Chirps from Center Ice

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

Category Archives: Pittsburgh

Summers Up – No, Literally

With Ian Cole taking a full slap shot off of his two front teeth in Pittsburgh’s last game against Nashville on Saturday night, the Penguins today recalled D Chris Summers from Wilkes-Barre this afternoon.

In the aftermath, Cole tweeted a picture of his repairs that is as graphic as you can think of. He had swelling and is doing better than expected per Mike Sullivan.

Summers isn’t expected to play in Pittsburgh’s games in Washington Wednesday and Tampa Bay Thursday but the Penguins needed to make a recall because historically they like to roll with seven defenseman.

Summers wasn’t my first choice as a player to go up in a role of the seventh defenseman, I expected Frank Corrado to get that call. But I just blog about the team, I don’t make hockey decisions.

On Coal Street, the Penguins defense is already stretched thin with the recall of Summers. Jeff Taylor, Zach Trotman and Jarred Tinordi are all out and most likely ruled out for the weekend. The skinny on Trotman, who left the game Saturday, is that he is day to day but is unlikely to play in this weekends games. (Isn’t that week to week?) So that leaves some combination of Andrey Pedan, Ethan Prow, Kevin Czuczman, Kevin Spinozzi, Frank Corrado, Dylan Zink and Lukas Bengtsson for Clark Donatelli and his staff to choose from. With a three in three coming up for the Penguins, expect to see a recall from Wheeling at some point before Friday, one would assume.

In other news, the Colorado Eagles will become the AHL’s 31st team in 2018-19 serving as the primary affiliate of the Colorado Avalanche. The Eagles are already the ECHL affiliate of the Avalanche so they are stepping up a league. They are going to play in the Pacific Division. That means you are probably going to see the Texas Stars and San Antonio Rampage head to the Central Division and most likely the Cleveland Monsters head to the Eastern Conference and the North Division. All yet to be determined, but we do know that the Eagles are coming next season and will play in the Pacific. What we don’t know is if they will play 76 like the rest of the AHL or 68 like the California teams and the Tuscon Roadrunners.

Oh, in case you were wondering what happened with the Avalanche’s current AHL affiliate the San Antonio Rampage, the St. Louis Blues announced that they have signed the Rampage up as their primary affiliate beginning in 2018-19.

Still waters run deep in Pittsburgh and Wilkes-Barre.

More news as it comes this week, if not, check me out Friday for your Penguins / Phantoms Gameday setup.

Spinozzi Signed, Maguire to Wheeling 10/4

News dujour out of Coal Street Wednesday was news that the Penguins signed Kevin Spinozzi to a professional tryout agreement and then later in the day sent Sean Maguire to the Wheeling Nailers.

Spinozzi certainly earned the extended tryout agreement. While I don’t see him as a regular contributor to the Penguins defensive corps in the immediate future, he may play a factor when the injuries start piling up and bodies are pulled from all over the place. Obviously, Clark Donatelli and his staff saw enough of Spinozzi to offer him the tryout agreement.

Sean Maguire was sent to the Wheeling Nailers. It wasn’t a matter of if, it was a matter of when for Maguire with the tandem of Tristan Jarry / Casey DeSmith already set in goal for the Penguins. Maguire should see the majority of starts for the Nailers and be ready should his services be needed by the Penguins in the near future. 

Pittsburgh finalized its roster. Here it is:

That does not include Andrey Pedan, who we can only assume has been assigned to Wilkes-Barre.

AHL Previews are rolling along with the Pacific, Central and North done and the Atlantic rounding things out Thursday at noon.

Derrick Pouliot Traded for Andrey Pedan; Other Stuff

The Pittsburgh Penguins traded Derrick Pouliot to the Vancouver Canucks Tuesday for Andrey Pedan in a defenseman for defenseman swap. The Penguins also get a 4th round pick from the Canucks in 2018.

The Penguins weren’t going to keep experimenting with Pouliot any longer. This article from Pensblog last week explains it all and the writing was on the wall for Pouliot regarding his future with the Penguins.

Andrey Pedan heads the other way and he’s a depth defender who has already cleared waivers from Vancouver. Here is what some had to say about the Penguins newest acquisition:

Tom weighed in on the size of the WBS blueline should Pedan make it down to Coal Street:

Pittsburgh already has eight defensemen on the roster currently. They would need to put Patric Hornqvist on injured reserve which I think they may have already to get to the 23 man roster limit. So seemingly as soon as Hornqvist comes off IR, Pedan gets sent down, doesn’t have to clear because he cleared already, and we are ready to roll.

That is, provided there aren’t any injuries to anyone on the NHL roster in the coming days / weeks / months.

Pensblog also had a WBS Preview of sorts you can check out here. tl;dr version, Wilkes-Barre is stacked deep at all positions and is a strong Calder Cup contender.

Here are some updates from practice at Coal Street today…

My AHL Previews have started if you haven’t seen already. I checked off the Pacific and Central Divisions so far with the North and Atlantic to come tomorrow and Wednesday. Please do check them out.

Thursday Notes 9/28

Couple things to touch on this evening that happened today…

Tom Sestito is on waivers. Provided he clears, the Penguins will be down to 25 players. They need to be at 23 next week. It was suggested that the Penguins may cut Jay McClerment and put Patric Hornqvist on injured reserve. That gives them time to leave the window open on auditions for the 3C position and gives them time to continue to evaluate Derrick Pouliot.

Utica is getting the AHL All-Star game again, the second time in three years, last hosting in 2015. This is actually late in the game for the League to announce a host site and usually when things like this happen it means that no other team in the AHL wanted the event. That Utica gets it again for the the second time in three years pretty much speaks to it. I guess it is better than no game at all.

Coal Street cut four players today, Daniel Leavens, Tom Mele, Kenny Ryan and Danny Pick were released and sent to Wheeling. Cam Brown, Hunter Fejes, Dan Milan, Kevin Schulze, Nick Sorkin, and Colin Stevens are the Wheeling contracted players who remain in the AHL with the Penguins.

Penguins will be using more regulars in the lineup Friday against Binghamton. I’ll be there and will have a blog post after the game with a final score and write-up of the game like Wednesday night.

One Fell Swoop, See You Soon Kid

Pittsburgh finally trimmed their roster today, and they did so all at once seemingly with the following players sent to Wilkes-Barre today.


Zach Aston-Reese
Teddy Blueger
Jean-Sebastien Dea*
Thomas Di Pauli
Adam Johnson
Sam Miletic**
Dominik Simon
Colin Smith
Daniel Sprong
Christian Thomas
Freddie Tiffels
Garrett Wilson*


Lukas Bengtsson
Frank Corrado*
Kevin Czuczman*
Ethan Prow
Chris Summers*
Jarred Tinordi*
Zach Trotman*


Casey DeSmith
Tristan Jarry


* – players who need waivers
** – Miletic signed a three year entry level contract with Pittsburgh on Monday. At age 20, he is eligible for and look for him a lot, with Wilkes-Barre this upcoming season.

The roster in Pittsburgh stands at 26 players. They need to be at 23 in time for the beginning of the season. Here is a look at the current roster.

Jonathan had some thoughts today regarding the roster spots still up for grabs. He believes, as do I, that the final roster spot comes down to Josh Archibald and Derrick Pouliot. Both need waivers. Pouliot is a bargaining chip that Pittsburgh could flip for a third line center, but that hasn’t happened yet. So if you are looking at it from a perspective of sending a guy out, it’s probably going to be Archibald because he’s less expendable in that he has less of a trade value vs. Pouliot.


Wilkes-Barre’s camp stands at 49 players if no one goes claimed tomorrow at noon in waivers. There are no roster limits in the AHL, mind you.

Anyway, my thoughts on Pittsburgh are that they release Jay McClerment from his PTO and send Tom Sestito to WBS when he’s healthy after getting banged up in practice from a collision with Ryan Reaves. That leaves the Archibald / Pouliot decision to be made. I think it’s Archibald that gets the short end. My first three guys to go up after Archibald, and this is assuming that no one gets claimed on waivers, are Sprong, Aston-Reese and Johnson in that order. Sprong is going to get the Jake Guentzel treatment in Wilkes-Barre and go up full time in January. Johnson needs to learn the pro game. Depending on how he takes the demotion to the AHL and how he handles the pro game determines his success down here and future with Pittsburgh. I can’t wait to see a healthy Zach Aston-Reese tear up the Atlantic Division.

My second three are Dea, Simon and Garrett Wilson in no order. If you forced me, Simon, Dea and Wilson in that order. Competition in Wilkes-Barre camp and production in the first 20 games of the regular season can change first three and second three.

On defense, Jonathan likes Trotman a lot. I am going to defer in this category here because it is a large amount of players coming from all over with very high pedigrees. Competition here will only benefit the good of the order as far as a team perspective.

Finally, DeSmith and Jarry are going to probably split starts the first 10 games of the season and Pittsburgh’s management will leave the decision of who the number one starter will be here in Wilkes-Barre up to Clark Donatelli and his staff here. I would not want to be him in making that decision because it is going to be extremely tough with all of the firepower up front and the stacked blue line playing ahead of either Casey or Tristan.

From Wilkes-Barre’s camp, Tom reported that Troy Josephs had some kind of surgery and won’t practice for at least a month. Sean Maguire was hurt Monday and did not practice Tuesday but Tom reported that it’s not serious and he’s day to day.

Tyler had thoughts on Day 1 and Day 2. When he posts Day 3, I will edit it in.

Penguins host the Hershey Bears in preseason action Wednesday night. I would be very interested in seeing who plays in that contest.

In case you are new here, I don’t go full bore in setting up or recapping preseason action. I’ll be at the game and there will be a brief recap of the action and who stood out, who didn’t, etc. Penguins host Binghamton Friday before bussing down to Hershey Saturday and then up to Bingo Sunday.

So but for anything breaking here Wednesday morning / afternoon, check out the blog again Wednesday night after the first preseason game for a recap.

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.