This really just goes to show two things. One, how perfectly the waiver process works, and two how deep the Penguins really are.
Dea, 24, just scored 50 points (18 goals + 32 assists) in 70 AHL games last season. He also got five games in Pittsburgh at the NHL level and scored his first career goal. The Pens were high on him and general manager Jim Rutherford even commented over the summer that the team felt he was pretty much an NHL caliber player.
First, New Jersey adds a player that Pittsburgh has no need for at the NHL level. NJ GM Ray Shero signed Dea as an undrafted free agent to Pittsburgh in 2014, so it’s no coincidence he’s giving Dea another chance.
Second, Dea was the #7 or #8 center in the Pens organization after they signed Derek Grant and Matt Cullen in the offseason. Add those two to Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin, Derick Brassard and Riley Sheahan and you can already see there’s no room for Dea in the NHL. Rutherford and the Pens also think Teddy Blueger is close to NHL level, but there’s no room for him either at this time.
Waivers are designed so young players don’t get buried in the minors forever when they may be good enough to play for another team. Dea had virtually no NHL future in Pittsburgh this season (especially if Blueger had passed him in line). Dea gets a chance on a new team. That’s the system at work. Stinks for the Pens - and especially the AHL Pens since Dea is a game-changing impact player at the AHL level- but as a feeder league to the NHL it’s good for Dea to move on.
And, with fringe level players, you never know what might happen. If NJ elects to waive Dea soon Pittsburgh could choose to claim him back. And there’s good reason for them to do so. The book for now on Dea and the Pens is closed, but the door isn’t necessarily shut forever.
That bit aside, today is the last lazy Sunday here before the regular season starts. And it’s a beauty of a fall day on the east coast so hopefully everyone takes advantage of it.
One last note - we at Pensburgh have a brand new podcast dropping tomorrow, for your listening pleasure! It will post here, you can listen through the website or on a mobile browser. We’re working on getting it on the typical podcast platforms (iTunes, Soundcloud, Spotify) so thanks in advance for the patience as this gets off the ground.
I guess I’ll reveal here a day early- our first guest is a buddy of mine, a longtime Pensburgh reader and a very knowledgeable source on the Pens - and host of the Penguins Radio Network, Brian Metzer. Metz was gracious enough to give us some of his time and join us to give some 411 about camp so far. We touched on all the topics you should want to hear about from in depth and team-level talk on what to make of the camp activity of Juuso Riikola, Daniel Sprong and Zach Aston-Reese as well as light-hearted moments like working with franchise legends in Phil Bourque and Mike Lange. So please check it out tomorrow and let us know what you think, we’re excited to roll this new audio piece out.
Our plan is to have a new podcast out every Monday morning to start your work week off right. Our writer Garrett has done a lot of production work and even added fancy transition elements and music and all that so it will be quality product that’s worthy of your time. Garrett will be the constant on the show (and he’s a good broadcaster, so lucky you) and we’ll rotate a second co-host between myself, Darnay, Kait and Robbie over the weeks as it goes on to keep things fresh and give a broad perspective of opinions, outlooks, takes and tones.
We are almost confirmed to have a former Penguin player on next week as a guest on the second episode. We’re trying to bring unique and informed perspectives from some “names” to hopefully differentiate this podcast from any old random fans just shooting the breeze and talking to themselves. Not that there’s anything wrong with that, but we’re lucky enough to have a lot of great contacts and should be able to get interesting guests on to talk Penguins hockey over the course of the season so we’re very excited to bring our large and ever-growing blog audience more content.
I really think this will be a great new avenue and a nice supplement to the written blog, and hopefully accessible to everyone through many different formats. So look for that tomorrow morning and though I dare ask the internet for feedback, please do let us know what you think and we will try to incorporate and improve as it goes forward.