Which Pittsburgh Penguins Prospects Will Have Enhanced Roles in 2014-15?

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Which Pittsburgh Penguins Prospects Will Have Enhanced Roles in 2014-15?
USA TODAY Sports

You may have loved Ray Shero, or you may have hated him. The Pittsburgh Penguins weighed the pros and cons of keeping the general manager and eventually decided to release him from his duties. While the man always seemed to have something up his sleeve at the trade deadline and was arguably the best when it came to building a quality team around monster cap hits, one aspect of his reign always left fans wanting more.

Shero struggled to draft and develop talent for the Penguins, and after watching the Los Angeles Kings win the Stanley Cup with Tyler Toffoli (22 years old) and Tanner Pearson (21) playing big-time roles, it's become clear what Pittsburgh has been missing over the last few campaigns.

Contributions from depth players has been an issue—one that Shero constantly tried to correct by adding forwards like Jarome Iginla, Lee Stempniak and Marcel Goc. Those plug-and-plays never resulted in much success, so now it's time for the Penguins to start leaning on their own young talent.

There's some work to be done at the 2014 draft, but there are already a handful of young players that will be able to step in and help the Penguins improve in 2014-15.

For the purposes of this slideshow, we're using the term "prospect" pretty loosely. The goal is simply to identify which young players will have larger roles this season than they did last year. The goal is not to figure out which player the phrase "prospect" doesn't apply to.

 

All statistics appear courtesy of NHL.com, while cap information appears courtesy of CapGeek.com.

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