Our annual, 2020 version of the top players under the age of 25 in the Pittsburgh Penguins organization.
2020 Pensburgh Top 25 Under 25: Graduates and Departed
#25: Radim Zohorna
#24: Judd Caulfield
#23: Will Reilly
#22: Jan Drozg
#21: Sam Miletic
#20: Lukas Svejkovsky
#19: Jonathan Gruden
#18: Niclas Almari
#17: Clayton Phillips
#16: Jordy Bellerive
#15: Anthony Angello, RW
2019 Ranking: #17
Age: 24 (DOB: March 6, 1996)
Acquired: 5th round pick, 2014 draft
Height/Weight: 6’5”, 210 pounds
In an age-23 season, Anthony Angello had a solid second pro year for himself. It started out in Wilkes-Barre, where he ended up matching his 2018-19 in goals (16) in 17 less games, showcasing a bit of hands and ability to get in close to the net and score.
But the highlights came later on in the season. Angello was called up to Pittsburgh on January 30th after the series of injuries decimated the Penguins’ NHL lineup. Angello would make his NHL debut on Jan 31 in a 4-3 win over the Flyers.
Angello would play eight games with the NHL Pens on the season, six of them coming in the month of February where he stayed on the big club’s roster as a fourth line forward or healthy scratch. He recorded one point, a beauty of a tip in goal on Feb. 18th against Toronto.
Unfortunately, from there it would be downhill for highlights with Angello being returned to the AHL on Feb. 24 just a few days after that goal when the Pens got a bit healthier.
That health would be short-lived, and when Zach Aston-Reese and Dominik Simon were unavailable to play for March 4th, Angello earned a second call-up on the year, where unfortunately he would get hurt in that very same game and end up having his season ended.
In October the Pens signed Angello to a two-year contract for the next two season. It’s interesting in that it’s a two-way deal giving him a lower salary in the AHL for 2020-21, but the full $750,000 is guaranteed in salary as a one-way portion of 2021-22 — suggesting that Angello will not be in the AHL at least for very long.
The question now is just what the ceiling Angello has to offer. He’s a somewhat decent goal scorer at the AHL level, where he figures to start in the 2020-21 season with the Pens having 14 NHL caliber forwards on one-ways contracts. But he’s also not really a goal scoring power forward who excels at the pro level. In his NHL games he only averaged 5:43 per game and played under 5 minutes in three of his eight games. Basically he was a bit player on a very banged up team and had the chance to do little, and did little.
But Angello has the 6’5 frame you can’t teach. He was credited with 13 hits in his eight NHL games, and though a very brief sample that made for a 17 hits/60 that led the team for forwards (min 5 games) showed he was a physical presence willing to throw his body around and try to get involved in his limited opportunities.
Add in 5 blocked shots for a 6.55 block/60 and that also led all Pens’ forwards in his fun-size sample. But there’s nothing fun-sized about the big body in Angello who can probably be that lower line checker that eats checks and pucks and can grind out some minutes on a fourth line in an injury replacement type of role.
At 24 now that might be about as good as it gets, but an ideal 2020-21 would have been Angello playing a big role in Wilkes-Barre and gaining traction there and being able to take a bigger leap in his goal and point production. But there’s nothing ideal about this season with the AHL not starting until at least February so we’ll have to see what the future holds.
Until then, Angello looks like about the 15th forward on the organizational depth chart, who at least now has a little bit of experience at the NHL level and has shown a willingness to be physical and get to the front of the net and use his size to his advantage.