by Tony on 12/08/08 at 12:40 AM ET
There was certainly a buzz in the Penguins’ air in July when they signed Finnish Elite League scoring champion Janne Pesonen to a contract. Would he be that elusive scoring winger for Sidney Crosby ?? Maybe another European winger for Evgeni Malkin ??
Well, eventually, that may very well still happen, but a couple months into Pesonen’s first season in North America, he’s ran into a couple of speed bumps.
He was initially recalled for one game, November 1st at St. Louis, where he played 9:52 before being sent back to Wilkes-Barre/Scranton. However, since his latest recall prior to the Nov. 28th game at Buffalo, he’s played four games, but hasn’t gotten more than 7:16 of ice time. However, while I would certainly like to see him get more ice time, he hasn’t done very much when he’s actually gotten on the ice. He’s been tossed on the fourth line, a bit on the slow side, and as Jay Caufield noted on FSN’s post-game coverage a few days ago, he’s getting bumped around by defensemen quite a bit. He hasn’t shown any resemblences of being a productive winger anytime soon.
His stats at Wilkes-Barre/Scranton could shine some light on his potential, with 5 goals and 21 points in 20 games so far. However, it’s also fair to note that lots of players excel in the AHL but don’t pan out in the NHL. But as it is right now, if he remains with the Penguins, he’s competing for ice time with similar-type players like Pascal Dupuis, Tyler Kennedy and Max Talbot, but without their speed.
The main problem right now is that it’s crystal clear that Pesonen does not have the trust of HCMT. In some aspects it really reminds me of the early years of Colby Armstrong, who was in many a doghouse for quite some time. But I’m afraid that if he doesn’t start improving his play, he’s gonna get replaced by Jeff Taffe, who is also doing well at WBS with 14 goals and 28 points in 24 games. Now Taffe is someone who HCMT continually put into the lineup, including some times last season that I didn’t see how he deserved it.
I hope that the Penguins are patient with Pesonen. I’m quite sure that the Finnish Elite League is a fine league in itself, but his transition to the NHL is going to take some time. Time will tell just how patient they’ll be.
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Originally at Blogspot, then at MVN, TheConfluence has over 1500 articles reporting Penguins news as well as jumping on my soapbox to opine constructive Penguins criticism.
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