With the Memorial Cup in the books, the Wilkes-barre/Scranton have officially signed Scott Harrington and Olli Maatta to ATOs, so they will be joining the Baby Pens as the newest members of the Black Aces squad. They practiced with the main squad today. Word on the (Coal) Street is that Derrick Pouliot is expected to join the team soon too.
“It’s nice to have guys like that come in. It’s one of the great things about the American League. You get to work with high-end prospects that are young guys first turning pro. It’s nice to have them. Yeah, there’s a possibility those guys would get in the lineup.” - Coach Hynes
The local press seems to have reached a consensus that it is unlikely that any of them will actually end up playing in any games, since they already have 8 experienced D on the roster, and the Conference Finals (against our Division Champion no less) aren't really the best place to be experimenting with rookies. However, if they do find it necessary to use any of them, Harrington is the most likely as at 20 years old he has now aged out of the juniors and will be joining them in WBS next season.
Currently Dylan Reese is still "Day-to-Day" with an undisclosed injury. He is a 28 year old veteran and sometimes Alternate Captain with 341 AHL games and 77 NHL games under his belt, so when he is healthy he is likely to resume his regular position. Normally he is manning one of the top spots on D, and his usual partner Brian Dumoulin is still there manning the Top Pair. Dumoulin is a 21 year old AHL rookie, but he played well enough to earn a top spot and has now played in 85 AHL games. Currently joining him during Reese's absence is 21 year old sophomore D Philip Samuelsson. Samuelsson has already played 133 AHL games in WBS, and though not a "veteran" has established his place on the roster. Below them on the 2nd Pair (Samuelsson's normal partner) is 30 year old Captain (and an absolute giant of a man) Joey Mormina. Mormina has played almost his entire lengthy career in the AHL, racking up 573 AHL games (and 1 lone NHL game), mostly in WBS. Obviously as the Captain and a long time veteran of the team he isn't going anywhere.
After that, the 3rd Pair is a little less certain. 24 year old Alex Grant has a few years with the team, playing in 151 AHL games with WBS. While he is pretty much relegated to the 3rd Pair, his vast skill as the PP quarterback makes him essential to the team and thus incredibly unlikely for him to be replaced. Although having seen what Pouliot is capable of in the juniors, if he shines in practice they may consider giving him an opportunity. It is still rather unlikely though, as Grant has plenty of experience in the system. Joining him is usually 21 year old rookie Reid McNeill. McNeill spent most of the year with the Wheeling Nailers, so he only has 15 AHL games to his name. Considering his age and relative inexperience, it is possible they could scratch him if they like what they see in one of the juniors better. Additional connection: Harrington previously played with McNeill in London.
Beyond that, we have Peter Merth, the Wheeling Nailers Captain, who has been skating with Mormina on the 2nd Pair while Reese is out. Merth is 25 years old, but has spent most of his career in the ECHL, having only played in 24 AHL games. However, he is doing quite well in the AHL, already having 2 Assists and a +5 Rating in 5 playoff games. So replacing him is unlikely, and it is certainly possible that when Reese returns Merth will stay in the lineup, probably resulting in McNeill getting scratched. In addition, we have 25 year old AHL veteran Cody Wild. Wild spent half the year in Wheeling (joining after the lockout ended and WBS lost 3 D), and spent most of his time in WBS as the 7th D healthy scratch, but he has 205 AHL games in his career, so he certainly wins as far as experience goes.
Lastly, skating with the team purely as a Black Ace and even less unlikely to play than the new acquisitions is Harrison Ruopp. Ruopp is now 20 years old, so like Harrington it looks like he will be joining WBS next season. So if Ruopp has been with the team for weeks now without getting an opportunity to play, it is incredibly unlikely that Pouliot/Maatta/Harrington will manage to do so either. Of course they all had more impressive junior careers, so if anybody is needed they are more likely to play than Ruopp.