THE NEW PENGUINS – 2018 NHL DRAFT RECAP


The 2018 NHL Entry Draft took place this weekend in Dallas, Texas. The Pittsburgh Penguins entered the draft without a first round pick, but based on the talent in this year’s prospect pool, team scouts and pundits agreed there would be plenty of promising young players available for the Penguins.

Below are Pittsburgh’s 2018 selections listed in sequential order. Every player has a quick profile and scouting report included in this draft recap so that you can get to know a little more about the newest members of the organization before they likely end up taking the ice for the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins in the future!

 

53rd – CALEN ADDISON: Defenseman, Lethbridge Hurricanes…

With Pittsburgh’s first selection in this year’s draft, they get an elite skater that fell right into its lap in Calen Addison. He has the ability to change directions on a dime, and he covers so much ground in any direction in an instant. Owns some offensive upside too thanks to his shooting ability. Addison has a quick wrister from the blue line that always gets past the first level. Always. This young man is an ace on the power play, as well. He’s a little undersized, but he competes enough to make up several inches in wall battles. However, doesn’t expect him to throw his weight around. Like a lot of young defensemen, his awareness on the defensive side of the game wanes, but he has time to remedy that before he’ll be called upon in Pittsburgh. They likely fell in love with him while keeping tabs on Jordy Bellerive, a Hurricanes teammate that the Penguins added to their prospect pool last year.

 

58th – FILIP HÅLLANDER: Right Wing, Timrå IK…

Pittsburgh traded up to take this player, and you could hear a tinge of excitement in director of scouting Patrik Allvin’s voice when he announced the selection of his fellow Swede. This is an energetic forward who can play wing or center. Filip Hållander relishes the forecheck and crashes the net. Acts as a fearless net-front presence. The Penguins have grown rather fond of Swedish players that play that style over the past few years, haven’t they? (Think Hörnqvist, Hagelin.) He’s a shifty skater skating and owns the puck abilities to possibly become more than a grind-it-out type player. His stride could use some refinement, it can look clunky at times, but he gets long extension from his powerful legs to generate deceptive speed. He shines in the east-west game, too, because of his skills and great edgework. Hållander shouldn’t be relied on to be a particularly creative playmaker, but he won’t make brainless mistakes either. No players were exchanged in the trade with Colorado to move up and take Hållander, by the way. It was only a pick swap.

 

129th – JUSTIN ALMEIDA: Centerman, Moose Jaw Warriors…

Quite some time passed between Pittsburgh’s second and third selections here, but the Penguins hope it was worth the wait as they grab the speedy and skilled Justin Almeida. Pittsburgh continues its trend of drafting over-age players, as Almeida was passed over in last year’s draft. A big reason why he wasn’t selected was his size. He’s thin as a rail and measures five-foot-nine, but his offensive output this season was too tantalizing to pass up. A great way for smaller players to make up for their diminutive size is by being a good skater, and Almeida can skate like the wind. He’s capable of making plays while operating at top speed, and his head can keep up with his feet. The 1999-born centerman possesses good puckhandling ability, but will grab your attention with a devastating shot. That pro-level release is a big reason why he jumped from 11 goals last season to 43 this year.

 

177th – LIAM GORMAN: Centerman, St. Sebastian’s School…

This is a strong young man that plays a gritty game. Every time you watch Liam Gorman, you’re going to see him driving to the front of the net. He scores a lot of his goals in that area around the crease, too. He has explosiveness to his stride, but needs to work on his overall speed. When he’s on top of his game, he excels at digging in the corners, gaining body leverage on opponents and winning possession for his team in the trenches. Gorman will go the collegiate route and is committed to attend Boston University, which surely will endear him to former Terriers Mike Sullivan and Clark Donatelli.

PITTSBURGH NEWS: PENS RE-SIGN LINDBERG, ANNOUNCE PROSPECT CAMP


The Pittsburgh Penguins have re-signed forward Tobias Lindberg to a one-year, two-way contract, it was announced today by executive vice president and general manager Jim Rutherford.

The two-way deal carries an average annual value of $650,000 at the NHL level.

Lindberg, 22, was acquired by the Penguins back on Feb. 23 in the blockbuster three-team deal with Ottawa and Vegas where the Penguins also acquired Derick Brassard. Following the trade, Lindberg remained with the American Hockey League’s Chicago Wolves, Vegas’ minor-league affiliate, for the duration of the season.

The 6-foot-3, 215-pound native of Stockholm, Sweden produced 10 goals, 13 assists, 23 points and a plus-8 in 64 contests with the Wolves. He tacked on one assist in two playoff games. Lindberg has spent the majority of the last three seasons in the AHL with Chicago, Binghamton and Toronto, producing 73 points (27G-46A) and a plus-26 in 164 games.

Originally selected by the Ottawa Senators in the fourth round (102nd overall) in 2013, Lindberg has six games of NHL action on his resume, all with the Toronto Maple Leafs in 2015-16. On March 31, 2016, Lindberg picked up the first of his two NHL assists when he set up a Brooks Laich goal against the Buffalo Sabres at KeyBank Arena, Lindberg’s NHL debut.

Lindberg starred for the Ontario Hockey League’s Oshawa Generals during his first season in North America in 2014-15. That year, he helped Oshawa win the OHL playoff championship, followed by a Memorial Cup title. Lindberg had five points (3G-2A) in four Memorial Cup appearances, including setting up the title-clinching goal scored by current Tampa Bay Lightning forward Anthony Cirelli.

In regular-season action that year, Lindberg finished second on the team in goals (32) and third in points (78) in 67 contests. Then during the playoffs, he finished third on the club again with 19 points (7G-12A) in 21 appearances.

Lindberg was acquired by the Toronto organization from Ottawa in the 2016 megadeal that saw defenseman Dion Phaneuf swapped from Toronto to Ottawa. Vegas had acquired Lindberg in October of 2017 as part of a package that sent goaltender Calvin Pickard to the Maple Leafs.


The Pittsburgh Penguins will host their annual prospect development camp next week, June 27-29, at the UPMC Lemieux Sports Complex in Cranberry.

Camp will begin with a pair of practices on Wednesday, June 27. Team A hits the ice from 2:15-3:00 PM; Team B follows from 3:15-4:00 PM.

On Friday night, beginning at 7:00 PM, all players will once again be broken into four teams to compete in a 3-on-3 tournament. Earlier that morning, the teams will hold traditional game-day morning skates. Team B skates at 10:30 AM, followed by Team A at 11:30 AM.

Thursday’s practice sessions will be held at 9:45 AM (Team A) and 10:45 AM (Team B and the goalies).

All practices are open to the public free of charge.

The Penguins will release their development camp roster early next week.

As in past years, development camp will feature a variety of off-ice presentations and activities focused on helping players transition to becoming a professional athlete.

Below is the Pittsburgh Penguins’ 2018 Development Camp Practice Schedule at the UPMC Lemieux Sports Complex:

Wednesday, June 27
2:15-3:00 PM – Team A Practice
3:15-4:00 PM – Team B Practice

Thursday, June 28
9:45 AM – Skills Session (Team A)
10:45 AM – Skills Session (Team B)
10:45 AM – Goalies Session (Rink 2)

Friday, June 29
10:30 AM – Team B Morning Skate
11:30 AM – Team A Morning Skate
7:00 PM – 3-on-3 Tournament

THE WRIGHT MAN FOR COLUMBUS

The Vegas Golden Knights will see the majority of the team’s roster take shape on Wednesday when they announce their 30 selections in the 2017 NHL Expansion Draft.  The newest NHL franchise will select one player from each of the other existing teams to bulk up their player pool as they enter their first season of play.

(There’s more info on the entire expansion draft process over on our blog – Skating on the Susquehanna).

The last time the league held an expansion draft was back in 2000 when the Minnesota Wild and Columbus Blue Jackets were gearing up for their first forays into the hockey world.  Each team selected 26 players – one from every existing team, minus the recently formed Atlanta Thrashers and Nashville Predators.

That draft came just months after the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins inaugural season came to an end, and fans in NEPA saw a fan favorite change his zip code as a result.

With the 31st overall pick in the 2000 expansion draft, the Blue Jackets snatched up former Wilkes-Barre/Scranton captain Tyler Wright.  

Tyler Wright served as the first captain in Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins history.

Selected 12th overall by the Edmonton Oilers int he 1991 Entry Draft, Wright made his pro debut with with the Oilers in late 1993.  He split the next three seasons between Edmonton and Cape Breton (AHL), earning a reputation as a pest with some scoring touch.

Wright was acquired by Pittsburgh on June 22, 1996 for a seventh round pick in that year’s entry draft, and split his first season between the Penguins and their then minor league affiliate, the Cleveland Lumberjacks of the International Hockey League.

Wright spent the entirety of the 1997-98 and 1998-99 seasons with Pittsburgh, but found himself the odd man out as training camp came to a close in the fall of 1999, and he was assigned to Wilkes-Barre/Scranton.

After going scoreless in 61 games with Pittsburgh in 1998-99, Wright found his scoring touch once again with the newly-formed AHL club, recording 20 points (5+15) in 25 games.

Wright’s final game with Wilkes-Barre/Scranton came on December 17, 1999, in a 2-1 win over the Albany River Rats.  He was summoned back to Pittsburgh after that victory, and spent the rest of the season with the NHL club.

Wright provided valuable leadership and a calming presence during his time in Northeast Pennsylvania.  Wearing the captain’s ‘C’, he was a veteran voice of encouragement to a team that struggled to find wins in the early going.

And his influence is still felt to this day around the rink.  Current Penguins captain Tom Kostopoulos, a rookie during Wright’s tenure with the team, wore 25 during his first season.  However, he adopted Wright’s sweater number 29 the following year, the number he still wears to this day.

Wright finished the 1999-00 season with 22 points (12+10) in 50 games with Pittsburgh, all career highs up until that point.

That performance may have piqued the interest of the Blue Jackets, who made Wright a centerpiece of the team for the next four-plus seasons.  He recorded 104 points (57+47) in 291 games with Columbus between 2000 and 2004 and became a pillar in the community, establishing the Hats for Heroes program to help in the fight against pediatric cancer.

Wright began the 2005-06 season in Columbus, but was dealt to the Anaheim Ducks for Sergei Fedorov early in the season.  He had a short stint playing in Switzerland in 2006-07, before retiring and going the Blue Jackets hockey operations staff as director of player development.  He holds that same position today with the Detroit Red Wings.

2018-19 Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins Season Ticket Information