Based on the way Thomas Di Pauli’s first season as a pro went last year, it’d be easy to think he spent most of his days spilling salt over broken mirrors underneath a ladder with a black cat. It was a rather unfortunate year to say the least, one riddled with injuries.

First it was a knee ailment suffered during training camp. Then once he got healthy, a nagging issue in his back required surgery to fix. That ultimately sidelined him for three whole months. Finally, a slash cut him right back down with a broken finger that ended his season for good. After all of that, the promising two-way forward was limited to just 21 games.

Bad luck like that would give anyone a good reason to mope around and curse the heavens, but at the recent Prospects Challenge in Buffalo, New York, not even the Karate Kid could wax the smile off of Di Pauli’s face.

Grinning ear-to-ear after every game, the Italian-born 23-year-old couldn’t contain his excitement when talking about his healthy status. By the time the tournament was over, Di Pauli had one word to describe how he felt.


“I feel strong, I feel fast, and I feel confidence,” Di Pauli said following the Penguins prospects’ title-clinching game against the Buffalo Sabres. “I guess I’m going to keep having fun, because right now the hockey is flowing and it’s been so fun to play.”

Di Pauli spent most of his summer altering his training regimen and his diet. Di Pauli cited the time he spent observing Penguins veterans like Tom Kostopoulos as a huge inspiration for him when he was sidelined, and for good reason. Not only does Kostopoulos still produce offense in his late 30’s, but he’s only missed one game due to injury over the past two seasons.

Di Pauli hasn’t altered his eating habits to completely mirror the gluten-free lifestyle of his captain, but he is now a pescetarian. In the gym, he’s placed an added emphasis on flexibility and mobility over strength, attempting to ensure that his body can better handle the rigors of pro hockey.

Everything the oft-injured rookie changed from last year to now is a direct result of his misfortune.

“I learned from it,” he said. “I had the whole summer to regroup and focus on this year. I’m a firm believer that when things like that happen, it can make you stronger. I’m trying to look at it as a positive.”

The changes he’s made off the ice appear to be already translating to his on-ice performance, as well.

“Now [Di Pauli]’s healthy, and you can see the difference,” said Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins head coach Clark Donatelli. “You can see he’s got more jump. He’s a little bit quicker, and he’s a quick player to begin with.”

With his health in check, Di Pauli has his sights set on making a big impact with the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins. Technically, because he was robbed of so many games last year due to all of his miscellaneous setbacks, he still qualifies as a rookie by American Hockey League standards. That puts him right in the mix with Wilkes-Barre/Scranton’s expected and anticipated rookie class, including Zach Aston-Reese, Daniel Sprong and Adam Johnson.

Despite being existing in a crowded field not only of rookies, but the Penguins organization’s overall depth chart at forward, a healthy Thomas Di Pauli has his sights set on reaching the NHL. Soon.

“I know the player I am and I’ve always known the player I can be,” Di Pauli said. “I won’t be surprised if I’m playing [in Pittsburgh] sooner rather than later. I know I can make that jump. So I’m going to keep hammering away, paying my dues and having fun, because I’m confident that I can play there.”

2017-18 Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins Season Ticket Information


Jeff Taylor will be among the players who suited up for the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins participating in the 2017 Prospects Challenge in Buffalo

Daniel Sprong and Zach Aston-Reese headline the 24-man roster (full roster and player bios) that the Pittsburgh Penguins will send to participate in the 2017 Prospects Challenge held at the HarborCenter in Buffalo, New York from September 8-11.

This year, the Penguins will compete against rookies from the host Buffalo Sabres, the New Jersey Devils and the Boston Bruins. This is Pittsburgh’s first year competing in Buffalo after several years participating in a rookie tournament in London, Ontario.

Pittsburgh will play in the opening game of the Prospects Challenge on Friday, September 8 at 3:30 PM. The Penguins will also play on Saturday, September 9 at 3:30 PM against New Jersey, before concluding with a night contest against the Sabres on Monday, September 11 at 7:00 PM.

All three games will be broadcast live on with Josh Getzoff handling play-by-play duties. Michelle Crechiolo and the Pens’ social media team will be on hand to provide coverage all weekend.

Prior to departing for Buffalo, the Penguins prospects will practice on Thursday, September 7 at 10:30 AM at the UPMC Lemieux Sports Complex in Cranberry, Pa. Players, coaches and members of the development staff will be available to the media immediately following practice.

During the Prospects Challenge, Wilkes-Barre/Scranton head coach Clark Donatelli will be behind the bench for the Penguins, alongside his assistants, J.D. Forrest and Tim Army.

Sprong, 20, who skated in 18 NHL regular-season games for the Penguins as an 18 year old in 2015-16, has been a member of Pittsburgh’s ‘Black Aces’ taxi squad during the back-to-back Stanley Cup runs. Back in 2015, Sprong used a strong rookie tournament in London, Ontario to eventually make the NHL roster out of training camp, before returning to his junior club in Charlottetown of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League.

Last year, Sprong’s season was delayed by offseason shoulder surgery, but when he returned to the ice, he was one of the most dominant skaters in the QMJHL. In just 31 games with Charlottetown, he produced 32 goals and 59 points, including four hat tricks and a four-goal game.

Aston-Reese, 23, joined the Pittsburgh organization as an undrafted free agent from Northeastern after leading the NCAA in goals (31) and points (63) in 2016-17. In a brief late-season cameo with WBS, Aston-Reese scored three goals and eight points in 10 games.

Here are some tidbits on the remainder of Pittsburgh’s Prospects Challenge roster:

*Five more players in addition to Sprong and Aston-Reese – defensemen Lukas Bengtsson, Ethan Prow and Jeff Taylor; and forwards Teddy Blueger and Thomas Di Pauli – are prospects signed to NHL contracts that have also logged action with WBS.

*Rookie free agent forward Adam Johnson, who inked an entry-level deal with Pittsburgh following a strong showing at the team’s annual prospect development camp in July, will compete in his first game action in a Penguins jersey. Johnson was second on Minnesota-Duluth in goals (18) and points (37) as a sophomore last year.

*Three members of the Penguins’ 2017 draft class will suit up, including top pick Zachary Lauzon. The 18-year-old defenseman was chosen by the Penguins in the second round (51st overall). He will be joined by forward Jan Drozg, a fifth-round (152nd overall) pick, and fellow blueliner Antti Palojarvi, who was selected in the sixth round (186th overall).

*Freddie Tiffels, a 22-year-old 2015 sixth-round (167thoverall) draft pick, will be joining Johnson in seeing his first game action with Pittsburgh following a three-year collegiate career at Western Michigan.

*Of the 24 players attending the Prospects Challenge, 17 attended Pittsburgh’s prospect development camp in July.

Pittsburgh Penguins’ 2017 Prospects Challenge Schedule

Thursday, September 7

10:30 AM – Practice at the UPMC Lemieux Sports Complex

Friday, September 8

9:00 AM – Morning Skate (KeyBank Rink)

3:30 PM – Game vs. Boston (Kaybank Rink)

Saturday, September 9

9:00 AM – Morning Skate (New Wave Energy Rink)

3:30 PM – Game vs. New Jersey (KeyBank Rink)

Monday, September 11

11:00 AM – Morning Skate (New Wave Energy Rink)

7:00 PM – Game vs. Buffalo (KeyBank Rink)

2017-18 Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins Season Ticket Information



It’s been more than three months since Thomas Di Pauli last laced up his skates in a game for the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins.  So you could forgive the first-year forward if he was a little reticent at practice on Friday morning.

“Keep it simple here,” laughed Di Pauli.  “I’ve been out of commission for a while.”

The thing is, Di Pauli wasn’t talking about his skating or stick handling being rusty.  Rather he was cautioning the assembled media members who had gathered to pepper him with questions on his imminent return to the lineup.

It’s been a frustrating start to a career for the 22-year old Di Pauli.  The highly-touted scorer out of Notre Dame signed as a free agent with the Pittsburgh Penguins over the summer, and figured to be a big part of the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton offense headed into the 2016-17 season.  But a back injury in training camp delayed his pro debut for nearly a month, and he appeared in just eight games before suffering a lower body injury on November 26 against Bridgeport.


Di Pauli rejoined his teammates at practice this week, and is a good bet to see his first action of the new year Saturday night when the Penguins travel to face the Hershey Bears.


“Obviously these three, couple of months have been pretty hard.  But I’ve worked hard…to get back as soon as possible,” he said after practice at the Toyota SportsPlex this morning.  “I feel great out there.  It’s nice to be back out there, full contact, skating around with the guys.”


The re-introduction of Di Pauli to the Penguins lineup is just as good as – if not better than – the Penguins acquiring a forward at the trade deadline according to head coach Clark Donatelli.

“We’re glad to get a fresh pair of legs in the lineup,” said Donatelli.  “He was playing well when he got hurt.

“He’s an energy guy, he can kill penalties.  He’s really hard on pucks.  So we’re expecting him to go out there and play like he was playing before. He can bring some energy, get in on offense.”

Di Pauli, who was skating on a line with Oskar Sundqvist and Josh Archibald at practice Friday, also said he has a bit of a chip on his shoulder after missing so much time this season.

“I’m definitely going to be out there to try to prove something, to management, to the team, to some of the guys.  I mean, a lot of these guys have been playing hockey, pro hockey, for a lot of years,” he said.  “This is my first year, so I feel like I have to prove something to the team that has been playing so well while I’ve been out.”

NOTES:  Frank Corrado, acquired by the Penguins at the trade deadline from the Toronto Maple Leafs, has yet to arrive in Wilkes-Barre due to immigration issues.  Donatelli was waiting to hear about the defenseman’s status as of noon on Friday.  If his paperwork isn’t approved this weekend, he could make his Penguins debut during the team’s three-game homestand next week.

“I hear good things [about Corrado],” Donatelli said.  “He’s a right side defenseman, he moves the puck.  He should fit in well with our style of play.

“We think he’s going to help us.”

Wilkes-Barre/Scranton’s next game is Saturday, Mar. 4, and it will take on the Hershey Bears at Giant Center. Puck drop between the Penguins and Bears is scheduled for 7:00 p.m. Wilkes-Barre/Scranton’s next home game is Wednesday, Mar. 8, and its opponent will be the Lehigh Valley Phantoms.

Individual game tickets for Mar. 8’s game and all Penguins home games are available at the Mohegan Sun Arena at Casey Plaza box office, online at, or by calling 800-745-3000.

Penguins ticket packages, including 12-game, and 10-voucher flex packs, are available directly through the Penguins offices by calling (570) 208-7367.


Frank Corrado was acquired from Toronto on March 1.

The National Hockey League trade deadline has come and gone, and a handful of moves made by the Pittsburgh Penguins could pay dividends in Wilkes-Barre.

Pittsburgh made a pair of trades on Wednesday afternoon, acquiring Mark Street from the Tampa Bay Lightning for a fourth round draft pick in 2018, and sending Eric Fehr, Steve Oleksy and 2017 fourth round pick to the Toronto Maple Leafs for defenseman Fran Corrado.

Corrado, a 23-year old puck-moving blueliner, was immediately assigned to Wilkes-Barre/Scranton, giving the AHL Penguins another offensive threat.

Pittsburgh also reassigned defenseman Cameron Gaunce to Wilkes-Barre/Scranton, who has 13 points and a plus-15 rating in 47 games with the AHL club this season.

Additionally, Pittsburgh made a series of ‘paper transactions’ at the deadline, reassigning Carter Rowney, Jake Guentzel, and Derrick Pouliot to Wilkes-Barre and quickly recalling them.  Those moves make that trio eligible to suit up for the AHL Penguins during the remainder of the regular season and the 2017 Calder Cup Playoffs.

Those reinforcements could prove significant in the long run, as could the imminent returns of a pair of Penguins skaters.

Forward Thomas Di Pauli appeared in just eight games at the start of the season before suffering a long-term injury on November 26.  the highly-touted scorer out of Notre Dame has been practicing with Wilkes-Barre/Scranton this week, and could return to game action as soon as this weekend.

And Garrett Wilson was in the midst of a career-year when he suffered an upper body injury against the Lehigh Valley Phantoms on Valentine’s Day.  His return seems to be a little further away, but add his double-digit goal scoring into an already formidable lineup, and the Penguins could receive a late-season infusion of offense.

Wilkes-Barre/Scranton’s next game is Saturday, Mar. 4, and it will take on the Hershey Bears at Giant Center. Puck drop between the Penguins and Bears is scheduled for 7:00 p.m. Wilkes-Barre/Scranton’s next home game is Wednesday, Mar. 8, and its opponent will be the Lehigh Valley Phantoms.

Individual game tickets for Mar. 8’s game and all Penguins home games are available at the Mohegan Sun Arena at Casey Plaza box office, online at, or by calling 800-745-3000.

Penguins ticket packages, including 12-game, and 10-voucher flex packs, are available directly through the Penguins offices by calling (570) 208-7367.





ALLENTOWN, Pa. – The PPL Center has been a home away from home for the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins since the building opened its doors a little over two years ago, but they couldn’t find the same road magic on Wednesday night in a 4-1 loss to the Lehigh Valley Phantoms.

It was just the second regulation loss that Wilkes-Barre/Scranton suffered in 13 all-time visits to PPL Center. The loss dropped the Penguins to 10-3-1-0 on the season and extended the Phantoms’ (9-3-1-0) current winning streak to seven games.

The first period concluded in a scoreless tie, thanks in large part to the stellar performance of Penguins goalie Tristan Jarry. Jarry turned aside 16 shots in the opening frame, including one on Scott Laughton from point-blank range.

With the puck loose amidst a net-front scramble, Thomas Di Pauli went diving to the ice to jam it across the goal line. The goal was Di Pauli’s first as a pro and put the Penguins up 1-0 2:23 into the second period.

The Phantoms answered back when Danick Martel beat out an icing call and set up a tic-tac-toe passing play that finished with Corban Knight banging in a rebound at 17:29 of the middle frame.

Lehigh Valley ended up with three consecutive goals in the third period to end up with the win, starting with Greg Carey knocking in a loose puck at 5:57 for a 2-1 Phantoms lead. Fifty-four seconds later, a fortuitous bounce put the puck right on Taylor Leier’s stick around the crease, who lifted it into the top of the Penguins’ net, making it 3-1. A long-range empty net goal by T.J. Brennan with 25.5 seconds left in the contest sealed the 4-1 victory for Lehigh Valley .

Jarry finished the game having made 32 saves. It took until Lehigh Valley’s 28th shot for Jarry to allow his first of the night. Alex Lyon successfully fended off 30 shots in the win for the Phantoms.

The Penguins’ next game is Friday, Nov. 18 when they play host to the Bridgeport Sound Tigers. Individual game tickets for Friday night’s game, and all Penguins home games, are available at the Mohegan Sun Arena box office, online at, or by calling 800-745-3000.

Season ticket packages for the 2016-17 season of Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins hockey, including full season22-game12-game and Flexbook plans, are available by contacting the Penguins directly at (570) 208-7367.


It was a minor coup when the Pittsburgh Penguins signed free agent forward Thomas Di Pauli this past August.  Some of that had to do with Di Pauli originally being drafted by Pittsburgh’s arch rivals, the Washington Capitals, back in 2012.  But Di Pauli’s impressive NCAA stats over the past two seasons at Notre Dame (a combined 22+39=61 in 78 games for the Irish).

Penguins fans were eager to see the speedy center in action as the curtain lifted on the 2016-17 season.  But a lower body injury suffered in Pittsburgh’s training camp delayed the start of Di Pauli’s pro career until this past weekend.

The Italian-born forward made his Wilkes-Barre/Scranton debut in the team’s Friday night contest against the Toronto Marlies, and also suited up on Sunday in Hartford.  He didn’t record a point in either of those games, but head coach Clark Donatelli was still happy with his performance, and his potential.

“He’s going to bring energy, he can play top six,” Donatelli said after Tuesday’s practice at the Toyota SportsPlex.  “Right now we have him playing with [Oskar Sundqvist], he’s going to be a penalty killer, bring energy.  He’s got a really good stick, he’s going to get a handful of goals also.”

For his part, Di Pauli was just happy to get into a game situation and begin the acclimation process to the pro game.

“You’ve got to come back and feel it out first before you go full speed,” he stated. “These past couple of games definitely were nice to get that under my belt.

“The most important thing to get to where I want to be is practice at full speed.  I think that’s going to be big.  That’s going to help me transition into playing at full speed during the game, instead of coasting and waiting for pucks.”

The Penguins return home on Friday night to host the Bridgeport Sound Tigers at 7:05pm.  Tickets for Friday night’s game are available at the Mohegan Sun Arena box office, online at or by calling 800-745-3000.

Penguins ticket packages, including 22-game12-game, and 10-voucher flex packs, are available directly through the Penguins offices by calling 570-208-7367.

PREVIEW: Sound Tigers vs Penguins – November 18, 2016

The Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins return home to host the Bridgeport Sound Tigers on Friday night, November 18. This is the second meeting between the club’s this season, after the Penguins picked up a 7-1 win in Connecticut on November 5. The two clubs will square off in a home-and-home series to close out November, facing off in Bridgeport on Friday, November 25, and returning to northeast Pennsylvania on Saturday, November 26.

DATE:  Friday, November 18, 2016
TIME:  7:05pm
PLACE:  Mohegan Sun Arena
LISTEN:  WILK News Radio (103.1) |
GIVEAWAY:  December Schedule Magnet Featuring Jake Guentzel
POSTGAME AUTOGRAPHS:  Tristan Jarry and Reid Gardiner (approximately 15 minutes after the game ends)


RECORD 8-4-0-0 (16 pts) | Third in Atlantic Division


GOALS  Bracken Kearns & Michael Dal Colle 7
ASSISTS  Bracken Keanrs 7
POINTS  Bracken Kearns 12
PIM  Kyle Burroughs 34
WINS  Christopher Gibson 6
GAA  Christopher Gibson 2.52

WHO’S HOT:  Goaltender Christopher Gibson is a perfect 6-0-0 in seven games played this season. After winning his first six contests to start the season, Gibson made a relief appearance against the Penguins on November 5, allowing two goals in the final period of a 7-1 loss. He missed last weekend’s action due to injury, but could make an appearance this weekend as the Sound Tigers play a three-in-three starting Friday night.

NEWS AND NOTES:The Sound Tigers are perfect when a game goes past regulation, winning once in overtime this season (Nov. 4, 5-4 at Hartford) before winning back-to-back road shootouts this past weekend against Syracuse (3-2) and Hershey (4-3)…The Sound Tigers have the best road record in the league at 5-1-0-0 (10 pts, .833 win percentage)


RECORD  10-3-1-0 (21 pts) | First in Atlantic Division


GOALS  Jake Guentzel  6
ASSISTS  Jake Guentzel & Carter Rowney  7
POINTS  Jake Guentzel  13
PIM  Patrick McGrath  37
WINS  Tristan Jarry  6
GAA  Casey DeSmith  1.00

WHO’S HOT:  Oskar Sundqvist has four points (1+3) in his past three games, and has points in seven of the past eight Penguins contests (4+5=9). His five goals through 14 games this season already equals his total in 41 games for Wilkes-Barre/Scranton last year.

NEWS AND NOTES:  Thomas DiPauli recorded his first professional goal in the Penguins 4-1 loss to the Lehigh Valley Phantoms on Wednesday night…The Penguins are undefeated (3-0) in games following a loss this season…Wilkes-Barre/Scranton has allowed a league-low 24 goals through 14 games this season…Casey DeSmith continues to lead the AHL in goals against average (1.00) and save percentage (.963)…Tristan Jarry is fifth in the league with a 1.88 goals against average, and sixth with a .932 save percentage…Jake Guentzel is tied for first among rookies with six goals and second with 13 points…The Penguins continue to lead the league with a 91.1% penalty kill rate (5 goals in 56 times shorthanded)

Individual game tickets for Friday night’s game, and all Penguins home games, are available at the Mohegan Sun Arena box office, online at, or by calling 800-745-3000.

Season ticket packages for the 2016-17 season of Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins hockey, including full season22-game12-game and Flexbook plans, are available by contacting the Penguins directly at (570) 208-7367.




Penguins still atop the AHL, first team to 10 wins

 Wilkes-Barre/Scranton (10-2-1-0) proves its mettle with bounce-back performances


Weekly Rewind

Friday, Nov. 11 – PENGUINS 0 vs. Toronto 3

In a showdown of the Eastern Conference’s top two teams, Toronto shut-out Wilkes-Barre/Scranton for just its second regulation loss of the season. Thomas Di Pauli made his pro debut for the Penguins.

Saturday, Nov. 12 – PENGUINS 3 vs. Providence 1

The Penguins bounced back from their Friday night loss with a gritty victory over the Bruins in which they spread their scoring over all three periods. Casey DeSmith made 28 saves between the pipes, improving his personal record to 4-0-0.

Sunday, Nov. 13 – PENGUINS 4 at Hartford 1

An excellent start stunned the Wolf Pack, as Wilkes-Barre/Scranton scored three times in the first period. Dominik Simon and David Warsofsky both scored power play goals for the Pens, and Ryan Haggerty potted his first with the black and gold. Lukas Bengtsson made his AHL debut.


The Week Ahead

Wednesday, Nov. 16 – PENGUINS vs. Lehigh Valley

The Penguins take on their PA rival for the first time this season. The Phantoms come into the contest on a six-game win streak. Wilkes-Barre/Scranton won the 2015-16 season series, 7-4-1-1, and is also 9-1-1-1 all-time at PPL Center.

Friday, Nov. 18 – PENGUINS vs. Bridgeport

Bridgeport comes to Mohegan Sun Arena at Casey Plaza for their first visit this season. The Sound Tigers have found back-to-back shootout wins since losing 7-1 to the Pens on Nov. 5.

Saturday, Nov. 19 – PENGUINS at Hershey

Giant Center hosts the Penguins-Bears rivalry for the second time this season. In their previous meeting this season, the Pens triumphed in overtime on a Dominik Simon penalty shot.

Ice Chips– The Penguins hold first place in the AHL and became the first team in the league to earn its 10th win with Sunday’s victory.

– Wilkes-Barre/Scranton’s power play ranks as the league’s best, clicking at 90.6%.

– Jake Guentzel is tied for the AHL’s rookie lead in goals (6) and stands atop the entire league in plus-minus (+12).

– Rookie Casey DeSmith’s .962 save percentage and 1.00 goals against average rank first among all AHL goaltenders.

– Rookie Reid Gardiner has goals in three of his last four games.

– Kevin Porter’s next game with be his 300th in the AHL.

– Ryan Haggerty is on a three-game point streak (1G-2A).



TEAM                        GP       W         L        OTL     SOL     PTS         Pt%

1. PENGUINS           13         10         2          1          0         21          .808

2. Lehigh Valley        12         8          3          1          0          17          .708

3. Bridgeport             12         8          4          0         0          16         .667

4. Springfield             13         7          5          1          0          15          .577

5. Hershey                  13         6          4          2          1          15          .577

6. Providence            13         4          6          2          1          11           .423

7. Hartford                 13         3          8          2          0          8           .308



SKATERS                    GP         G         A        PTS

Jake Guentzel*            13          6          7         13

Carter Rowney            13         3          7         10

Oskar Sundqvist          12         5         4          9

Kevin Porter                 11           4          5          9

Tom Kostopoulos        13         4          4          8

Chad Ruhwedel           13         2          6          8


GOALIES                  GP     W-L-OT      GAA        Sv%     Shutouts

Casey DeSmith*      4         4-0-0       1.00        0.963          0

Tristan Jarry               9         6-2-1         1.76         0.935          0


* = rookie

^ = currently with Pittsburgh



DATE                 OPPONENT     LOCATION                         TIME      

Wed, Nov. 16  Lehigh Valley    PPL Center                        7:05 p.m.

Fri, Nov. 18      Bridgeport         Mohegan Sun Arena       7:05 p.m.

Sat, Nov. 19     Hershey             Giant Center                     7:00 p.m.



Wed, Nov. 9    ADD   (D) Chad Ruhwedel           Reassigned by PIT

Wed, Nov. 9    DEL     (LW) Tom Sestito                   Recalled by PIT

Thu, Nov. 10    ADD   (D) Lukas Bengtsson             Assigned by PIT

Thu, Nov. 10    ADD   (D) Thomas Di Pauli               Assigned by PIT


Injuries in Pittsburgh can often have a trickle down effect on the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins.  And with AHL training camp only two days old, that already seems to be the case.

The NHL Penguins announced that forwards Teddy Blueger and Thomas Di Pauli are both currently sidelined with lower body injuries that figure to keep them out of the lineup for 6-8 weeks each.

Blunger, Pittsburgh’s second round pick in the 2012 draft, made his pro debut with Wilkes-Barre/Scranton last season, appearing in 20 total games (10 regular season and 10 playoff games) after finishing his college career at Minnesota State – Mankato.

Another 2012 draftee, Di Pauli finished his senior year at Notre Dame with a team-high 14 goals last season.  His professional debut will be put on hold now.

“It’s a tough break for those guys,” Wilkes-Barre/Scranton head coach Clark Donatelli said.  “Blueger came in and did an excellent job, he’s having a really good camp.  And DiPauli played really well in rookie camp and he was making an impression.

“But that’s hockey.  They’re out, I think they said about six weeks or so.  We can’t control that.”

But injuries up top could lead to extra chances for skaters down below, including a couple of skaters who already have some experience with the Penguins.

Derek Army led the Wheeling Nailers with 29 goals two years ago, and drew enough attention to be summoned by four AHL clubs on pro tryout contracts last season.  He spent the most time with the Penguins, tallying four points (2+2) in 13 regular season games.

Jarrett Burton put up 38 points (15+23) in 44 games with the Nailers before being signed to a PTO by the Penguins on February 6.  He went on to appear in 23 games with Wilkes-Barre/Scranton, notching two goals and 10 penalty minutes.

Burton signed an AHL deal with the Penguins over the summer, and Army is in camp on another PTO.  But both could see significant time in NEPA this season.

“We put some time into these guys to develop them,” Donatelli said.  “They’re definitely right there in the running.”

The Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins take the ice for their first preseason game when they host the Albany Devils at Mohegan Sun Arena at Casey Plaza on Thursday, Oct. 6 at 7:05 p.m. The Penguins will also battle the Hershey Bears in exhibition action at home on Saturday, Oct. 8 at 7:05 p.m. before wrapping up their preseason schedule at Giant Center against the Bears on Sunday, Oct. 9 at 5:00 p.m.

Individual tickets for Wilkes-Barre/Scranton home games can be purchased at the Mohegan Sun Arena at Casey Plaza box office, through, or by calling 800-745-3000.

Season ticket packages for the 2016-17 season of Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins hockey, including full season, 22-game12-game and Flexbook plans, are available by contacting the Penguins directly at (570) 208-7367.