Picked 20th overall in 2007 by the Pittsburgh Penguins, Esposito, who stands at 6’1” and weights190 pounds, is a center who has had a prosperous junior career. He was traded to the Panthers from the Canucks, in exchange for Kenndal McArdle on July 8th, 2011.
Esposito was born in Montreal, Quebec on February 20th, 1989. The 22 year old is not related to Tony and Phil Esposito, but does wear Phil’s number 7. Esposito has enjoyed success in the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League, including 2 over 30 goal efforts, and 2 over 20 goal efforts. His first season with the Quebec Remparts included 98 points in only 57 games. Since then his production has decreased slightly, 79 points in 06-07, followed by 69 points in 07-08.
Making his professional debut with the Chicago Wolves of the AHL, Esposito was lackluster, 4 assists and a minor penalty in 12 contests. This was followed by an extended stay in Chicago where he amassed 13 points over 57 games. While it doesn’t seem that his prowess is carrying over to the professional level, Esposito holds promise and continues to be a top prospect. He is a case of uncertainty, though, as Hockey’sfuture has given him a prospect grade of 8.0 “F.” The 8.0 indicates that he should be a top 6 forward, however the “F” is in the standard letter grade system that you know well from grade school. It indicates that Esposito has little potential.
While I do see the risk in bringing a player like Esposito to the Panther’s organization, I do like this move much better than losing certain prospects to the KHL. Kennal McCardle was a gritty player that did many things right and I will miss that. Esposito will have to prove he is a talented player. It is up to him to prove his critics wrong.
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