So, yesterday was a fun day. Lots of things happened. The Pens organization said goodbye to Paul Martin (single tear), Blake Comeau (mark Geno's birthday, July 31, and keep sending big presents), Daniel Winnik, Steve Downie, Thomas Greiss, Jayson Megna and Taylor Chorney, who all signed elsewhere as free agents. Gone via trades are Kasperi Kapanen, Scott Harrington and Nick Spaling. Most importantly, there is a whole raft of new Penguins: Phil Kessel, Sergei Plotnikov, Tyler Biggs, Tim Erixon, Steve Oleksy, Kevin Porter, Kael Mouillierat and David Warsofsky. Let's meet the new guys and see where they've been and what they've done.
We're starting off with Kael Mouillierat (pronounced Kale MOO-ler-rat). He was born on September 9, 1987 in Edmonton. He played four seasons of college hockey for Minnesota State University-Mankato but went undrafted by the NHL. He played a couple of excellent seasons for ECHL's Idaho Steelheads, scoring 119 points in 117 games. In his profile from the Steelheads days, he is described as a quiet guy who is just glad to play hockey for a living.
He then moved on to the AHL, where he put in a few decent seasons for St. John's IceCaps and Bridgeport Sound Tigers. He excelled in 2014 Calder Cup playoffs with 7 key goals and 6 assists for the runner-up IceCaps. Upon signing with the Islanders organization as a free agent in 2014, he played for the Isles in the 2014-15 preseason. He also played 6 regular-season games for the NHL club and left a good impression on John Capuano. He scored his first career NHL goal (not counting the preseason) in that call-up stint, at age 27 following 354 ECHL and AHL games. Everyone loves an underdog story, and this guy is definitely persevering against the odds.
Mouillierat has been a 20-goal, 50-point player for the last two seasons. He will certainly be a decent addition to the WBS Penguins lineup. He obviously has a deft scoring touch. Maybe a minor thing to nitpick that jumps out of his EP page is the relatively high number of PIMs.
A fun fact to note: while on one of his hottest streaks, WBS goalie Matt Murray stopped 109 of 110 shots this past February. The one goal he gave up was to Kael Mouillierat. No worries about that now, as Mouillierat signed a one-year, two-way contract with the Penguins on Wednesday worth $575K at the NHL level.
Some of his scoring highlights include:
- One of the best goals of 2011-12 ECHL season, which even made #3 on ESPN top 10 plays
- First career NHL goal in February 2015
- Amazing backhand lacrosse-style goal in March 2015 against the Binghamton Senators, another SportsCenter highlight. This is a pretty incredible goal, one of the best I've ever seen.
A fun player to watch and definitely a fan favorite in the AHL, Kael Mouillierat projects to continue in the AHL for now. I don't think his two-way game is good enough to give him an edge in competing for a spot on the fourth line in Pittsburgh. He is a versatile player who can be at center or either wing, though, so I'm excited to see if he can maybe battle for a spot.