It was announced Friday morning that free agent forward Thomas Di Pauli signed a two year entry level contract with the Pittsburgh Penguins.
Di Pauli, originally a Washington Capitals draft pick, never signed with the Caps and became a free agent this week.
He’s 5’11, 197 pounds. Speedy forward with good hands. Played on Notre Dame with Bryan Rust which, depending on what website you do to to get your hockey projections, plays the same style.
Di Pauli went 22-39-61 over his last two seasons with Notre Dame, so he knows how to get his name on the scoresheet.
If he doesn’t make the big club out of camp, you can expect to see Di Pauli here in Wilkes-Barre, probably getting booed by Bears fans who were excited to see him play for them next season if he didn’t make the Capitals roster. Di Pauli’s presence alone will provide a boost for what was looking like an offensively starved AHL Penguins team. You can only keep so many bodies in the NHL, so if Di Pauli sticks, another body gets sent down. It’s a win-win for Wilkes-Barre regardless.
Elsewhere, Lehigh Valley signed goaltender Mark Dekanich Thursday. Dekanich hasn’t been the same since his All-Star days with Milwaukee a couple years ago. He spent much of last season with South Carolina in the ECHL and I expect him to do the same with Reading in the ECHL.
Our ECHL affiliate in Wheeling announced Wednesday that they have extended their affiliation agreement with Pittsburgh and subsequently Wilkes-Barre for two more seasons, out to 2018.
No AHL schedule yet. Probably early next week, based off of tweets from some teams that I have seen. Only question that remains is how many times we see Hershey and Lehigh Valley, everyone else in the division and everyone else in the conference, because we aren’t going to play anyone from the Western Conference. You get your hopes up for variety and new teams only to be disappointed year after year with the same old, same old.
Back next week to break it all down.