The Pittsburgh Penguins rookies went to Canada again for a rookie tournament against the Senators, Canadiens and Maple Leafs. The tone for this weekend was kind of set when Pittsburgh announced that Oskar Sundqvist (the most accomplished player going) was being held out for "precautionary reasons".
So here's a brief look at the 3 games, all Pens losses and what we learned.
Friday: Penguins 3, Montreal 8
Josh Archibald (#21 on the 2016 Pensburgh Top 25 Under 25 list) is serving as the rookie team captain. Lukas Bengtsson, who's never played a game in a Pens jersey and was only signed to the organization months ago, is an alternate captain. Which kind of tells you how important this tournament is.
Josh Archibald gets the C. Bengtsson and Dea each have an A. -MC pic.twitter.com/e7twPOeFb9— Pens Inside Scoop (@PensInsideScoop) September 16, 2016
21 seconds into the game though, Bengtsson scores and all looks well. This would change in a hurry.
Montreal would score the next 5 goals on Tristan Jarry and chase him early in the 3rd period.
The teams trade a few goals but Pittsburgh falls 8-3. Bengtsson, Christian Hilbrich (AHL contract) and Jake Guentzel (#8 in Pensburgh T25U25) are the goal scorers for the good guys.
Saturday: Penguins 0, Ottawa 1
Nice bounce back for Jarry, who stops 26 of 27 and the Pens rookies throw 43 shots on goal, but get no satisfaction.
Also, for what it's worth 2016 3rd round pick Connor Hall was a scratch for this and the next game after a bumpy first game.
Sunday: Penguins 5, Toronto 6 (OT)
After scoring 2 goals early by 2 guys no one has ever heard of (tryout Milos Bubela and AHL contract Michael Webster), Pensburgh #17 T25U25 Teddy Blueger made it 3-0 before the lead got frittered away.
Dominik Simon scored late on the power play to tie the game at 5, but Tornoto would score in OT to win it.
This tournament barely makes a ripple in the lake for meaningful action. That the Pens held Sundqvist (who's not even projected to be in the opening day NHL lineup) show it's worth in the big picture.
Still, there were impressive performances, as always is the case when young players get to put the skating Penguin on. Unsurprisingly, Guentzel, AHL Wilkes-Barre's leading scorer in the playoffs, was at the top of the list.
WBS coach Donatelli on Guentzel: "He got better and better as it went on. He’s going to be a hell of a player." -MC— Pens Inside Scoop (@PensInsideScoop) September 18, 2016
Bengtsson too, after scoring early could elevate his stock heading into training camp. He still will almost certainly be starting the season in the AHL - something he's said he's fine with - but in the case of an injury he could be a first option for a call-up if he continues to impress.
All things considered, good that's over with and now we can look forward to training camp opening up next week.