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Penguins sign forward Stefan Noesen and Samuel Poulin’s WJC dream ends

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A look at what the former NJD forward Stefan Noesen can offer the Pens...And in other news 2019 first round pick Samuel Poulin’s chase for a WJC spot is over

NHL: NOV 13 Penguins at Devils Photo by Rich Graessle/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

The Penguins made a move to add some forward depth earlier today, promoting Stefan Noesen from an AHL contract to a full NHL contract and placing him on the NHL roster.

In a way, you could kind of see this coming. Noesen has 14 goals + 8 assists in 22 games in Wilkes-Barre. He started the season with 11 goals in the first 11 games. Lighting up the minors is impressive. His career path has been interesting too:

Noesen had a tryout with Dallas this training camp that ended up with being cut, where he was scooped up by the Pens’ organization.

As All About the Jersey noted, one bad season in 2018-19 ended up costing Noesen his spot in New Jersey (after a useful season the year before in 2017-18), boiling it down as “Noesen did not build off of his career high year, and while his injury certainly played a part, there were games where he was flat out ineffective and invisible.”

His 32 games with New Jersey saw him tally six goals and two assists, earning him a one-year, two-way contract for 2017-18. That season would see him play a career high 72 games where he would log 13 goals and 14 assists, with many of those coming with the formation of the Travis & the Texans line of Noesen, Travis Zajac and Blake Coleman. His strong season was incentive for the Devils to sign him to a one-way deal for 2018-19.

The past season was a tough one for Noesen; while he saw himself as a healthy scratch a few times in 2017-18 prior to T&T, fans were anticipating him having a more regular role. Injuries, inconsistency and the team’s general ineptitude last season saw him miss time both with injury and a number of healthy scratches. He would appear in only 41 contests and reverted back to a paltry season total of eight points.

Noesen was unfortunately not as useful last season as his 2017-18 had us hoping for; he posted the worst GAR (courtesy of Evolving-Hockey) on New Jersey by a wide margin at -5.2, with the next closest “regular” (appearing in half of the game of more) being Drew Stafford at -0.5. If you include all of the forwards who played less than half of Jersey’s games, the next worst player was Michael McLeod at -2.9, which is again far and away from Noesen’s number.

Noesen’s last 24 months just go to show how precarious holding onto a job in the NHL. He’s not an older player and had a pretty good 2017-18 season in a supporting role, but then some circumstances and injury contributed to a bad 2018-19 season. Just like that, the former first rounder got shuffled out of the league entirely, having to take a tryout contract and then after not finding a spot, changing organizations to get only an AHL deal.

Luckily for him, the Pens are ravished enough with injuries that they didn’t have much of a choice and needed another forward.

So as a No. 15 or 16 depth forward in an organization, a team could do a lot worse than a 26-year old former first round pick with a bit of a resume of NHL success. It’ll be interesting to see what Noesen can do with this opportunity back in the NHL.

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Hockey Canada announced it’s final training camp roster for the upcoming WJC tournament. Making it with Pens ties was defenseman Calen Addison — who is expected to be a key player as a puck mover and power play leader. Not making the cut was 2019-first round pick Samuel Poulin.

Poulin was considered a longshot this year, but it’s already telling that five 2020 draft eligible forwards have been invited to this, in essence already passing Poulin up in the deep Canadian talent pool. We’ll see if he has any more luck next year.