A recent press release from the Pittsburgh Penguins is bragging up some local hockey products who are looking to hear their names called next summer at the NHL draft.â†µ
Two Pittsburgh area players are ranked among the top 14 prospects available by the independent scouting service Red Line Report – meaning they are considered likely first-round picks — and five are rated in the top 107.â†µ
Gibsonia’s Brandon Saad , who once skated for Pine Richland High School in the Penguins Cup championships at Mellon Arena, is ranked as the No. 5 player in the draft.â†µ
Moon’s J.T. Miller – who, like Saad, played for the Pittsburgh Hornets amateur program – is ranked No. 14â†µ
Also ranked are John Gibson (Whitehall) a 6-foot-2, 205-pound goalie who plays for the highly regarded USNDP with Miller. Gibson is 31st, according to the Red Line list.â†µ
Vince Trocheck (Pittsburgh) a 5-foot-11, 180 pound forward who is a teammate of Saad’s in Saginaw is ranked 78th. Barrett Kaib (Upper St. Clair) is a teammate to Miller and Gibson and is 107th in the Red Line list.â†µ
All of these players have birthdays in the 1993 range (feeling old?), meaning all they’ve known is Pittsburgh as a hockey hotbed, with Mario Lemieux, Jaromir Jagr and then later Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin leading the Pens and they’ve seen R.J. Umberger, Ryan Malone and many other Pittsburgh natives make it to the NHL too. That many young players are excelling in the US National Program and in Canada’s junior leagues shows Pittsburgh’s improving status in the hockey world.