The Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins locker room at the Toyota Sportsplex should have a revolving door installed with all of the player movement that has been going on lately. From March 2-29, no fewer than 35 transactions involving the AHL Penguins were made.
That number grew by four on Thursday, March 30.
With the improved health of several NHL regulars finally going their way, the Pittsburgh Penguins reassigned defenseman David Warsofsky, as well as forwards Oskar Sundqvist and Josh Archibald to Wilkes-Barre/Scranton. The trio returns to NEPA just as the Pens are beginning an extremely busy final three weeks of the regular season, with back-to-back three-in-three weekends on the schedule.
With Warsofsky returning to the fold, Wilkes-Barre/Scranton reassigned defenseman Ryan Segalla to the Wheeling Nailers.
A NEW FACE
Earlier in the week, the Pittsburgh Penguins inked 2014 draft pick Jeff Taylor to a two-year contract which starts next season. A product of Union College, Taylor then signed a PTO (professional tryout) with Wilkes-Barre/Scranton, and hit the practice ice with the club for the first time on Wednesday.
A skilled blueliner, Taylor led all Union defensemen and was fifth overall on the team with 33 points (9+24) during his senior season. It was somewhat of a bounce back season for the native of Clifton Park, NY, who posted just 12 points (2+10) in 36 games last year.
“My junior season I struggled a little bit, I was trying to work on a few different things,” he said. “It was just a growing year, a building year. I’m glad I had it and I’m glad I got better from it.”
Head coach Clark Donatelli liked what he saw from the new signee following his first practice session with the Pens.
“He looked good out there,” Donatelli stated. “He’s a puck moving defenseman. I know him a little bit from development camp over the last few years.”
Donatelli said Taylor would likely feature in one of the Penguins three games over the weekend, but wasn’t looking to put too much pressure on the newcomer.
“We’re not going to expect too much from him. We just want him to go out there, get his feet wet, get a couple of games under his belt first,” he said.
BACK IN ACTION
While Taylor will see his first action ever, Garrett Wilson will likely see his first action in a month and a half, after being cleared to return to the lineup.
Wilson suffered a shoulder injury against the Lehigh Valley Phantoms on February 14, and has been sidelined ever since. He skated in warmups for the Penguins last weekend, but figures to get his first taste of game action since the injury on Friday night.
“I think I definitely could have played last weekend,” Wilson said. “I knew I didn’t want to rush it. We still had a bit of time before playoffs. The severity of the separation, they wanted to give it a little extra time to make sure it really healed.”
Wilson used the past week of practice to see how his body would react to being banged about a bit, and from all reports he’s come out in good shape.
“I knew once I started hitting, using a lot of contact with it, it was going to make it pretty sore,” he said. “I got the contact in practice now, so I tried it against the boys a couple times. It feels pretty good. Hopefully it won’t change my game too much.”
The news wasn’t so good for defenseman Stuart Percy, who underwent surgery earlier this week and will miss the remainder of the season and playoffs according to Donatelli.
The Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins return home for a pair of games this weekend against the Lehigh Valley Phantoms (Saturday at 7:05pm) and Utica Comets (Sunday at 3:05pm). Sunday’s game is a KIDS FREE contest, with fans ages 14 and younger able to attend the game for FREE with a paid adult ticket.
Tickets for both games are available at the Mohegan Sun Arena box office, online at TicketMaster.com or by calling 570-208-7267.