TRIO WITH WBS TIES HEADED TO IIHF WORLDS
WILKES-BARRE, Pa. – The 2023 IIHF World Championship in Finland will have some Wilkes-Barre/Scranton spice this spring.
Four Pittsburgh Penguins have been named to their respective countries’ entries at the international tournament, three of which are products of the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins: Drew O’Connor and Casey DeSmith will represent the United States, while Alex Nylander will play for Sweden.
This will mark the first time that O’Connor and DeSmith will represent Team USA in international competition at any level.
O’Connor’s Career So Far
O’Connor, 24, is coming off his third season with the Penguins organization, splitting time between Pittsburgh and the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton.
In the AHL, the Chatham, New Jersey native posted 22 points (8G-14) in 20 games this season. He followed that up by setting NHL career highs across the board with five goals, six assists and 11 points in 46 games.
In 73 career games with Wilkes-Barre/Scranton, O’Connor amassed 73 points (27G-46A).
In his fifth season with Pittsburgh, DeSmith, 31, started 33 games and played in 38 games, both career-high marks. The native of Rochester, New Hampshire tied his career high of 15 wins, originally set in 2018-19.
Where it All Began For DeSmith
DeSmith initially rose to prominence with Wilkes-Barre/Scranton as the team’s starting goalie for the 2016 Calder Cup Playoffs.
DeSmith went from a professional tryout, to an AHL contract, to an NHL deal during his time with Wilkes-Barre/Scranton. Along with Tristan Jarry, DeSmith won the AHL’s Harry “Hap” Holmes Award in 2016-17.
Nylander earned his first games with Pittsburgh late this season after leading Wilkes-Barre/Scranton with 25 goals during the 2022-23 campaign.
In nine contests with the NHL Penguins, Nylander racked up one goal and one assist for two points. Since he was acquired in a trade from the Chicago Blackhawks on Jan. 5, 2022, no Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguin has more goals (39) or points (80) than Nylander.
Nick Bonino, who was re-acquired by Pittsburgh in a trade this past March, was also named to Team USA.
This year’s World Championship is being held on May 12-28 in Tampere, Finland and Riga, Latvia. Both Team USA and Team Sweden are in Group A with all preliminary round games occurring at Nokia Arena in Tampere, Finland.
DON’T MISS OUT ON THE NEXT PENGUINS SEASON
Season-ticket packages for the upcoming 2023-24 season are on sale now. Full-Season, 22-game, 12-game, Flexbook and Premium Seating plans are available by reaching out to the Penguins directly at (570) 208-7367.