Chirps from Center Ice

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

Category Archives: WBS

2016-17 WBS Camp Roster Announced

Friday afternoon, the Wilkes-Barre / Scranton Penguins announced their training camp roster. Camp officially begins Saturday on Coal Street.

Instead of linking off and pointing out some names here and there and calling it a day, I went through the roster and offer a blurb on each player. If you have any information or have better information on a particular guy, please feel free to leave me a note in the comments.

Here goes nothing…

Forwards

Derek Army – Familiar name with Penguins fans, Army saw time with four AHL teams last year besides the Penguins. Army played 4 games for the Portland Pirates, 7 for the Texas Stars and 12 for the Ontario Reign. He was on an ECHL contract with Wheeling last year so obviously familiar with Penguins head coach Clark Donatelli.

Miloš Bubela – 24 year old center out of RPI who played 8 games with Utica at the end of last season. Lots of experience playing in Slovakia as a teenager before coming to America.

Jarrett Burton – Played a fourth line for Wilkes-Barre last season. Better ECHL numbers, 38 points with Wheeling last season in 44 games, than AHL where he just had two goals with the Penguins in 23 games.

Reid Gardiner – Played with Prince Albert Raiders in the WHL last season. 92 points last year for the Raiders in 71 games. Big strong kid who works hard, is good on the puck and not a defensive liability. Could be a diamond in the rough type player.

Christian Hilbrich – One of the Penguins first signings this offseason. 6’7 giant who was the Cornell captain last year.

Tom Kostopoulos – Needs no introduction. Only question surrounding Kostopoulos is whether or not this is his final year.

Patrick McGrath – Needs no introduction either but needs to identify himself as either someone who can contribute or will he stay on the line of an ECHL type fill-in. Big season for him.

Garrett Meurs – Interesting addition here. Was an RFA with the Colorado Avalanche organization last year and was not qualified. Maybe the change of scenery does him good, he stands out and lands himself a job. 35 points in 51 games with ECHL Fort Wayne last season.

Gage Quinney – Quinney was with Pittsburgh for the Rookie Tournament and must have turned enough heads that Wilkes-Barre is bringing him in on a tryout. Las Vegas kid that had 57 points total between Kamloops and Kelowna in the Western Hockey League last season.

Nick Sorkin – Wheeling signed Sorkin this offseason. Rockville, MD product who played in Sweden last season. 25 points in 68 games for AHL Hamilton a couple seasons ago.

Cody Wydo – Wydo played exclusively for the Nailers last season, putting up 50 points in 59 games last season. Will he play his way towards an AHL contract? This camp may answer that question.

Defensemen

Danny Fick – Fick is a right handed defensemen who played 53 games last year for the Nailers. Harvard grad.

Barry Goers – Goers should be healthy enough this season to play a full year and contribute as a capable sixth or seventh defenseman.

Dan Milan – 27 points in two seasons playing with ECHL Wichita. I recall his name being tossed around up in Syracuse as a defensive replacement. Has only played in one AHL game. I don’t know why “Stylin’ Dan Milan” comes to mind when I see the name.

Kevin Schulze – Wheeling signed him late last season and liked him so much they re-signed him this offseason. Described as a good skating, quick defenseman. The AHL level work should be good for him.

Ryan Segalla – Fourth round draft pick by Pittsburgh in the 2013 draft. Turned pro after his junior year at UConn. He apparently thinks he’s ready. We will see.

Brett Stern – 72 games with Wheeling last season. With all of the defensive depth yet to get here from Pittsburgh plus what is already in camp currently, I don’t see Stern sticking, so he gets an early start on camp for Wheeling.

Michael Webster – Barrie Colts captain last season and the first AHL signing made by Wilkes-Barre this offseason. 44 points in 64 games last year for the Colts.

Goaltenders

Doug Carr – Pittsburgh cut Carr today so he could get up to Wilkes-Barre in time for camp Saturday. Wheeling signed Carr at the end of August. 24 games with ECHL Manchester last season and three with Albany. Carr saw a heavy workload with the Monarchs last year and even saw playoff action.

Adam Morrison – This is an intriguing addition. Morrison was a bit of a journeyman last season in the ECHL playing with three different teams. It is believed that his rights to an ECHL team lie with Reading. Reading’s AHL team is Lehigh Valley, who has a plethora of goaltenders to start with so Morrison just drove about an hour north to Wilkes-Barre for an AHL tryout.

Derek Graffius undertook a similar enterprise on his blog. Check out his words here.

In all, not a bad group. I have seen worse. Every player projects with an upside at least in my opinion or has something to play for or prove. That’s never a bad thing. They know that the reinforcements from Pittsburgh are coming in the form of more cuts. Maybe they make enough of an impression to stick or to be seen again down the road in the future.

Camp Coming; Cuts Made*

* – questionable semicolon use by the author.

Wednesday the Wilkes-Barre / Scranton Penguins announced a training camp schedule. Camp opens Saturday on Coal Street. More about it here with a schedule. Practices held at 40 Coal Street in Wilkes-Barre are always open to the public.

Thursday, Pittsburgh sent defensemen Barry Goers, Michael Webster and Ryan Segalla and forwards Tom Kostopoulos, Milos Bubela, Gage Quinney, Jarrett Burton, Christian Hilbrich and Reid Gardiner to Wilkes-Barre. None of this first crop were on NHL contracts. There are 49 players left in Pittsburgh’s camp.

Tristan Jarry shined in his preseason start in Chicago Wednesday, shutting out the Blackhawks 2-0. Jarry will be gunning hard at the backup role behind Marc-Andre Fleury while Matt Murray recovers from his hand injury.

Elsewhere around the AHL…

— Binghamton is losing Ottawa as an NHL parent in 2017-18 it was announced this week. Pending AHL Board of Governors Approval, Ottawa will place their AHL prospects in Belleville, Ontario. Say hello to the Belleville Senators. They have a Twitter page and everything.

— Back in Binghamton, Executive VP of Operations Tom Mitchell emphatically states that the AHL is going nowhere when it comes to Binghamton. Video on that here. Mitchell didn’t mention anything about a potential NHL partner, so I don’t know if he is blowing smoke or if in fact there is an NHL team waiting in the wings once Ottawa uproots the Pens prospects at the end of this coming regular season.

I’ll say this. I love my trips to Binghamton. There are good people in Binghamton and it’s a great city for AHL hockey. I hope that Mitchell is in fact correct and that we all can rest easy and not worry about there not being hockey on the Southern Tier in 2017-18 and beyond.

— The Hershey Bears have a new voice. Meet Zack Fisch. Promoted from the Bears ECHL affiliate in South Carolina, he takes over for the job Scott Stuccio did for the Bears. They didn’t list his shoe size but he better have big feet because he has enormous shoes to fill.

Coal Street will probably publish a training camp roster some time Friday and when they do, I’ll jump back on here and blog about it.

One more thing. I don’t know if you noticed or not but the “WBS News” feed to the left of the blog is down. That’s cause I pull the RSS feed from wbspenguins.com but that domain is under construction. If you go to their website you are hit with a splash page that says that the new wbspenguins.com is coming soon. Hopefully the RSS doesn’t change.

It isn’t you. Or me. In case you were wondering, that’s why there hasn’t been any “WBS News” for the last month or month and a half.

More this weekend, presumably.

Hasn’t Even Started Yet But It’s Started

Sigh. 

Color me shocked that Pittsburgh was pristinely specific about type of injury (hand fracture) and estimated length of disability (3-6 weeks) here. I applaud them and hope that the specifics as to injuries and disability length continue. “Upper / Lower” body injury and status day / week / month to whatever is a terrible and horribly archaic way of describing why your player is not on the ice. 

Seth with more here including the battle brewing now between Tristan Jarry and Leland Irving for the backup role to Marc-Andre Fluery. 

Remember that Casey DeSmith is on an AHL deal and isn’t in the mix. 

Pittsburgh preseason games start this week. 

Veterans Lurking — Pittsburgh Announces Training Camp Roster

The Stanley Cup Champion Pittsburgh Penguins announced Thursday their training camp roster. A robust 60 names. Of those names, there are two names invited at one position that jump out.

It’s in goal.

Beyond the standard names like Matt Murray, Marc-Andre Fleury, Tristan Jarry and Casey DeSmith, the Pittsburgh Penguins also extended invitations to goaltenders Doug Carr and Leland Irving.

Carr is already signed to an ECHL deal with the Wheeling Nailers. He was with Adirondack of the ECHL last year and played three games with Albany last year.

Leland Irving was a former first round draft pick with Calgary, had some success in Abbotsford, the AHL affiliate of the Flames at the time. Last year, he played for a terrible Iowa Wild team and only won 12 games in 41 games played. Those 12 wins led the Wild, so it speaks to how god awful the Wild were last year, finishing dead last in the AHL last season.

I would be perfectly fine with Jarry as the number one goaltender here in Wilkes-Barre with DeSmith taking some of the starts as well with Carr down in Wheeling working with Sean Maguire, who surprisingly was not invited to Penguins camp. But the braintrust doesn’t see it like that. If either Fleury or Murray go down with injury or a spot illness necessitating a call-up from Wilkes-Barre, they aren’t willing to take the risk of Tristan Jarry being that guy quite yet.

In other news, Coal Street announced a promo schedule you can check out here.

I’ll have my AHL Previews at the ready again this season. I am about halfway done and want to finish out the main build this weekend and start bringing stuff over to the blog within the next two weeks in time for Opening Week in the AHL.

Roster Slowly Taking Shape – Pens Sign Ryan Haggerty

Sort of out of the blue Thursday afternoon was the announcement that the Wilkes-Barre / Scranton Penguins signed forward Ryan Haggerty to an AHL deal for the 2016-17 season.

Haggerty, an RPI product, will be entering his third year as a professional. He played 36 games for the Rockford IceHogs last year before going down with an injury. He had one playoff game with the IceHogs, who were swept in the first round by the eventual champion Lake Erie, now Cleveland Monsters.

Prior to playing with Rockford, Haggerty played all 76 games for the Hartford Wolf Pack two seasons ago. He was 9-4-13 last season with Rockford and 15-18-33 with Hartford two seasons ago.

Seth dug up the following:

I did not have Haggerty listed in the Top 100 on the AHL Big Board project from this past summer. He was a restricted free agent not tendered a qualifying offer.

I think the change of scenery will be good for a player of Haggerty’s caliber. Think about it. A durable player that played all 76 games for Hartford gets moved to Rockford, gets injured and not tendered a qualifying offer. He could have bolted overseas. He chose to stay in North America and come to Wilkes-Barre and will most likely be a key player this upcoming season.

Time will tell. I have updated my Offseason Moves List.

Last Weekend of August

Couple things to touch on as we have our AHL schedule and are looking forward to September, kids going back to school, and hockey season getting going in about 50 days….

Pittsburgh announced rosters for the annual rookie tournament in London, Ontario in mid-September. Seth did a blog post highlighting players to watch. Jonathan offered a piece where he wrote capsules on all the players.

Ty Loney signed with Adirondack of the ECHL Thursday. I have updated the 2016 Offseason Moves list.

I took a look at that list. The unsigned players that remain are Harrison Ruopp and Dan O’Donoghue (who were RFA’s that were not tendered offers by the Penguins) and Tyler Biggs, Brian Foster and Ryan Parent.

The only other thing going on right now as a preview of sorts is the summertime Penguins Podcast with Nick Hart and Mike O’Brien. The duo are previewing the divisional opponents. They touched on how the Lehigh Valley Phantoms stack up. They give their predictions on if they see the Phantoms as a playoff team. The answers they give may surprise some, as it surprised me. The total podcast time is about 20 minutes, so it’s good to listen to at work, the gym or on the way home or maybe outside having a cigar or in the pool. They plan on rolling these out once a week to the start of the AHL season. Should make for some good listening.

Man, Labor Day weekend is next weekend. Where did this summer go?

##

2016-17 AHL Schedule Released

Time to whip out the planners and block off time from work, the 2016-17 AHL Schedule is here!

As tradition here on the blog, with the release of the schedule, comes a question and answer session. I answer all the pertinent questions regarding the Wilkes-Barre / Scranton Penguins playing schedule.

So here you go….

Question 1: Who do the Wilkes-Barre / Scranton Penguins play first this season?

Answer: That would be the Hartford Wolf Pack on Saturday October 15, the Penguins home opener.

Question 2: Any Western Conference flavor on the menu this year?

Answer: LOL, no. All Eastern Conference teams again this year.

Question 3: What does the divisional breakdown look like against Bridgeport, Hartford, Hershey, Lehigh Valley, Providence and Springfield?

Answer: 12 games against Lehigh Valley and Hershey, Six against Springfield, Bridgeport and Providence and eight against Hartford. Split home and away.

Question 4: What is the longest road trip? What about home stand?

Answer: Longest road trip of the season for the Penguins is two separate seven dates in a row away from the Mohegan Sun Arena at Casey Plaza. January 8 through the 2oth, then again in February, from the 17th to March 5th.

The longest home stand for the Penguins is six straight home dates in February, from February 3 to the 14.

Question 5: What about the remainder of the schedule?

The remainder of the schedule breakdown for the Penguins against in-Conference, non-divisional opponents is as follows; six games against Binghamton and Syracuse, four against Utica and St. John’s and two against Toronto, Albany and Rochester, all split home and away.

Question 6: How many three games in three nights?

Answer: Last year the Penguins had eight. This year, the Penguins have the same amount, including three straight weekends of three in three action at the end of the season from March 24 to April 9, 2017.

Question 7: I am a visual learner. Show me a chart of daily and monthly breakdowns.

Answer: Here you go.

Home Road Total
Monday 0 2 2
Tuesday 4 0 4
Wednesday 5 5 10
Thursday 0 0 0
Friday 12 10 22
Saturday 14 12 26
Sunday 3 9 12

And the Monthly…

Home Road Total
October 5 2 7
November 5 7 12
December 6 6 12
January 5 9 14
February 6 5 11
March 6 6 12
April 5 3 8

Question 8: Any kids games?

Answer: Kids games are by definition games that start in the morning. The Penguins don’t have any morning start games. The earliest the Penguins play a game is 1 p.m. on Martin Luther King Day which is Monday, January 16, 2017 up in Syracuse.

Question 9: Where is the All-Star Classic at again this season?

Answer: Not far away, actually. The League announced a couple of months ago that the Lehigh Valley Phantoms would be the host city for this season. The event will take place January 28 through January 30, 2017 down at PPL Center.

Question 10: Are the Penguins playing in any special venues this season?

Answer: No. All home games will be played at the Mohegan Sun Arena or the home arena of the opponent.

Question 11: What is the Penguins theme this season?

Answer: Live for the Moment. You can click here to be taken to a page where you may download the schedule onto your mobile device.

Question 12: Anything else I need to know?

Answer: Penguins are really pushing the Tuesday games in an effort to bust up the three in three. Whether or not Tuesday evening home games will be a big draw or not remains to be seen. Also, the massive amount of Friday and Saturday home games (26 in total) is a real push to get people in seats.

Pens play their New Years Eve game on the road this season up in Binghamton, a 6:05 p.m. start up there.

There are nine days this season on which all 30 AHL teams are in action: Sat., Nov. 12; Sat., Nov. 26; Sat., Dec. 3; Sat., Jan. 7; Fri., Jan. 13; Sat., Jan. 28; Fri., Mar. 17; Sat., Mar. 18; and Fri., Apr. 14.

Won’t be long now! I can start my previews for all 30 teams and look for schedule boxes on the left hand sude of the blog to start rolling out, perhaps as soon as this week with the next three games for Wilkes-Barre, Pittsburgh and Wheeling!