Robertson
Drafted: 1st round (18th overall) by PIT, 2019

The third of three first-round picks made by the Penguins in last year's draft, Robertson brings a coveted shutdown ability to the Penguins' prospect pool. His offense is just enough to get by, but his defense makes him feared by opponents. The 6-foot-4, 201 pounder is a bruiser yet a smooth skater with excellent positioning and gap control, able to easily take away time and space from opponents.

Potential: Second pairing, shutdown defenseman
Likeliness to reach potential: B

2. C/L Jesperi Kotkaniemi
Drafted: 1st round (8th overall) by PIT, 2018

A year ago, the Penguins' prospect pool looked pretty barren, but Jesperi Kotkaniemi was the crown jewel of it, giving hope for the team's future. Kotkaniemi doesn't possess the offensive upside to be a true franchise centre, but he's a terrific two-way forward with a bit of a mean streak and still enough offense, especially playmaking ability, to play alongside great players. His game has developed a ton in the AHL this season and he's recently been called up to play with the big club, where he's got 3 points in 13 games with the Penguins.

Potential: Second line forward
Likeliness to reach potential: A

1. D Moritz Seider
Drafted: 1st round (10th overall) by PIT, 2019

The Penguins loved Seider at the draft last year and were thrilled to be able to select him at #10 after fearing he might go in the couple of picks before them. Seider may not have quite the offensive ability to be considered an elite, #1 defenseman, but he still knows his way around the offensive zone and he provides an intimidating, physical presence on the back end. His defensive game is very strong, and he will be a top-pairing, all-situations defenseman for a team down the road. Seider, like Kotkaniemi, has developed significantly in the AHL this year and recently made his NHL debut, with 3 points in his first 12 games.

Potential: #2 defenseman
Likeliness to reach potential: B

Pittsburgh Penguins
Posted: 2020/02/18

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