The Pittsburgh Penguins announced their roster for the 2017 Prospects Challenge in Buffalo, New York on Wednesday afternoon.

Unsurprisingly, the roster is headlined by the likes of Zach Aston-Reese and Daniel Sprong as well as 2017 draft picks Jan Drozg, Zach Lauzon and Antti Palojärvi. However, as is the case with most of these prospect showcases, there are plenty of names that Penguins fans might not recognize at first glace. They aren’t drafted. They aren’t signed. But they’re more than just along for the ride.

One should keep in mind that once-unsigned, undrafted players like Jean-Sébastien Dea and Reid Gardiner made huge impressions at the rookie tournament once upon a time. They turned those strong showings into training camp invites and eventually contracts.

The following are just a few of the players fans might not be all too familiar with that could end up making waves in Buffalo this upcoming weekend. Continue reading



2015 IIHF Ice Hockey U18 World Championship
Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins assistant coach J.D. Forrest is one of the coaches (along with Pens bench boss Clark Donatelli) leading the United States Under 18 Select Team at the 2017 Ivan Hlinka Memorial Cup, taking place in Breclav, Czech Republic and Bratislava, Slovakia.  

The tournament features the top players under the age of 18 from the major hockey playing countries.  The teams are split into two groups (Group A – Czech Republic, Sweden, Switzerland, USA; Group B – Canada, Finland, Russia, Slovakia), with each team playing once against the other countries within its group.

The top two teams in each group will advance to play in semifinal and medal rounds, while the lower ranked teams will face off to determine places five through eight.

J.D. will be keeping us up to date throughout the two weeks he’s overseas with blog posts and photos (check them out below).  Fans can stream the United States’ games online at as well. 

The full U.S. team schedule for the 2017 Ivan Hlinka Memorial Cup:

 Thursday, August 3  Hungary U-20  2:00 pm  Exhibition Game  Budapest, Hungary
 Saturday, August 5  Slovakia U-18  11:30 am  Exhibition Game  Bratislava, Slovakia
 Monday, August 7  Sweden  9:30 am  Preliminary Round  Breclav, Czech Republic
 Tuesday, August 8  Switzerland  9:30 am  Preliminary Round  Breclav, Czech Republic
 Wednesday, August 9  Czech Republic  1:00 pm  Preliminary Round  Breclav, Czech Republic
 Friday, August 11  TBD  TBD  TBD  TBD
 Saturday, August 12  TBD  TBD  TBD  TBD

July 30 (Day 1) – Great to be Back with USA Hockey
First off, it’s such an honor to be working with USA Hockey and the staff that they’ve put together. Starting with Clark being a former Olympic team captain our whole staff has experience with USA Hockey in some capacity. That experience is going to help guide our team through a very tough Ivan Hlinka Memorial Tournament.
We’re beginning our travel in Newark and heading to Budapest, Hungary for a pre tournament training camp. We have 22 players from all over the country ready to represent the Red white and blue.  I’ll check in later on from Budapest!

August 1 (Day 3) 

After a long flight and a bit of a bus ride we’ ve arrived in Budapest. We are staying on the Buda side of the Danube River overlooking the Pest side in a really neat old hotel. One thing I wasn’t prepared for is the 100 degree heat with  no AC, but I’ll be spending most of my time in a rink so I think I’ll survive.
Our first practice went well and we have a really good group of kids on our team. Everyone had good energy and jet lag wasn’t a factor today.  Tomorrow we have a longer practice to work on our systems and special teams, followed by a game Thursday evening vs the Hungarian U20 team. We are excited to see how quickly the kids can adapt to the style of play we want.

August 3 (Day 5) 

Last night we played the u20 Hungarian national team which was a good game. We ended up winning 4-2 and we were real happy with how our guys competed against a much older team. Hungary isn’t exactly known for their hockey but in the past 10 years they have made big strides in growing the game. The player pool has gotten bigger and there are more and more clubs to play for around the country.


blog_DeSmithLike every summer before it and surely like summers to come, this offseason has been a busy one for the Penguins organization. There’s a lot that’s happened at the NHL and AHL levels, whether it’s been contract extensions, newcomers or departures.

Just in case you missed anything while you were taking a well-deserved vacation or just got caught up in the whirlwind of the 24-hour news cycle, we’ve compiled a list of all free agency moves made by Pittsburgh and Wilkes-Barre/Scranton.

Who’s coming? Who’s staying? Who’s leaving? Answers to all those questions in the sections below.

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MEET THE PENGUINS: 2017 NHL Entry Draft Recap

2017 Draft logoThis is your one-stop shop during the 2017 NHL Entry Draft! Whether or not you’re following along with the television broadcast or just hitting the refresh button on mobile, Skating on the Susquehanna is exactly where Penguins fans want to be on draft night.

Unless some deals are struck, Pittsburgh won’t make its first selection in the 2017 NHL Entry Draft until the very last pick of the first round. So we’ll be updating this live blog with anything interesting happening in the first round leading up to the Penguins’ pick at 31. After that, we’ll only cover every one of Pittsburgh’s picks on Saturday.

Every player selection will be accompanied by a detailed scouting report, so you know exactly who’s just joined the organization and who could be suiting up for Wilkes-Barre/Scranton someday down the line.

This blog was updated LIVE throughout the draft festivities on Friday and Saturday, and has since been reorganized to show the Penguins’ picks in chronological order first. You can scroll all the way to the bottom to see old updates from our first round coverage:
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2017 NHL DRAFT PREVIEW: Potential Penguins Targets

Nolan or NicoAfter the historic expansion draft in Las Vegas on Wednesday night, the hockey world is back to its regularly scheduled program. Up next in the offseason is the 2017 NHL Entry Draft, for which the finest young stars will blow into the Windy City in hopes of being whisked away by an NHL club. Of course, many of the players selected on June 23 and 24 will dazzle fans in the AHL, as well.

At the top of the draft rankings are two centermen separated by the slimmest of margins, creating one of the most hotly contested “Who’s No. 1?” debates in hockey history. By virtue of winning the Stanley Cup for the second year in a row, the Pittsburgh Penguins aren’t a part of the Nico or Nolan conversation. Pittsburgh’s first selection will comes 31st overall, followed by picks in rounds three, five (2), six and seven.

Just because the marquee-name prospects won’t mean all the talent will be scooped up by the time the Penguins are on the clock. Recent Pittsburgh and Wilkes-Barre/Scranton stars like Oskar Sundqvist, Bryan Rust, Scott Wilson and Matt Murray weren’t even taken in the first 80 picks of their respective drafts. Jake Guentzel was selected 77th overall in 2013, and there’s not a hockey fan on planet earth who can try and belittle what he’s accomplished in his short pro career so far.

The point is: There’s always talent available at any point in any draft class. You just have to find it. Here are some names that Pittsburgh might be considering calling in Chicago this weekend…

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