Welcome to the second installment of our off-season movement tracking series the Pens Transaction Recap!
Inside this edition we have:
23 transactions & personnel moves.
5 comings/goings from the Pens org.
2 on-roster Penguins moves.
9 ex-Pens in all.
Chad Ruhwedel, Jusso Riikola, Josh Jooris, Andrej Sustr, Antti Niemi, Jarred Tinordi, Ty Loney, Chris Bourque, Lukas Bengtsson, Janne Pesonen, Bob Boughner, Dave Tippett, and Paul Coffey all involved.
As May wrapped and June began we're deeper into hockey signing season and saw another sizable batch of moves by and pertinent to the Penguins from around the hockey world.
The Pens were active again making a handful of moves involving 2 current roster pieces and 3 more involving futures. Nothing major, but your typical early summer "house keeping" type tweaks but things that will set the stage for potentially bigger changes at the NHL Draft on June 21st and Free Agency Day on July 1st. Specifically, the Pens got a couple of pending, depth player free agents off the "to-do" list and they added a new, young net-minder to the fold. They also had a couple significant shifts in their prospect ranks which shook up their stock of defense futures. In all 5 players were involved in moves of some sort within the organization.
Elsewhere there were a lot of comings and goings in Europe, as spring is their major signing period. And League-wide, several NHL teams filled in crucial coaching and front-office gigs that involved some Penguins linked names which will be pertinent to the upcoming season.
Once again I want to mention this space is where I’ll collect all of the Pens connected transactions from all over the NHL and world-wide. The goal is to keep you informed of all the various relevant player movements throughout the off-season.
The various entries are categorized by current "Penguins Transactions" and "Other Transactions" and listed with the most recent first.
Here's the format to find the most crucial details quickly. They're listed under the date and players name:
-Date of Event- Player (Pos., Current Team [League])-
Move Type | Former Team--->Future Team | Term | Signed Through | Money Per Yr | Pens History* (*If applicable- Former Pens only)
Recap of recent Pens related transactions for the weeks of May 15-June 7, 2019:
Pens organization transactions: current players coming, going, and other movements.
-6/2/2019- Emil Lermi (G, HPK [Liiga])-
Signing | HPK (Liiga)--->Pittsburgh Penguins (NHL) | 2 Years | 2020-21 | $700,000
22-year-old Finnish born Lermi was signed to a 2 year entry-level contract with the Pens. He'll join goalies Tristan Jarry and Alex D'Orio in the system's goalie prospect ranks. This addition was likely made to strengthen the young depth at the position that the Penguins lost when they parted with both Sean McGuire and Filip Gustavsson in the 2017-18 season. They also failed to find a adequate fresh recruit during this past season or the 2018 Draft to fill the void either. Although Lermi was undrafted, scouting reports on him are positive and he led Finland's HPK club to the Liiga championship this year as their starting goaltender. So he exhibits some legitimate promise and just so happens to fit the team's needs perfectly.
-Sources: Pittsburgh Penguins
-5/31/2019- Clayton Phillips (D, University of Minnesota [NCAA])-
Departure | Minnesota (NCAA)--->Unknown | N/A | N/A | N/A
Pens' defensive prospect Clayton Phillips' situation has undergone a world of change very suddenly. The college sophomore is reportedly transferring from hockey powerhouse Minnesota after struggling there. Potentially because, as suggested in the source link, he made the leap to college play before ready. And under the NCAA's strict eligibility rules he'd have to sit out an entire season before being okay-ed to play for another school. Penn State and Colorado College have been mentioned as possible landing spots for him but an entire season's growth lost at his age (19) it a significant blow to his development. It will essentially put him 2 years behind in his original progression path, no matter what happens to him in upcoming 2019-20 season. Obviously, the Pens can't be trilled at this possibility so it will be interesting to see where they suggest he go next. He does have some junior eligibility left with Muskegon of the USHL but that would be a step backwards in playing levels and a provide him with limited growth in a league largely made of pre-drafted, teenaged players. No matter what Phillips will certainly take a large tumble down the Penguins' prospect depth chart.
-Source: Grand Forks Herald/The Rink Live
-5/30/2019- Juuso Rikkola (D, Pittsburgh Penguins [NHL])-
Extension | Penguins (NHL)--->Penguins (NHL) | 1 Year | 2019-20 | $850,000
Pending Restricted Free Agent Juuso Rikkola and the Pens have agreed to terms to keep the 25-year-old with Pittsburgh for another season. Rikkola showed some nice promise in his NHL debut season this year and suited up in 37 games total. A decent start for a young gun who surprising made the squad from training camp out of the blue. And this early summer signing signals that he is indeed thought of in a pretty favorable light within the organization, as they made signing him early a priority. Juuso will still retain RFA status when this contract expires next year as well.
-5/23/2019- Chad Ruhwedel (D, Pittsburgh Penguins [NHL])-
Extension | Penguins (NHL)--->Penguins (NHL) | 2 Years | 2020-21 | $700,000
The Penguins are also bringing back 29-year-old depth defenseman Chad Ruhwedel for 2 more seasons at an economical $700k. He's played 3 seasons with the Pens thus far and 2019-20 will be his 4th. Although he appeared in just 18 games for the Penguin this year, he played in more expanse in 2017-18 at 44 games and 34 games in the 2016-17 Cup year. He's pitched in at the AHL level with WBS throughout his Pens tenure as well. Ruhwedel's a low-risk defenseman, "stay-at-home" defensive player who's well liked by the coaches and plays his reserve role well and without complaint. He's been a handy player to have on-call and is likely to continue to be.
-Source: Pittsburgh Penguins
-5/9/2019- Zachary Lauzon (D, Pittsburgh Penguins [NHL])-
Departure | Pittsburgh Penguins (NHL)--->Unknown | N/A | N/A | N/A
In another significant blow to the Penguins' defensive prospects, the team has decided to part with often injured 2017 2nd round pick Zachary Lauzon. They relinquished his rights by failing to sign him to an entry-level contract before the deadline to do so. Although considered a very promising D-prospect, Lauzon has suffered concussion problems for the better part of the last 2 years. He didn’t play at all this season and remains listed as out of action currently. With his future very much unknown the Pens have had to step away. An tough decision to make on both ends, as he was thought of as one of Pittsburgh's best defensive futures and was their highest drafted current "D" prospect in the system. Lauzon will hopefully be able to bounce back once healthy and regain a position in the league, as he’s still just 20-years-old.
All other, non-system transactions: tracking ex-Pens & other former organizational players on the move. (Note: European teams don't disclose financial terms, so money per year is not applicable.)
-6/7/2019- Josh Jooris (F, Toronto Maple Leafs [NHL])-
Signing | Maple Leafs (NHL)--->Lausanne (NLA) | 3 Year | 2021-22 | N/A | Ex-Pen
Former Pen Josh Jooris made the leap across the pond and has signed with Lausanne of the NLA league in Switzerland. The contract runs for 3-years which is an unusual length for European signings, but likely due to the significant connections Jooris has with the club. It’s the same organization where he got his start in youth hockey while his father Mark was playing for their senior side. Josh spent all of last season with Toronto's AHL affiliate while signed to the team and played a brief 9 game stint for the Pens the year before that.
-6/7/2019- Christophe Lalancette (F, Jacksonville IceMen [ECHL])-
Signing | Jacksonville (ECHL)--->Dukla Michalovce (1.Liga) | 1 year | 2019-20 | N/A | Ex-Invitee
25-year-old Lalancette is a former Penguins Rookie Tournament free agent invitee from 2014. In the years since then he’s been a career ECHLer in the pro ranks and hit some hard times last season when he bounced around 4 different ECHL teams. This fresh start in the deeper ranks of Europe (the 2nd tier of Slovakian hockey) sounds like it’s needed.
-Source: HK Dukla Michalovce
-6/7/2019- Andrej Sustr (D, Anaheim Ducks [NHL])-
Signing | Anaheim Ducks (NHL)--->Kunlun Red Star (KHL) | 1 Year | 2019-20 | N/A | Ex-Invitee
Andrej Sustr, a former Pens Development Camp invitee from 2012, has signed with the Chinese KHL franchise Kunlun Red Star. Sustr had fallen down the NHL ranks recently from his career peak as a Stanley Cup Finalist with the Lighting in 2015. He was signed to the Ducks last season but only made it into 5 games with the team, spending the majority of the season assigned to the San Diego Gulls in the AHL. He joins a pair of fellow Pens-linked players on Kunlun’s roster in Brandon DeFazio and Mathew Maione.
-Source: Kunlun Red Star
-6/5/2019- Antti Niemi (G, Montreal Canadiens [NHL])-
Signing | Montreal Canadiens (NHL)--->Jokerit (KHL) | 1 Year | 2019-20 | N/A | Ex-Pen
Ex-Penguin Antti Niemi has left North America and signed back in his home country of Finland with Jokerit for 1 year. This will be the first full season he's signed on to play in Europe since his 11-year NHL career began, save for a brief stint there forced by the 2012/13 lockout. Considering that fact and his being age 35 this might mark the end of his NHL career. If it is Niemi walks away having won 1 Stanley Cup with Chicago in 2010, played in 2 Western Conference Finals in 2010 & 2011, and earned a Vezina Trophy nomination in 2013.
-6/3/2019- Peter Lenes (F, Kitzbuheler EC [AlpsHL])-
Extension | Kitzbuheler (AlpsHL)--->Kitzbuheler (AlpsHL) | 1 Year | 2019-20 | N/A | Ex-Nailer
2 season Wheeling Nailers veteran, Lenes, has re-signed for another year with Kitzbuheler EC in Alps Hockey League where he acts as Captain. The AlpsHL being the Italian/Austrian/Slovenia multi-country merger that took the place of Italy’s former “Serie A”. Lenes has played 6 seasons in Europe since leaving the Nailers in 2013 and is on his 5th season with Kitzbuheler specifically.
-Source: Kitzbuheler EC
-5/30/2019- Joey Haddad (F, Cardiff Devils [EIHL])-
Extension | Cardiff Devils (EIHL)--->Cardiff Devils (EIHL) | 1 Year | 2019-20 | N/A | Ex-WBS Pen
Former WBS Penguin Joey Haddad has extended for another year with the Cardiff Devils in the United Kingdom. This will be his 6th season with the team where he's won 2 EIHL championships.
-Source: Cardiff Devils
-5/29/2019- Jarred Tinordi (D, Nashville Predators [NHL])-
Extension | Predators (NHL)--->Predators (NHL) | 2 Years | 2020-21 | $700,000 | Ex-WBS Pen
27-year-old Jarred Tinordi has re-upped with the Predators on a 2 year, 2-way contract. He's expected to play mostly for Nashville's AHL team the Milwaukee Admirals where he is currently the team Captain. Tinordi will earn $700,000 at the NHL level and $300,000 at the AHL with his new deal. He had a 1 season tenure with the Pens in 2017-18 where he played entirely in WBS.
-Source: Nashville Predators
-5/29/2019- Ty Loney (F, Graz 99ers [EBEL])-
Signing | Graz 99ers (EBEL)--->Vienna Capitals (EBEL) | 1 year | 2019-20 | N/A| Ex-WBS Pen
Valencia, PA native, Ty Loney has inked his second European contract moving from the Graz 99ers to the Vienna Capitals in Austria's EBEL league. The son of former Penguin Troy will play his 6th pro season this year. Ty spent the 2015-16 season signed to the Pens organization when he split time between Wilkes-Barre and the Wheeling Nailers. Loney really came into his own during his debut European season, he was the leading scorer with Graz last year and the 7th leading scorer in the entire Austrian league. He was apparently in demand around several leagues and teams overseas from that performance.
-Source: Vienna Capitals
-5/28/2019- Parker Bowles (F, Lillehammer [Get Ligaen])-
Signing | Lillehammer (GetLigaen)--->Orli Znojmo (EBEL) | 1 Year | 2019-20 | N/A | Ex-Nailer
Parker Bowles played a extremely brief 5 games for Wheeling in 2015-16 after numerous strong junior seasons in the WHL but his time with the team did not amount a long-term contract. That was his only pro experience in North America. He's remained strictly in Europe since then after spending a single season in Canada's collegiate USports league.
-Source: HC Orli
-5/27/2019- Chris Bourque (F, Bridgeport Sound Tigers [AHL])-
Signing | Bridgeport (AHL)--->EHC Munchen (DEL) | 1 Year | 2019-20 | N/A | Ex-Pen
Former Pen Chris Bourque has played in the AHL for the majority of 13 seasons. He's done it all there, winning the Calder Cup 3 times and being named an All-Star 4 times. Now at 33 he's making an attempt to find success in Europe leagues with the DEL.
-Source: EHC Red Bull Munchen
-5/26/2019- Nilan Nagy (D, Ujpesti TE [Erste Liga])-
Extension | Ujpesti (Erste Liga)--->Ujpesti (Erste Liga) | 1 Year | 2019-20 | N/A | Ex-Nailer
Ex-Nailer Nagy, a Canonsburg native and a Youngstown Phantom & Pittsburgh Predator alumnus, has extended his contract with Ujpesti for another year. This will be his 4th season playing in the Hungary as part of the Erste Liga. He signed there after leaving the Nailers in 2015-16.
-Source: UTE Facebook
-5/24/2019- Brandon DeFazio (F, Lukko [Liiga])-
Signing | Lukko (Liiga)--->Kunlun Red Star (KHL) | 1 Year | 2019-20 | N/A | Ex-WBS Pen
30-year-old DeFazio signed with Kunlun Red Star for a second stint with the team. The former Penguins prospect will be teammates with Mathew Maione and Andrej Sustr in China. This will be DeFazio's 3rd season abroad after leaving the continent back in 2017.
-Source: Kunlun Red Star Twitter
-5/21/2019- Lukas Bengtsson (D, Linkoping [Liiga])-
Signing | Linkoping (Liiga)--->SKA St. Petersburg (KHL) | 2 Years | 2020-21 | N/A | Ex-WBS Pen
Lukas Bengtsson has landed with SKA St. Petersburg of the KHL after leaving his prior home in Finland's Linkoping. Bengtsson played for WBS from 2016-2018 before deciding to return to his home continent in Europe. He'll be making his KHL league debut with SKA, where ex-Pen Sergei Plotnikov will be a teammate.
-5/16/2019- Janne Pesonen (F, Vaxjo Lakers [Liiga])-
Signing | Vaxjo (Liiga)--->Karpat (Liiga) | 2 Year | 2020-21 | N/A | Ex-Pen
37-year-old Janne Pesonen will remain playing for at least 2 more years as he’s signed with Finnish team Karpat. This upcoming season will be his 19th as a pro and the second year of his contract will bring him into his 20th season. That will give him the distinctive honor of remaining a first tier league player for 2 whole decades.
All ex-Pens turned hockey staff & former organizational staff on the move in coaching or front office jobs. (Note: Term, Signed Through, & Salary is not applicable with staff.)
-6/4/2019- Peter Mannino, Head Coach Des Moines Buccaneers (USHL)-
Signing | Miami (OH) Assoc. Coach (NCAA) ---> Buccaneers Head Coach (USHL) | Ex-WBS Pen
-5/29/2019- Bob Boughner, Assistant Coach San Jose Sharks (NHL)-
Signing | Panthers Head Coach (NHL)--->Sharks Assistant Coach (NHL) | Ex-Pen
Former Penguin Bob Boughner has returned to former role as an Assistant Coach with the San Jose Sharks after being fired as the Florida Panthers' head coach earlier this off-season. His tenure in Florida lasted a brief 2 years from 2017-2019.
-Source: San Jose Sharks
-5/28/2019- Dave Tippett, Head Coach Edmonton Oilers (NHL)-
Signing | NHL Seattle Senior Advisor (NHL)--->Oilers Head Coach (NHL) | Ex-Pen
One of two former Penguins hired as a coach in as many days, Dave Tippett will return to coaching action taking the reigns of the new Ken Holland era Oilers. Tippett had been working as an advisor for the NHL's Seattle expansion team. That group was probably hoping to move him into a head coach role when the time came to begin play in 2021 but this opportunity was one he couldn't refuse. His last proper coaching job was of course with the Arizona Coyotes for 8 years from 2009-2017.
-5/28/2019- Paul Coffey, Free Agent Staff/Coach (NHL)-
Departure | Oilers Skills Development Coach (NHL)--->Unknown | Ex-Pen
In addition to hiring Tippett the Oilers also fired another ex-Pen on the same day. Paul Coffey was let go as Edmonton's skill development coach in move seen as big shake-up to the team's habit of worshiping their past a little too much instead of focusing on the present. It was just Coffey's second year in his position. And as of now it remains to be seen whether Coffey is interested in pursuing jobs elsewhere.
This is it for this installment of Pens Transaction Recap. I’ll see you again in 2 weeks with the next installment of this series! Plus check out our prior Pens Transaction Recaps below:
-2019 Signing Season Pens Transaction Recaps Archives-
-May 1-14, 2019: https://www.pensreport.com/single-post/2019/05/15/Pens-Transaction-Recap-May-1-14-2019
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