In years past, the Penguins have sent their rookies up to Buffalo for a tournament in September. This season, the Pittsburgh contingent is only staying for one game, and that game was today against the Boston Bruins rookies.
The Pens took a 6-4 win with a third period go-ahead goal from Corey Andonovski. That re-established the lead after Pittsburgh jumped up to a 3-0 lead in the first period.
Here were the lines for the Pens:
A single rookie game in September is not worth reading very much into in any conceivable direction, but with that disclaimer out of the way, here are some very surface level thoughts.
- The Pittsburgh top line combined for four goals (two from Filip Hallander, one a piece by Sam Poulin and Valtteri Puustinen). This is very much to be expected, with Hallander and Puustinen very seasoned for this type of tournament and veterans of an NHL regular season game.
- Poulin also added two assists and is becoming the early story of the pre-veterans arriving portion of training camp with several articles from various outlets following this interview with the media yesterday. Poulin, the former 2019 first rounder, is looking to make a bigger impact and improve off of his fairly disappointing rookie season last year. Today isn’t going to move the needle too much considering the competition, but hopefully it adds a bit of fuel for his confidence and he can keep building on it.
- Hallander also saved a goal against by pulling a puck away from the goal line and then scored a goal for later on his own. Nice play.
- Undrafted FA defender Colin Swoyer had four assists on the day. The Michigan Tech product is already 24-years old but a game like that will always pop off the page a little bit.
- Nathan Legare scored late to add insurance and was physically in the middle of post-whistle scrums and physicality all game, from the sounds of it. Probably not a bad sign either for him to get emotionally active and try and make a bigger mark than last year.
- One player not listed is 2022 first rounder Owen Pickering, who hasn’t been practicing or playing this week with an upper body injury. That’s a bummer he isn’t healthy at this point of the season to give a glimpse of what he’s got, and also learn from playing against what would be a first look at some pro level competition. Far from the end of the world or even being meaningful in the big picture, but it is unfortunate in the moment.
Instead of staying and participating in more games up in Buffalo, the Penguins are headed back to Pittsburgh. They do get a day off tomorrow, but then are back at the practice rink on Monday. Every player in the history of hockey players would prefer the scrimmage aspect, but for the organization’s perspective getting in a couple more practices and emphasizing drills and instruction is the direction the Pens are going for their rookies this year.