Chirps from Center Ice

A fan blog about the AHL's Wilkes-Barre / Scranton Penguins

Penguins Training Camp Roster / Schedule Revealed

Thursday afternoon, Coal Street announced their training camp roster and schedule for camp that opens Saturday at 10:30 a.m.

Full roster here.

Here’s blurbs on all of them cause why not.

Forwards

Riley Bourbonnais: Penguins signed him to an AHL contract over the summer. RPI product. Had a cup of coffee with Wheeling last year.

Jarrett Burton: Re-signed by the Penguins this summer. Was a depth guy last year, expect a big camp from him should he hope to stick around full time in 2017-18.

Cam Brown: Natick, Mass native who played 9 games and scored 3-4-7 after 34 games with the Maine Black Bears in the NCAA. Looks like a setup guy, he had 35 assists for Maine last year.

Hunter Fejes: Signed to an ECHL contract with Wheeling this past summer. had 18-20-38 with the Rapid City Rush last year.

Reid Gardiner: Penguins fans remember him as the guy that they signed last season who was released back to Kelowna of the WHL. Wilkes-Barre re-signed him again this summer and there is no going back to juniors for Gardiner, who had gaudy numbers (18-19-37) with Kelowna in 28 gamess.

Ryan Haggerty: Doesn’t need much of an introduction. Played a third / fourth line role with the Penguins last year. Has a big shot which he didn’t really use much last year.

Troy Josephs: Entering his first year pro and is looking to live up to the 20-13-33 he put up at Clarkson University last season. I don’t feel like he will be in competition for a spot, but if you sit and think about it for a while he may be.

Tom Kostopoulos: Only question is whether or not this is his final year.

Daniel Leavens: Robert Morris product signed with Wheeling late last year and then re-signed with the Nailers over the summer. 8 points in 7 games for the Nailers last year.

Pat McGrath: Doesn’t need an introduction. My big interest in him is whether he puts up more points since hockey is killing fighting.

Tom Mele: Second oldest player in camp. Mele is 31 and played 40 games with the Cincinnati Cyclones last year. He’s won a Central League championship with Fort Wayne when the Komets were in the CHL and an Kelly Cup Championship with Alaska.

Shawn O’Donnell: Mele plays LW and they have O’Donnell listed as a RW. He played 47 games with Cincinnati last year also, I wonder if they were linemates?

Justin Parizek: He attended a development camp with the Vancouver Canucks. He served as captain of the Nebraska-Omaha Mavericks last year. Researching him finds he is a two-way winger. He’s smart too, had a 3.79 GPA in college.

Gage Quinney: Wilkes-Barre signed him in August. 44 points in 45 games for Wheeling last year. Does he stick or go down to Wheeling?

Kenny Ryan: Went from San Diego in the AHL, to Cincinnati to Indy in the ECHL. I don’t think he is signed anywhere, so it may be a tryout of sorts for him for the Nailers or someone else. Shawn Rine corrected me on this to inform that Ryan is actually signed by the Nailers.

Nick Sorkin: Sorkin played three games with Wilkes-Barre last season. He captained the Nailers last year, where he played 57 games.

Cody Wydo: Another Wheeling reinforcement that the Penguins called on last season. He, like Sorkin, appeared in three games for Wilkes-Barre.

Defensemen

Danny Fick: Nailers re-signed Fick over the summer where he played 69 games for them. He also appeared in two games for the San Antonio Rampage.

Dan Milan: He was in camp last year. Nailers signed him for 2017-18. 73 PIMs for ECHL Fort Wayne last year.

Matt Petgrave: Played college in New Brunswick last year and then five games with Brampton.

Kevin Schulze: Another Wheeling signee in camp with Wilkes-Barre. 68 games last year for the Nailers, 60 points. Had one game with teh Penguins.

Craig Skudalski: Here is your local connection besides Pat McGrath. Skudalski is a Wyoming, PA native. He bounced around in the lower levels of the minor leagues with Roanoke of the Southern League and Danbury of the Federal League.

Kevin Spinozzi: Captained the Sarnia Sting of the OHL last year. 41 points in 58 games. Not signed anywhere, so he’s looking for a good first impression.

Jeff Taylor: Up to this point, every defenseman I listed feels like a warm body until the regulars filter down from Pittsburgh. Taylor isn’t one of them. He had 6 games with Wilkes-Barre last year and is heading into his first pro season. Those reinforcements will get here soon enough, Taylor wants to make a case that he belongs in that top six defensive pairing among them.

Dylan Zink: Same as Taylor. Will be interesting to watch the competition between the two at camp and in exhibition games.

Goaltenders

Sean Maguire: Most likely Wheeling’s number one goalie again this season with DeSmith – Jarry pegged as the opening night duo. Still though, he wants to make it a tougher decision than that.

Will King: Valencia, PA native played in Sweden’s third tier hockey league last year with OK numbers in 11 games (2.57 GAA, .915 SV%)

Colin Stevens: Wheeling’s other goalie, signed by the Nailers over the summer. 33 games split with Tulsa (24) and Manchester (9) of the ECHL last season.

Nick and Obie held a two man advantage discussing some of the players invited to camp.

So there you go. If you have something you’d like to add on any of these guys, please feel free in the comments below.

The First Seven

Pittsburgh made its first round of cuts today.

Tom Kostopoulos, Ryan Haggerty, Reid Gardiner, Gage Quinney, Dylan Zink, Jeff Taylor and goaltender Sean Maguire were sent down to Coal Street. Also released was Jordy Bellerive back to his junior team.

Wilkes-Barre should be announcing a schedule and roster for training camp very soon. There is a preseason game next Wednesday against Hershey, so look out for something soon.

First Round of Cuts

It’s probably a false headline because all of the roster cuts Pittsburgh made from its roster Monday were all players who they returned to their junior clubs. They were, Jan Drozg (Shawinigan Cataractes), Zachary Lauzon (Rouyn-Noranda Huskies), Connor Hall (Kitchener Rangers) and Alex D’Orio (Saint John Sea Dogs).

One junior player remains, and will actually play Tuesday night in Pittsburgh’s preseason game against Buffalo. His name is Jordy Bellerive, fresh off signing a three year entry level contract on Saturday.

Here’s the lineup Pittsburgh is putting out for Tuersday’s affair against Buffalo, in case you are wondering.

Other stuff…

Hershey signed five guys to PTOs. I thought at the time that they loaded up like Hershey always does but one name out of that quintet jumps out at me the most, the others are likely depth guys or heading to the Bears ECHL affiliate in South Carolina.

Matt Carey in case you were wondering, is the player that jumped out at me the most. He was good on a bad Hartford team last year. Put him on an offensive juggernaut like 11-time, watch out.

Mike O’Brien checked in from Pittsburgh, his thoughts here.

More later, probably this week.

Rosters and Thirds

On Thursday afternoon, Pittsburgh announced its training camp roster. You can check out the roster here. 

Nothing that jumps off the page, really. Rookie Jordy Bellerive impressed at this past weekends prospect tournament and earned the invite to the main camp. If you think he would be eligible for AHL work this year you’re wrong, he’s too young. 

The other name is Sam Miletic, who could get a look in Wilkes-Barre if signed. Here’s Mike O’Brien with more…

Camp gets underway Friday. First preseason game is against Buffalo on Tuesday. 

One other thing, Coal Street dropped their third jersey this morning and it looks pretty sharp…

Enjoy your weekend.

Thomas the Scoring Train

Coal Street continued its summer of blockbuster signings with the announcement Wednesday afternoon that they have signed forward Christian Thomas formerly of the Hershey Bears.

Big time signing here. Thomas co-led the Bears in goals with 24 last season, 12 coming on the power play which was fifth overall in the AHL in that department.

For a team like the Penguins in desperate need it seems every year of a power play punch, the Thomas signing shores up that doubt for a team which is improved in defense and forward. Mind you, the Pens won the regular season overall, so it is shaping up like the Penguins may be as good or better than last season, if that is even conceivable.

It’s an AHL contract for Thomas in case you were wondering. It may be a bit of a surprise to some that Thomas went to the middle of September to be signed by a team. He most likely was looking for full time NHL work but with camps opening this week took the next best option in signing with a good AHL team in Wilkes-Barre.

Tyler has more, including the headline I was going to use.

Elsewhere, the Penguins won the Prospects Tournament this weekend and goaltender Alex D’Orio impressed enough people that he signed with Pittsburgh today to a three year entry level contract. D’Orio is an undrafted player who will return to juniors this season.

Pittsburgh opens camp Friday. They didn’t announce a roster when they made the news public Tuesday, so expect that to come Thursday.

We are getting there.

Getting to Be About That Time…

Oh, hello there!

Word of my demise here on the blog has been greatly exaggerated. No, I haven’t given it up. Yes, there hasn’t been anything of substance to blog about. J-S Dea finally signed his qualifying offer and Sahir Gill signed with the Rochester Americans as Jason Botterill continues to poach last years players from Coal Street.

There, you are caught up since the months time or so since I have been in the Chirps from Center Ice living room.

Some other notable things to blog about include the Penguins Rookie Tournament which gets going this weekend in Buffalo. Coal Street put out a nice press release about who is all going here complete with a roster and going next level by sharing the tournament guide complete with in depth player bios.

Notable names like Lukas Bengtsson, Ethan Prow, Jeff Taylor and Dylan Zink lead the blueliners. Forwards Zach Aston-Reese, Teddy Blueger, Thomas DiPauli, Reid Gardiner and Daniel Sprong lead the punch up front.

Pittsburgh will carry the games online through their website if you are itching to watch some hockey four weeks before the start of the regular season.

I’m going to get cracking soon on the AHL Previews and will share a date on when they will roll out in the coming weeks. We are not too far away from the first preseason games. Business is going to pick up again here shortly.

Clark’s Army — Tim Army Named Assistant Coach

Announced Thursday was the rounding out of the hockey operations that will oversee the on ice product of the 2017-18 campaign the Wilkes-Barre / Scranton Penguins will embark on in about two months.

Tim Army was named assistant coach, Seamus McKelvey was named head athletic trainer and Mike Joyce was named the teams strength and conditioning coach.

I was desperately looking for a pun headline to tie these announcements in together. The Army pun is a layup, Mike Joyce was a drummer in The Smiths, and Seamus would have been the boy headed to the army in the pun related to the Smiths once I couldn’t find.

Meat is Murder was a rejected pun headline. What’s with me and puns anyway? That Joke Isn’t Funny Anymore.

Anyway, let’s get serious.

Joyce interned last year with the Penguins and impressed enough to land the job. He’s a Scranton native.

McKelvey had some time with the Penguins and last season worked as an assistant trainer with the Providence Bruins.

Army and head coach Clark Donatelli have a history together.

Obie went on to say that there will be audio of the call Army had with the local media available on the team website Friday so if you are looking for something to listen to give that a listen.

In case you are wondering, Army is the father of Derek, who did time in Wilkes-Barre a few seasons ago.

Out the door, a couple more things. Wheeling re-signed Garrett Meurs to a contract this week and ex-Penguin Clark Seymour is back from Austria where he spent last season, signing with the Florida Everblades.

Have a great weekend.