Before the bye week break, the Penguins sent down four of their depth and non-waiver eligible players to the AHL in Sam Lafferty, Joseph Blandisi, Andrew Agozzino and Kevin Czuczman. This was to save maximize money on the salary cap, which is calculated in a prorated basis on a daily timetable.
Today, they’ve brought back two players. But, interestingly it’s not Lafferty and Blandisi who have been NHL staples in injury absence:
The Penguins have recalled forwards Andrew Agozzino and Anthony Angello from the @WBSPenguins on an emergency basis.— Pittsburgh Penguins (@penguins) January 30, 2020
Angello ranks first on WBS in goals and is looking to make his NHL debut.
Details: https://t.co/xPao2Gi5f2 pic.twitter.com/O1QEQZjPCw
After exploding in October with a few games of tremendous production, Lafferty only tallied one goal and added three assists in 26 NHL games since November 1st. Anthony Angello, as mentioned above, has been one of Wilkes-Barre’s best forwards this season and leads them in goals. At 6’5, Angello will also stand out for adding a bit of size.
The additions of Agozzino and Angello give the Pens thirteen forwards, but that includes Dominik Kahun who suffered a concussion last week before the break with an unknown return. Given that both these call-ups were classified as “emergency” it probably means that Kahun is not cleared to return for tomorrow night’s game and both Agozzino and Angello would be on track to dress.
Injured forward Nick Bjugstad has been skating with the team and should be fit to return at some point in early-ish February, so the stints could be shorter lived for these call-ups as the Pens get as close to reaching full health as they have been in some time.
It’s also a good sign as to who WASN’T called up, as in a defenseman from the AHL wasn’t in this transaction. That points to Justin Schultz — a full practice participant prior to the break — likely being cleared enough to serve as at least the seventh defensemen tomorrow. If not fully cleared to return to the lineup, which will serve in likely bumping Chad Ruhwedel back into the healthy scratch spot.
It will be exciting to see if Angello, drafted in the fifth round way back in 2014, can finally get into his NHL debut. The Cornell product is 23 and in his second full professional season in 2019-20.