We need @theolec11 Zack Sill by @evil_shero - PensInitiative | Pittsburgh Penguins Blog | Rumors | News

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Friday, August 29, 2014

We need @theolec11 Zack Sill by @evil_shero

 (Photo by Justin K. Aller/Getty Images)
We all got a sample of Zack Sill last year  when the Penguins were decimated (again) with injuries to key players and he put on a #38 jersey around his 6' 202 pound frame and earned 2 hits in 9 minutes of ice time against the New Jersey Devils. It was very clear that the Penguins had a hard working, hard hitting, grinder just dying to play some NHL minutes as Sill chirped anyone donning Red and White all night.

During his 20 game stint, he racked up 58 hits, 2.85 a game which was third behind Glass (3.68) and Orpik (3.06). He also tallied .9 blocked shots per game which is 1st on the team among forwards. Sill made the most of his time and became a victim of the Penguins deep bench and was sent back to WBS.

Zack was never drafted by an NHL team but played the +Pittsburgh Penguins organization in 2009 after earning the QMJHL honors of "hardest worker," "hardest hitter," and "best defensive forward," that same year for the Moncton Wildcats. He earned a contract with the Penguins in 2011 (2y/535k) and amassed 14g/12a/148 PIM in those two years becoming the fearless agitator on the WBS Penguins roster. During his time playing for the Penguins affiliate he's tallied 73 points in 277 games and an impressive 315 PIMS during that time acting as the ever-vigilant protector of his teammates.

PHOTO: Gene J. Puskar/AP
It was Sill's short time with the Penguins that drew me into what kind of player he is. He is an "agitator", a "rat", a "shift disturber", a player the Penguins have not had since the departure of Matt Cooke. One could make a case for Tanner Glass filling that role but he was more fit for an enforcer role; the type of player who hit everything that moved but did little else beyond that. The Penguins have employed players like Sill for years with guys like  Talbot, Ruutu, Armstrong filling that role but as the roster stands that role is now unfilled as Steve Downie will presumably find a home on the 3rd line.

This is Sill's time to earn an NHL job like he earned a spot on the AHL club. Sill is not only a skilled fighter but he will work for the puck in the corners utilizing deceptive strength, and make players think twice before battling on the boards with him. He's been in the prospect system for 5 years now and I feel the reason being is that there wasn't a need for his skill set ... until now.

Sill told the Citizen's Voice, "I don't usually use my stick a whole lot. Spearing guys or sticking guys behind the play isn't really my thing," he said. "But if there's a hit, borderline, three seconds after a guy's lost the puck, I'll finish that hit."

Sill is also a fierce combatant on the ice. His 318 PIM 32 of them were fight where he went 23-4-6 winning 71% of his fights (couresy of dropyourgloves.com).

Back in 2010 The Pensblog saw him in training camp and quoted that "he stood up to guys almost twice his size' and "He finishes every check. He doesn’t back down from anyone."

During my analysis of the Penguins fights last year, I noticed that Sill will employ what I call the "Princess Bride Strategy" where he will start with one hand and finish the fight with the other. 

Here is a good example where he starts with the left hand and finishes with the right.

Sill was signed for another year in the Penguins organization the day before Independence Day with all intentions of him competing for a spot in the main roster. The only thing keeping him from making it would be himself. In this deep Penguins team roster spots cannot be gifted or experimented with. It will take the tenacity Sill has to make a spot and here's to hoping he can.

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