The way Tobias Lindberg became a Penguin was… unorthodox. Part of a trade last February that saw him dealt by Vegas to Pittsburgh, Lindberg was swept up in a 24-hour whirlwhind that ultimately kept him exactly where he already was.
When the dust settled, Lindberg remained with Vegas’ AHL affiliate on loan and played out the rest of the season with the Chicago Wolves.
“When the general manager (Jim Rutherford) called me, he said to me, ‘This is a very complicated trade, one that I’ve never seen before,’” Lindberg recalled of the day he was technically dealt to the Penguins. “I didn’t try to let it bother me. I didn’t want to think about it too much. I’m just going to go crazy. I said whatever you guys want me to do, I’ll do it.”
For the time, that meant staying with a different club’s AHL affiliate, but Rutherford has since made it clear that what they want Lindberg to do is be a part of the Penguins’ future.
Lindberg re-signed with Pittsburgh prior to development camp, suggesting that he’s in their plans as a prospect. He might be skating for the Steel City someday, but he’s likely to stop in Wilkes-Barre/Scranton first. The Swedish forward is totally game for a stint in Northeastern Pennsylvania.
“To me, it doesn’t matter where I play. I just want to play a lot,” Lindberg said. “You see [Pittsburgh] has a lot of young guys that come up from Wilkes-Barre. When I was playing in Toronto, we played Wilkes-Barre and saw they always had a good team. If Wilkes-Barre is where I play, I’ll be fortunate to play there. Hopefully, I take on a leading role and play a lot.”
That most recent trade is just another chapter in what has been an eventful career for Lindberg. He has been traded three different times, once from Ottawa to Toronto, then Toronto to Vegas, and most recently Vegas to Pittsburgh, he won a Memorial Cup before turning pro, and has six NHL games under his belt already, too. All of these experiences have made Lindberg much more mature than your average 22-year-old.
“I still look at myself as a young player, even though I’ve packed in a lot in a few years,” he said. “It’s been a lot of trades, a lot of new cities, a lot of new teammates, a lot of injuries. I feel like I’ve learned to be more calm and work on getting a little better every summer and every day, I’m going to play in the NHL some day.”
Even if his path to the show has been full of sharp turns and changes in direction, maybe he can fully realize that dream now that he’s officially a Penguin.
Season ticket packages for Wilkes-Barre/Scranton’s 20th season, including full season, 22-game, 12-game and Flexbook plans, are available by contacting the Penguins directly at (570) 208-7367. For more info on season ticket packages, fill in the form below, and a Penguins representative will contact you directly.
Sam Miletic scored a lot of goals the season before the Pittsburgh Penguins signed him as an undrafted free agent. Sam Miletic scored even more goals the season after the Pittsburgh Penguins signed him as an undrafted free agent.
His impressive offensive figures and all-around demeanor have Penguins brass extremely excited for what he can bring to the table.
“The biggest thing with Sam is his attention to detail,” said Penguins development coach Jarrod Skalde. “He already looks like a pro. He conducts himself like a pro. You can see how he pays attention on the ice to all the little things.”
In typical hockey fashion, Miletic credits his offense to playing with quality teammates in both London and Niagara, but don’t let his soft-spoken humbleness mislead you into thinking he’s shy on talent. His shot explodes off his stick and packs a mighty punch. He’s also shown a willingness to drive to the front of the net with or without the puck.
As his skills developed and his scoring touch blossomed as an undrafted free agent in the Ontario Hockey League, Miletic became a prospect that Pittsburgh couldn’t ignore any more.
“We were so impressed with him last year, that’s why we signed him to the entry-level deal,” Skalde added. “We’re really excited to have him. He seems like a guy that’s already pro-ready.”
Miletic happily accepts any compliments that Skalde, reporters or fans will give him, but he’s always quick to try and deflect accolades to his teammates. That being said, he has no interest in taking a back seat to anyone at this year’s training camp. He’s determined to make coaches and anyone else notice him, one way or another.
“[Pittsburgh] seems to appreciate guys that work hard,” Miletic. “So I’m going to come into the season with that mindset, just like last year, and control what I can control.”
The Penguins have signed four players to one-year, two-way contracts, it was announced today by executive vice president and general manager Jim Rutherford.
The Penguins concluded their 2018 Development Camp with a three-on-three scrimmage tournament. Nick Hart was on hand to take in the festivities which were played in front of a capacity crowd at the UPMC Lemieux Sports Complex in Cranberry, Pennsylvania.
First things first, this was a rather quick event. The tournament consisted of only three games: Two teams played one another at the same time, then to two victors faced off in the “Final”. The games were played with two 14-minute halves instead of three periods, and, of course, every second was played at three-on-three.
The four teams involved looked like this…
I decided to go over to the side of the ice that featured Team Maatta vs. Team Dumoulin. I wanted to see a team that had Linus Ölund, Niclas Almari and recent draft pick Calen Addison in action, plus there was no way I was going to miss Tom Kostopoulos’ debut behind the bench.
• There’s good flow to this game. Not a lot of stoppages from the goalies. Both teams looking for home run passes.
• Kostopoulos is on the Team Dumoulin side of things, but his opposing coach, Jarrod Skalde, is getting some unexpected help. Next to him is Kasper Björkqvist, another highly-touted Penguins prospect who was held out of development camp drills due to a minor injury.
• There are scoring chances aplenty, but no goals until the two squads score in quick succession. It’s 1-1 midway through the first half.
• Controversy! Niclas Almari appears to tuck a nasty backhand breakaway goal, off the back bar and out, but the referee waves it off. Almari can’t believe it. This may have been your turning point in the game, at least, that’s what Coach Björkqvist was saying later in the night.
• Team Dumoulin gets a goal before the half, but Jan Drozg takes over early in the second. He’s making great individual efforts to set up chance after chance. Eventually, Will MacKinnon scores on a nasty backhand roof job. This one counts, and it’s 3-1, Team Dumoulin.
• Ölund has been a stand-out at camp all week. It’s been a little bit harder for him to make his presence felt in three-on-three, since he doesn’t have the puck on his stick at all times and its harder to show off his well-rounded game with all the open ice. Still, I think Wilkes-Barre/Scranton fans should be excited to see this young man get to work this season.
• Drozg almost scores, but quickly gathers his rebound and throws it in front for Connor Roberts to finish the job. 4-1, Team Dumoulin.
• With time dwindling down and down by three goals, Skalde pulls his goalie for an extra attacker with about four minutes left in the game. Bold strategy, Cotton. Let’s see if it pays off.
• Addison just had a surgical breakout pass to create a breakaway for his team late, but it doesn’t amount to a goal. Team Maatta can’t muster the goals for an equalizer and Kostopoulos’ Team Dumoulin gets the “W”.
• Made it over to the other side of the UPMC Lemieux Sports Complex to see Alex D’Orio perform highway robbery on Will Reilly. D’Orio went post-to-post, then back again with his chest up the whole time to make the save look far too easy.
• Team Murray dispatches of Team Guentzel, 8-4.
TEAM DUMOULIN vs. TEAM MURRAY FINAL
• Right from the get-go, Team Dumoulin gets a two-on-one and D’Orio makes a snazzy glove save.
• Man, D’Orio remains busy early. Makes a breakaway save on Renārs Kranstenbergs only to see Krastenbergs fish the rebound out of the corner and deliver a pass to MacKinnon for the Final’s first goal. MacKinnon, a defenseman, continues to go to the net-front and get rewarded for it. 1-0, Team Dumoulin.
• Team Murray trying to turn the tide with its first solid possession of the game. Clayton Phillips set-up nicely, but can’t tickle the twine.
• D’Orio is locked in.
• Eight minutes are left in the first half, and it’s still 1-0, Tom Kostopoulos and Team Dumoulin.
• Big save by D’Orio at one end leads to a goal for Justin Almeida for a tie game. Less than a minute later, Casey Dornbach blows past the defense and splits the wickets to give Team Murray the 2-1 advantage! Not long after, Lewis Zerter-Gossage buries one in a wide-open net. My, oh, my how things have turned. Team Murray goes up 3-1 with four minutes left in the half.
• Almeida has been impressive this week. Wide open three-on-three hockey is doing nothing to conceal his skillset, either.
• Sam Miletic sets up Krastenbergs to give Team Dumoulin some life late in the half, but Team Murray trots right down the ice and gets it right back. 4-2, Team Murray.
HALFTIME THOUGHTS: D’Orio, good. Aleida, good. Miletic, driving play for his team, making some power moves to the front of the net, but hasn’t managed to score in this one.
• It’s quiet.
• Too quiet
• Five minutes go by without much action before Team Dumoulin pulls within one thanks to Jon Lizotte grinding away at the front of the net.
• Nevermind. Team Murray answers quickly again. Harvard’s Zerter-Gossage for the second time tonight, and he gives an animated celebration. 5-3, Team Murray.
• D’Orio is human after all. A little leaker gets past him, and Kostopoulos’ Team Dumoulin has pulled within one with 4:31 left in the second half.
• What’s the best time to pull the goalie when the game is played three-on-three? One minute left? Two minutes? Sooner? Earlier, we saw Team Maatta totally dominate possession with the goalie pulled and skating with a four-on-three advantage. They just didn’t get anything to show for it. Four-on-three gives you a lot more ice to work with then a standard six-on-five extra-attacker situation… I’ll let you contemplate that answer for yourself.
• Before Kostopoulos can pull the goalie, Jeff Malott dances around the O-zone and rips one in. 6-4, Team Murray.
• Now Team Dumoulin gets the extra attacker on with 1:32 left. Too little too late? A lot of really close calls, but no cigar.
• Zerter-Gossage completes the hat trick and brings the game to a 7-4 decision, a championship victory for Team Murray. Clark Donatelli comes out onto the ice with a championship trophy for Zerter-Gossage and co.
The Pittsburgh Penguins have re-signed forward Jean-Sebastien Dea 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.
Dea, 24, saw five NHL games in the 2017-18 regular season with the Penguins, scoring his first career NHL goal on Jan. 23 at PPG Paints Arena against Carolina. His tally went on to be the game-winner. Dea’s NHL debut came the in the Pens’ final regular-season game of the 2016-17 season, on Apr. 9, 2017 at Madison Square Garden against the Rangers, where he logged a career-high 11:18 minutes.
The 5-foot-11, 175-pound native of Laval, Quebec set career highs in assists (32) and points (50) in 70 contests in his fourth season with Wilkes-Barre/Scranton last year, finishing second on the team behind only Daniel Sprong, who led the team in both categories. Dea’s 18 goals tied for the second-highest total of his career. Dea had one assist in three postseason games with the WBS Penguins last year.
Dea has totaled 141 points (66G-75A) in 262 regular-season contests over his four seasons with the WBS Penguins. He has four points (2G-2A) in 22 postseason games with the team.
Dea had 192 points (111G-81A) over three seasons with the Rouyn-Noranda Huskies of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League before going undrafted. The Penguins originally signed Dea as a free agent on Sept. 17, 2013.
Alex D’Orio experienced a baptism by fire this past season with the Saint John Sea Dogs. The reigning Québec Major Junior Hockey League champions had their talent pool pillaged by pro graduation and trades. D’Orio no longer had the security blankets of Thomas Chabot, Jakub Zbořil and Simon Bourque playing in front of him, so he faced a ton of shots on a nightly basis.
Imagine what you think qualifies as “a lot of shots”, and then add even more shots on top of that.
“I had sixty saves in sixty minutes,” D’Orio said, recalling a grueling contest on March 4 against the eventual Memorial Cup winners, Acadie-Bathurst Titan. “That’s a game I’m going to remember for a lifetime.”
That’s not cherry-picking one game where the floodgates opened in front of D’Orio, either. There were 15 different instances this season in which Saint John surrendered 40 or more shots while D’Orio was between the pipes. The then-18-year-old goaltender led the QMJHL in shots faced with 1651 (an average of 37.5 per game), and his 1478 saves topped league goaltenders, as well (33.6 per game). However, his save percentage finished below .900 and he only won nine games.
Despite the dramatic drop in his statistics from his draft year to last season, both D’Orio and the Penguins are taking his heavy workload as a blessing in disguise, perhaps even fast-tracking his development.
“It’s part of the junior process being part of a rebuilding team,” D’Orio said. “I received a lot of shots. I learned a lot this year. This year, I learned how to be a starter and how to receive shots… [I learned to] never stop competing. That’s a big thing.”
Goaltending Development Coach Andy Chiodo knows a thing or two about being peppered with shots from his time a professional netminder for 14 seasons. He knows the value of a young goalie getting the kind of experience D’Orio had in Saint John this past year.
“It’s all about how you react to that,” Chiodo said. “If you take it in a way where you improve your game, try to get better, make sure you can handle that workload night in and night out, and whether you get scored on or lose the game, your mindset stays where you’re trying to help your team get better and not get frustrated. Then it can serve you well. If you get frustrated, it wears on you and you start internalizing the losses.
“[D’Orio] has to handle that the right way. For the most part, it sounds like he did.”
It may only be June, but Linus Ölund could be sending a message for what’s to come next season.
Ölund was one of the stand-outs during the first ice session at the Pittsburgh Penguins 2018 Development Camp at the UPMC Lemieux Sports Complex in Cranberry, Pennsylvania. Ölund tormented the Group A goalies by picking the top corner time and time again in every single drill the Penguins prospects partook in on Wednesday. His release was hard and heavy in addition to its accuracy, and he flashed some skill in puckhandling drills, as well.
The Swedish forward certainly passed the eye test in practice, but things might not come as easy once he has to make a big adjustment in-season. Ölund has spent his whole life playing on the expanded ice surface in European rinks. Expected to start the 2018-19 campaign with Wilkes-Barre/Scranton, this season will be his first stab at trying to make his game translate to the smaller North American ice surface.
“I don’t think it’s going to be too hard,” Ölund said with some bravado in his tone. “Of course it’s going to take a few games to get to know the ice, but I’m going to use my head a lot when I play.”
Perhaps Ölund’s confidence carried over from his homeland’s surprising showing at the 2018 FIFA World Cup. Before Ölund took the ice in Cranberry, he and his fellow countrymen at development camp watched Sweden dispatch of Mexico, 3-0, and win their group to advance to the knockout stage for the first time since 2006.
Understandably, the 21-year-old was a little excited by the result.
“We were jumping up and down,” he said. “I wouldn’t think they would go out and get this kind of results, but they kicked out Italy in (qualification) playoffs. Yeah, I’m really happy.”
Sweden’s performance has been fun viewing for fans of all countries, but if Ölund can adjust to North American hockey and play as impressively as he did at the first day of development camp, he should be a joy to watch this season, too.
Fans, you helped us figure out the top Military Jersey in Penguins history recently (congrats to the 2011 sweater pictured to the right). Now we’re looking for your help in selecting the best home or road sweater we’ve worn throughout the years.
There have been 10 different jerseys that have been considered ‘primary’ uniforms for the team over the years. This is your chance to let us know which one is your favorite.
Preliminary round voting featuring four sweaters (1999 black vs 2007 white; 2007 black vs 2013 white) will get underway on Thursday, June 28 at 10am, and run for 24 hours. Then, on Friday, June 29 at 10:00am, quarterfinals voting featuring the preliminary round winners, as well as the remaining six jerseys, will get underway.
We’ll take the weekend off, and return to action on Monday, July 2 with final four voting, and the overall winner will be decided in a head-to-head matchup culminating on July 3.
To participate, just head on over to our Facebook page, beginning at 10am on Thursday, Friday, Monday and Tuesday. Cast your vote in each of the daily polls (remember – there will be multiple polls on three of those days, so vote in them all) and check back to see who advances the next morning.
The Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins 20th season home opener is set for Saturday, October 6 at the Mohegan Sun Arena at Casey Plaza. The team’s full schedule will be announced in the near future.
Season tickets, including full season, 22-game, 12-game and flex packages, are on sale now, and available by calling the Penguins at 570-208-7367. For more information, fill in and submit the form at the bottom of this page.
Join current Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins forward Pat McGrath for a two-day minicamp at the Toyota SportsPlex on Thursday, June 28 and Friday, June 29. Hone your skills with the first local-born player in Penguins history! For more information and registration CLICK HERE!
The Toyota SportsPlex has many other great programs and classes forming this summer, including:
Youth Learn to Skate – For all ages. Session begins Friday, July 13th and runs through Friday, August 31st. Classes are Friday evenings from 6:20pm to 7:20pm (There will be no class August 3rd). For more information and registration CLICK HERE!
Youth Learn to Play – For ages 16 and younger. Session begins Saturday, July 14th and runs through Saturday, September 1st . Classes are Saturday mornings from 8:00am to 9:00am.(There will be no class August 4th). For more information and registration CLICK HERE!
Adult Skills-n-Drills – For ages 16 and up. Session begins Monday, July 9th and runs through Monday, August 27th. Classes will be held from 8:00 to 9:00pm unless otherwise noted. For more information and registration CLICK HERE!