Chirps from Center Ice

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

2018 NHL Free Agency – Day 1

Day One of NHL Free Agency is about in the books and the Pittsburgh Penguins signed five players and re-signed another.

They were…

  • Jack Johnson – this had been known for a few days now. Defender that is in the NHL.
  • Matt Cullen – well liked Cullen is 41 years old and will likely push down a Dominik Simon or a Zach Aston-Reese at least to start come October.
  • Jimmy Hayes – defender who played for HV71 last year overseas. Last saw AHL time in 2015-16 with Milwaukee. Elite Prospects has this scouting report on him: “Elliott is a defenseman with decent two-way ability. Offensively, he has a great shot and fine puck skills. Could improve his physical game.”
  • Stefan Elliott – this forward played with New Jersey last year, just 33 games with the Devils. 334 games of NHL experience. Could be another tweeter between Pittsburgh and Wilkes-Barre.
  • John Muse – I had Muse 18th on my AHL Big Board. He was 11-2-2 playing on a loaded Lehigh Valley team in a backup / third goaltender role. He and Anthony Peters will make a good tandem here in Wilkes-Barre come the fall, or Muse could fall to Wheeling depending on what shakes out with Tristan Jarry / Casey DeSmith. Regardless, it’s good to have insurance in this regard.
  • Zach Trotman re-signed.

Announcements on the Hayes / Elliott / Muse and Trotman signings here. I didn’t include Johnson or Cullen because they aren’t direct impacts on Wilkes-Barre.


  • Jayson Megna and Michal Sgarbossa signed with Washington. Megna has been in the NHL or injured with the Vancouver organization and Sgarbossa put up 40 points with a good Manitoba team.
  • Providence lost a lot in defections like Tommy Cross to Columbus and Austin Czarnik to Calgary, but had a pair of signings that can help out come the fall. Mark McNeill and Cody Goloubef.
  • Philadelphia / Lehigh Valley was quiet. They don’t need to re-tool as much.
  • I didn’t see anything with Carolina, or the New York Rangers affecting Charlotte or Hartford respectfully.
  • Unconfirmed, but G Chris Gibson and Seth Helgeson have re-signed with the Islanders.
  • Florida signed my top goaltender available, Michael Hutchinson.

Jarred Tinordi signed with Nashville. I was hoping that the Penguins would be able to sway him into staying, but it was not to be.

Pretty quiet otherwise in the AHL’s Atlantic Division. The big arms race was in the North, where a ton of players got signed in what looks like is an arms race to keep up with the defending Calder Cup Champion Toronto Marlies.

I totally forgot about my Offseason Signings Tracker. I will update that later on as well as this blog post (going up around 6:30 pm local) for any additions made to the Penguins or their Atlantic Division foes. (edit: updated here)

AHL Big Board is now pinned to the top of the site, a handy link here if you linked in direct.

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