The Wilkes-Barre Penguins have signed forward Felix Robert to an AHL contract from 2021-22. From the team:
Robert, an undrafted free agent, is coming off an impressive first season as a pro with the Penguins organization.
The 21-year-old rocketed out of the game with five goals and six points in his first 10 pro games, played with the Penguins’ ECHL affiliate, the Wheeling Nailers.
Robert paced the Nailers in goals when he was called up to Wilkes-Barre/Scranton for training camp in January. He proceeded to earn six goals and seven assists and 13 points in 27 games.
Prior to turning pro with the Penguins, Robert suited up for the Sherbrooke Phoenix in the Québec Major Junior Hockey League where he played alongside the Pittsburgh Penguins’ 2018 first-round draft pick, Samuel Poulin.
In 219 career QMJHL games, the native of Lambton, Québec produced 81 goals and 136 assists for 216 points. He also tacked on 14 points (5G-9A) in 21 playoff games.
Robert concluded his junior career holding several of Sherbrooke’s franchise records, including career power-play goals (29), longest point streak (16 games) and most points in a single season (92, 2019-20). His 216 career points place second in Phoenix history.
Here is his hockeydb:
Given all the COVID shortened seasons and delays, 2020-21 is going to be mostly a misfire for most in hockey (and probably Planet Earth) but Robert did show some glimpses. He is a tiny player but was productive in the Q.
The dream is to find the next Jonathan Marchessault or Tyler Johnson, who were similarly undrafted free agents on the smaller side but had the skill to flourish.
Another landmark is Conor Sheary. Like Robert, Sheary was once on an AHL contract. He worked parlayed that into two Stanley Cups, almost $11 million in career earnings (with another $3 million signed and on the way over the next two seasons). Not a bad run there.
As for Robert, he’ll get a crack at trying to put his career on a Sheary-like path starting next year in Wilkes. Robert showcased some nice tenacity and good hands this past season. Just look at these highlights and his ability to get to the front of the net.
Especially on that last highlight, it’s evident there’s a bit of an edge in his game and the ability to keep at it. A nice trait to see at the AHL level.
Every team needs some longshots and whether or not Robert can graduate to an NHL contract (in Pittsburgh or elsewhere) next year is wide open at this point. But after an intriguing but COVID-muted 2020-21, it’s great to see Robert get another opportunity next season in Wilkes-Barre.
Robert was signed last summer initially to an AHL contract the same day the team also signed Luke Stevens (son of Kevin) to an AHL deal as well. Stevens was held without a point in 12 games and it remains to be seen if the team will be bringing him back next season as well.