ČAJKOVIČ, HAYES AND HEADRICK RETURN TO PENGUINS

February 29, 2024 Nick Hart

WILKES-BARRE, Pa. – The Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins announced today that forward Max Čajkovič has been reassigned by the Pittsburgh Penguins to Wilkes-Barre/Scranton from their ECHL affiliate, the Wheeling Nailers.

Additionally, Wilkes-Barre/Scranton has recalled forward Avery Hayes and defenseman Owen Headrick from Wheeling.

All three players skated in the Nailers’ game yesterday, Wednesday, Feb. 28, against the Reading Royals.

Čajkovič was acquired by Pittsburgh in a trade with the Minnesota Wild in exchange for defenseman Will Butcher on Jan. 25, 2024. In five games with Wilkes-Barre/Scranton, Čajkovič gathered one goal and one assist for two points.

The Bratislava, Slovakia native has suited up in four games for Wheeling this season, posting no points. Prior to the trade, Čajkovič had put up 12 goals and 18 points in 20 games for the ECHL’s Iowa Heartlanders. A third-round pick (89th overall) of the Tampa Bay Lightning in 2019, he also had one goal and two assists for three points in five games with the Iowa Wild this season.

Hayes, 21, made his return to action since sustaining an injury in the Penguins’ visit to the Syracuse Crunch on Nov. 10. The first-year pro earned one assist in 10 games with Wilkes-Barre/Scranton.

An undrafted free agent from Westland, Michigan, Hayes captured back-to-back Ontario Hockey League Championships with the Hamilton Bulldogs in 2022 and the Peterborough Petes in 2023. In 237 career OHL games, Hayes amassed 203 points (106G-97A).

Headrick was acquired by Wilkes-Barre/Scranton in a trade with the Chicago Wolves on Nov. 27. He picked up one assist in five games for the Wolves this season and secured his first AHL goal while skating for the Penguins on Jan. 21 vs. Springfield. The 26-year-old rearguard combined for three points (1G-2A) in 12 AHL games this season.

In six games with Wheeling, Headrick notched five points (1G-4A). Last season, Headrick was named to the ECHL All-Rookie Team and won ECHL Defenseman of the Year after leading league blueliners with 15 goals and 54 points as a member of the Idaho Steelheads.

Wilkes-Barre/Scranton’s next game is tomorrow, Friday, Mar. 1, the first of back-to-back home contests against the Charlotte Checkers. Game time between the Penguins and Checkers is 7:05 p.m. at Mohegan Sun Arena at Casey Plaza.

Season-ticket packages for the Penguins’ 25th season of hockey 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.

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