Defenseman Derrick Pouliot and forwards Bryan Rust and Scott Wilson – each of whom saw NHL action last season – headline the list of 26 prospects the Penguins have invited to the rookie tournament in London, Ontario from Sept. 10-13, it was announced today by executive vice president and general manager Jim Rutherford.
The Penguins’ rookie tournament roster also includes reigning AHL goaltender and rookie of the year Matt Murray; forward Oskar Sundqvist, who has helped his Swedish Elite League team reach back-to-back championship series; and winger Conor Sheary, Wilkes-Barre/Scranton’s leading scorer in 2014-15.
Pittsburgh will play three games against the Montreal Canadiens, Ottawa Senators and Toronto Maple Leafs at Budweiser Gardens, home of the Ontario Hockey League’s London Knights.
The Penguins open tournament play on Friday, Sept. 11 at 4 p.m. against the Canadiens. One day later the Penguins and Senators square off, also at 4 p.m. Pittsburgh plays its final game on Sunday, Sept. 13 at 7:30 p.m. against the Toronto Maple Leafs.
The games will be live streamed on penguins.nhl.com and the Penguins app. Michelle Crechiolo of Penguins.nhl.com and @PensInsideScoop will be on site to provide behind-the-scenes coverage all weekend.
Pittsburgh’s roster includes 16 forwards, eight defensemen and two goaltenders. Exactly half of the players invited to camp were drafted by the Penguins, including this year’s top selection, forward Daniel Sprong.
Pouliot is the most NHL-experienced of the group, having skated in 34 games with Pittsburgh as a rookie, tallying seven points (2G-5A). Those numbers include a goal on his first NHL shot in his debut Dec. 20 against the Florida Panthers at CONSOL Energy Center.
Rust, who had 27 points (13G-14A) in 45 regular-season games with WBS, also cracked the NHL in ‘14-15, registering two points (1G-1A) in 14 contests.
Wilson was WBS’ fourth-leading point producer in ’14-15, finishing with 41 points (19G-22A) in 55 games. He made his NHL debut on Dec. 2 against New Jersey, but was injured early in the contest. Wilson also dressed for three NHL playoff games against the Rangers.
Murray, who established an AHL record by posting a 304:11-minute shutout stretch, will share the crease in London with first-year pro Tristan Jarry, who was Pittsburgh’s top pick (2nd round; 44th overall) in 2013. Murray, who was named an AHL First-Team All-Star, led the AHL in goals-against average (1.58), shutouts (12) and save percentage (.941).
Sundqvist, who nearly made Pittsburgh’s opening-night roster last year after scoring twice and adding an assist in NHL exhibition play, and Sheary, who led WBS in scoring in both the regular season and playoffs, will pace a forward group that has 10 players signed to NHL two-way contracts entering the upcoming season.
This year’s rookie tournament will mark the first games behind the bench for the freshly-minted WBS Penguins coaching staff led by head coach Mike Sullivan and his assistant, Jay Leach. Both helped run the Penguins’ annual prospect development camp in July at CONSOL Energy Center.
Below is a full rookie tournament roster and game schedule:
Friday, September 11, 2015
4:00 p.m. Game vs. Montreal
Saturday, September 12, 2015
4:00 p.m. Game vs. Ottawa
Sunday, September 13, 2015
7:30 p.m. Game vs. Toronto
Click to download full roster