Monday, October 1, 2007

See you at the Crossroads...

Jonathan Filewich and Ryan Stone might not be singing Bone Thugs, but maybe they should be.

  • Filewich will turn 23 years old on Wednesday, where he'll be celebrating by being in Wilkes-Barre's season opener. Stone, as a hockey prospect goes, is no spring chicken himself at 22.
  • Both have spent two full seasons at the AHL level. Well, Stone's had some injury woes, a wrist injury knocked him out for half of last year.
  • Both have scored at a fairly impressive clip in the A. Doubling Stone's stats would have translated into 66 points (14g, 52a) if he had a full season. Filewich has 52 goals in his first two pro seasons (including a team leading 30 last year).
  • Neither has suited up for the Pittsburgh Penguins in their career.

Along with fellow training camp slight disappointment Tim Brent, these two young forwards ought to be the first option in case of injury. But with 13 forwards with a high level of experience (and acuity in their respective roles) the mountain is tough to climb.

And it's only going to get tougher. Every year there's going to be someone like Adam Hall with more experience, more size waiting to crack the lineup. Soon Angelo Esposito will be in the mix for a NHL job too, and it doesn't look like he'll be denied much longer. Not to mention all the veteran acquistions that Mr. Shero will make (ala Gary Roberts, Georges Laraque and Petr Sykora).

Point being, Stone and Filewich probably aren't in the Pens future plans. It would be great if they could be, but it's going to take some circumstances out of the players' control (trades, injury, etc) to get even a sniff of cracking the lineup and then trying to turn out an NHL niche. Some, like Sweater Ted, believe Stone and Filewich could be guys like Tom Kostopolous, Eric Meloche and Kris Beech; excellent AHL players that there's no room for in this organization and might have to find a new franchise to swim (like TK) or sink (Meloche and Beech).

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