Prospect Camp

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Re: Prospect Camp

Postby mikey287 on Wed Jul 16, 2014 2:54 pm

I don't know what the general consensus is, I'm sure you could create a poll. For me, Bortuzzo isn't a far cry Engelland in terms of upside, or lack thereof. A marginal player who has reached or is near his ceiling.
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Re: Prospect Camp

Postby netwolf on Wed Jul 16, 2014 2:56 pm

I thought Bortuzzo should have been playing ahead of Engo for a while. That's admittedly not setting the bar very high, but I do think he's a good guy to have on the bottom pair. He's big, physical, cheap, and while skating and passing aren't strengths, I don't think he hurts you there either.
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Re: Prospect Camp

Postby thehockeyguru on Wed Jul 16, 2014 3:09 pm

mikey287 wrote:I don't know what the general consensus is, I'm sure you could create a poll. For me, Bortuzzo isn't a far cry Engelland in terms of upside, or lack thereof. A marginal player who has reached or is near his ceiling.


Do you think the system has something to do with it? It has taken better defenders (Gonchar, Martin, Michalek) time to adjust and in the case of Michalek he never did.
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Re: Prospect Camp

Postby sjnhiils on Wed Jul 16, 2014 3:13 pm

The U wrote:
pcm wrote:Bortuzzo gets the shaft around here. (I guess because mikey doesn't like him?) IMO he's built perfectly for playoff hockey. Sure, he has his limitations, but so did Hall Gill. Last year was Bortuzzo's first as an NHL regular. Just as it took Orpik time to learn how to play a steadier game and not chase hits, Bortuzzo will as well. What he brings is something none of our other D can replace. He's an ideal bottom pairing guy, IMO.


Agreed.

Bortuzzo (at 25 years old) only has 75 games under his belt but is held to an unusually high standard here by some. Is he supposed to be a finished product already? There is no more room for improvement? There is no room on this roster for a guy who plays completely different than the other 5 defensemen in the lineup?

Perhaps some here have been brainwashed by the "move the puck up" and "great first pass" style of defense that was pounded into our heads by Bylsma/Shero.

Over the past few years here it seems like that is the only trait worth praising in a defender. Crease clearing, fighting, hitting, sound positional defense, intimidation factor, energy, size, good stick, etc....are all meaningless. The only thing that matters is can the defender make a good stretch pass from his blueline to center ice.

Bortuzzo is not a finished product (75 games under his belt). I'm very excited to see him become a fixture on the bottom pairing. I like Dumoulin, Despres, Maatta, Harrington, and Pouliot as well. Bortuzzo is a home-grown WBS developed young, big physical defenseman. Isn't this the type of player that typically becomes a fan favorite or is the type of guy you would love to have as your 6th defenseman? I don't get why anybody would want him gone or replaced. He's exactly what you want in that part of the lineup.

Letang, Scuderi, Ehrhoff, Martin, Dumoulin, Maatta, Despres, Harrington, Pouliot. You know what that is guys? It's far and away the SOFTEST collection of blueliners in the NHL. No room for a guy that plays with a different style? No room for Bortuzzo? Can't have 1 defenseman in the top 7 that isn't fantastic at moving the puck up to the forwards? When the 5th and 6th defenseman are on the ice is it really that vital that they quickly move the puck up to Zach Sill and Craig Adams at center ice?

The Penguins organization has like 12 defensemen that play virtually the exact same style. I'm very happy that 1 or 2 of them are a bit different and bring some other skills to the table.

Agree. Besides Bortuzzo, others that come to mind would include Mcneill, Ruopp and Seymour.
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Re: Prospect Camp

Postby mikey287 on Wed Jul 16, 2014 3:22 pm

thehockeyguru wrote:
mikey287 wrote:I don't know what the general consensus is, I'm sure you could create a poll. For me, Bortuzzo isn't a far cry Engelland in terms of upside, or lack thereof. A marginal player who has reached or is near his ceiling.


Do you think the system has something to do with it? It has taken better defenders (Gonchar, Martin, Michalek) time to adjust and in the case of Michalek he never did.


It is possible to insulate defenders that have known weaknesses with proper adjustments. Teams do this all the time. That's how players like Andrej Meszaros and Jeff Schultz led the NHL in plus/minus before being washed out of the league or exposed then marginalized. Players like Michalek and Scuderi are good players, but do not have the technical skills to match the structure. Bortuzzo is a poor player that needs to be babysat. Which is tough because normally you associated the slower, defensive-minded defensemen with babysitting, but unfortunately, Bortuzzo is one of those players that does not provide offense but also hurts you on the backend. So it's a tough fit no matter what the situation is.

You can alleviate some of the puck issues on the breakout with adjustments...you can create more forward support defensively...you can get the center to come back and take the guy in front of the net because Bort gets lost too often...or...you can replace him with a better player instead of catering to a fringe NHLer on a small contract.

I agree, he brings some truculence that the team sorely lacks...but this doesn't appear to be a player that will help win any meaningful games...
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Re: Prospect Camp

Postby Dan H on Wed Jul 16, 2014 3:29 pm

mikey287 wrote:Hockey IQ seldom improves to any noteworthy degree. We're talking about instincts, anticipation, read n' react. It's not "after 75 games" it's his entire profile to date. The reason why he has only played 75 games as of the age of 25 is because of his low IQ. He doesn't have low IQ because he has little NHL experience. Hockey IQ can preclude one from being an effective player in a beer league as well, it's not NHL IQ.

Hockey sense just can't really be taught. You can make slight improvements to awareness with one-on-one technical and repetition work, but it's not going to jump from D- to B+ ever, no matter what happens.

It's not about expectations, it's about the identification of a fringe NHL player who likely doesn't have the brains to be a major player nor to learn from his mistakes. Players that have hockey sense learn from their mistakes quicker. People on this message board with hockey sense also mirror this. They learned from the "mistake" that was Deryk Engelland...they will not be fooled again by this type of player I suspect.

I don't think most people on this board ever had Engelland or Bortuzzo pegged at a wildly different level than you do, Mikey. It may just be a stylistic difference in the words we use to express someone's skill level. Your "marginal players," "fringe players," and "mistakes" are my "decent bottom-pairing guys." Both Engelland and Bortuzzo are good enough players to stick on an NHL roster for several seasons. Yes, it's true neither of us would want to play them 25 minutes a game and match them up against opponents' top lines on defensive zone faceoffs, and it's also probably true there are numerous players stuck in the AHL who are almost as valuable. But it's hard for a hockey player to reach Engelland's and Bortuzzo's level, so there's nothing wrong with honoring their accomplishments. Besides, legendary football coach Bill Walsh was famous for disdaining scouting reports that enumerated things a potential draftee couldn't do well. He'd tell his talent evaluators to just tell him what each player could bring to his team. If that philosophy worked for Walsh, it's good enough for me!

Not trying to single you out or cast you as especially negative here... I just don't think that everyone with hockey sense would label Deryk Engelland's tenure as a Penguin as a "mistake." He was more of a pleasant surprise, or a versatile bottom-of-the-roster guy who did well for himself by earning a contract with Calgary to which I would not have signed him if I were a GM.
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Re: Prospect Camp

Postby mikey287 on Wed Jul 16, 2014 8:12 pm

Engelland had some serious, serious praise here from a vocal minority. That's where my popular re-quote "the sky's the limit" comes from - discussion about Engelland.

Hal Gill is a decent bottom pairing guy when we had him. Mark Eaton, Philippe Boucher, etc. Those are decent bottom pairing guys to me. Because they are competent. Probably not unlike yourself, I think largely in terms of players that are going to help us in the playoffs. Help us return to the top of the mountain. This isn't Generation X horse hockey...this is a window of existence in which a championship is possible...Engelland, Bortuzzo, need not apply. Not good enough. Bortuzzo in a more structured situation on a different team, sure, maybe you lean more 6 than 7...I still probably don't, but at least it's more forgivable some place else...

This is a guy that probably isn't going to get a jersey regularly in the coming playoffs and if he does it will be at greatly reduced minutes...like the other names I mentioned in this thread. Guys that probably play in the playoffs to fill the need of a RHS on the bottom pair more than anything else. We're gonna be fortunate, I believe, to take a step back in about 12 months and go - "let's think about the progression of our young d-men" and there's gonna be Despres [check], Pouliot [check], Harrington [check] and then it's gonna be Bortuzzo [X] - you're gonna see these guys that have intelligence just absorb everything around them as pros...you're not gonna get that with Bortuzzo I don't believe...

Bill Walsh had a lot more players to dress than Mike Johnston does, he could afford more role players. I'm sure someone had a good scouting report on Joe Montana when he was picked in the 3rd round...they didn't bring him around because he brought a good smile...I get what you're saying, but I'm not sure its application here to be honest...

Engelland turning into NHL player is a pleasant surprise...Engelland being an NHL player on a roster trying to win a Cup is simply not good enough...that's the difference from my perspective...
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Re: Prospect Camp

Postby Dan H on Wed Jul 16, 2014 8:32 pm

Yeah, our talent evaluations aren't far off. You're right, I have Bortuzzo and Engelland maybe half a tier higher than you do, but that's still in "role player" land a couple of tiers below "impact player."

I think the Bill Walsh analogy is applicable to management even beyond sports, but here I just used it to gently chide everybody (not just you) for being so negative about NHL players. Even the best managers can focus on the positives of all players in their organizations; doing so doesn't indicate a lack of sense.

However, this is the "Prospect Camp" thread and I fear we're beginning to threadjack it by talking about Engelland and Bortuzzo. Trying to bring it back on topic, I'll conclude with a simple plea for those of you who talk about the Pens' prospects to talk about what they do well rather than reciting a laundry list of their present inadequacies.
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Re: Prospect Camp

Postby pcm on Wed Jul 16, 2014 8:42 pm

I would say that Bortuzzo in his first season looked better than Scuderi did in his first 5 seasons. It wasn't until he was paired with Gill and given a specific role that he excelled. He was 30 years old then. Also, I never recall hype around Engelland, and I've been here forever, though I could be mistaken. Engelland didn't play his first season until he was 29... you'd have to be thick to think he'd "blossom".

But if you want to write off Bortuzzo at 25 (and put a lot of effort into it, btw), after a pretty decent first year playing a complicated defensive system, just because you think he looks like a cro magnon, well, I'll just smile and nod.
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Re: Prospect Camp

Postby meow on Thu Jul 17, 2014 9:10 am

pcm wrote:I would say that Bortuzzo in his first season looked better than Scuderi did in his first 5 seasons. It wasn't until he was paired with Gill and given a specific role that he excelled. He was 30 years old then. Also, I never recall hype around Engelland, and I've been here forever, though I could be mistaken. Engelland didn't play his first season until he was 29... you'd have to be thick to think he'd "blossom".

But if you want to write off Bortuzzo at 25 (and put a lot of effort into it, btw), after a pretty decent first year playing a complicated defensive system, just because you think he looks like a cro magnon, well, I'll just smile and nod.

Excellent post. My problem with Bortuzzo is I feel that he is plugging up the pipeline. I think it will be evident this year when some of the younger guys are ready for NHL games.
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Re: Prospect Camp

Postby RisslingsMissingTeeth on Thu Jul 17, 2014 9:25 am

Due to the lack of fighters, I would imagine that Borts will be an every game starter now that we got rid of Glass and Engo.
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Re: Prospect Camp

Postby Hugo Stiglitz on Thu Jul 17, 2014 9:32 am

I think Bortuzzo has a very bright future as a solid #5/#6 dman on any team. That being said, I don't think there's room on this team for him after this year. The Pens have too many better prospects on the horizon than to allow Bortuzzo to block one of those spots.
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Re: Prospect Camp

Postby tfrizz on Thu Jul 17, 2014 11:22 am

NB: Dumoulin, Harrington Will Have Opportunity to Crack Pens' Lineup

“We want to bring young players into our organization, especially on defense,” associate general manager Jason Botterill said. “We’ve talked about these young defensemen in our system for a while and it’s time for Brian Dumoulin, Scott Harrington, Simon Despres, to get an opportunity.”
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Re: Prospect Camp

Postby mikey287 on Thu Jul 17, 2014 11:38 am

Jack Nicholson smile and nod.gif
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Re: Prospect Camp

Postby Chirpin' Grinder on Thu Jul 17, 2014 11:52 am

tfrizz wrote:NB: Dumoulin, Harrington Will Have Opportunity to Crack Pens' Lineup

“We want to bring young players into our organization, especially on defense,” associate general manager Jason Botterill said. “We’ve talked about these young defensemen in our system for a while and it’s time for Brian Dumoulin, Scott Harrington, Simon Despres, to get an opportunity.”


Yea Jason, we know.

How about moving out some dead weight to clear the path? :pop:
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Re: Prospect Camp

Postby DesertPenguin on Thu Jul 17, 2014 11:57 am

I don't understand the Bortuzzo hate. He's physical, likes to hit, will fight if need be, has a big frame and long reach, better than many here seem to think in his own end, cheap, and right handed. He's our only right handed shot outside of Letang, on the team or in the pipe. He also brings a physical toolset many of our other young guys do not. He's exactly the kind of low cost non flashy compliment you need for these high skill puck movers.
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Re: Prospect Camp

Postby Froggy on Thu Jul 17, 2014 12:00 pm

DesertPenguin wrote:I don't understand the Bortuzzo hate. He's physical, likes to hit, will fight if need be, has a big frame and long reach, better than many here seem to think in his own end, cheap, and right handed. He's our only right handed shot outside of Letang, on the team or in the pipe. He also brings a physical toolset many of our other young guys do not. He's exactly the kind of low cost non flashy compliment you need for these high skill puck movers.

it's not hate, it's just that we have better people in our system, and he's not a high ceiling prospect.
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Re: Prospect Camp

Postby Chirpin' Grinder on Thu Jul 17, 2014 12:13 pm

DesertPenguin wrote:I don't understand the Bortuzzo hate. He's physical, likes to hit, will fight if need be, has a big frame and long reach, better than many here seem to think in his own end, cheap, and right handed. He's our only right handed shot outside of Letang, on the team or in the pipe. He also brings a physical toolset many of our other young guys do not. He's exactly the kind of low cost non flashy compliment you need for these high skill puck movers.


:thumb: :thumb:

Yea Bortuzzo is a much more valuable commodity than most seem to realize. As you point out, he adds more than a few traits of which this organization is in short supply. And he has made noticeable progress each season. It would be absurd to assume he has topped out at 25, especially after enduring Reirden and Bylsma and their illogical, hockey-sense decimating experiments.
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Re: Prospect Camp

Postby DesertPenguin on Thu Jul 17, 2014 12:15 pm

Froggy wrote:
DesertPenguin wrote:I don't understand the Bortuzzo hate. He's physical, likes to hit, will fight if need be, has a big frame and long reach, better than many here seem to think in his own end, cheap, and right handed. He's our only right handed shot outside of Letang, on the team or in the pipe. He also brings a physical toolset many of our other young guys do not. He's exactly the kind of low cost non flashy compliment you need for these high skill puck movers.

it's not hate, it's just that we have better people in our system, and he's not a high ceiling prospect.




Most of the guys in our system are incapable of or unwilling to do this. Bort relishes it. He compliments the high end skill guys, he doesn't hold them back. It takes more than just pretty skating/passing on the back end.
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Re: Prospect Camp

Postby MRandall25 on Thu Jul 17, 2014 12:25 pm

Yeah, but most of the guys in the system don't leave their defensive position looking for hits as readily as Bortuzzo does.

Big hits are fine, but you have to know when to go and when to sit back. I'm not sure Bortuzzo knows that.
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Re: Prospect Camp

Postby Pruezy11881 on Thu Jul 17, 2014 12:33 pm

Orpik had to learn when to pick and choose hits. Bortuzzo will too.
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Re: Prospect Camp

Postby pcm on Thu Jul 17, 2014 12:36 pm

MRandall25 wrote:Yeah, but most of the guys in the system don't leave their defensive position looking for hits as readily as Bortuzzo does.

Big hits are fine, but you have to know when to go and when to sit back. I'm not sure Bortuzzo knows that.


The same could be said of Orpik his first 4 seasons at least... Players aren't ever perfect in their first year. And despite what mikey says about him being stupid, Bort has shown improvement over his short tenure here. As Orpik learned to pick his spots, it's hardly out of the question that Bortuzzo could as well.
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Re: Prospect Camp

Postby Pavel Bure on Thu Jul 17, 2014 12:40 pm

pcm wrote:
MRandall25 wrote:Yeah, but most of the guys in the system don't leave their defensive position looking for hits as readily as Bortuzzo does.

Big hits are fine, but you have to know when to go and when to sit back. I'm not sure Bortuzzo knows that.


The same could be said of Orpik his first 4 seasons at least... Players aren't ever perfect in their first year. And despite what mikey says about him being stupid, Bort has shown improvement over his short tenure here. As Orpik learned to pick his spots, it's hardly out of the question that Bortuzzo could as well.

Orpik had solid skating. Borts falls down constantly. Orpik was talked about as the future captain of this team even in his rookie year. Borts isn't close to comparable to Orpik.
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Re: Prospect Camp

Postby pcm on Thu Jul 17, 2014 12:45 pm

Wait, so Bortuzzo can't learn to pick his spots because he's not talked about as a captain? I don't follow your logic. Unless, you presumed that I was saying Bortuzzo is an equivalent player to Orpik, which is silly.
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Re: Prospect Camp

Postby Chirpin' Grinder on Thu Jul 17, 2014 12:55 pm

MRandall25 wrote:Yeah, but most of the guys in the system don't leave their defensive position looking for hits as readily as Bortuzzo does.

Big hits are fine, but you have to know when to go and when to sit back. I'm not sure Bortuzzo knows that.


The entire team was a mess under Bylsma/Reirden from a positioning standpoint. It is really unfair to single out Bortuzzo in this regard. Scuderi would actually stand in front of attacking forwards and not engage with them at all around the net. Martin is similar. Both often get caught in no-man's land around the net, allowing the forward to get inside position close to the goal.

Bortuzzo, Despres and all the WBS call-ups were better close to the cage, a prime area where this team needs to be much improved. They actually competed and battled and defended the goaltender with enthusiasm.

They will all be better as Bylsma's zany tactics are discarded.
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