INJURIES CAN LEAD TO OPPORTUNITIES
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 Ticketmaster.com, or by calling 800-745-3000.
Season ticket packages for the 2016-17 season of Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins hockey, including full season, 22-game, 12-game and Flexbook plans, are available by contacting the Penguins directly at (570) 208-7367.