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Nedeljkovic, Karlsson, others eye upcoming reunions with former teams

Lars Eller and the Caps reunited. Now it’s time for the rest of the new Pens to face their old teams.

NHL: New York Islanders at New Jersey Devils Catalina Fragoso-USA TODAY Sports

The Washington Capitals gave Lars Eller a standing ovation when he made it back to D.C. Friday for the first time since his trade to the Colorado Avalanche in March.

He won’t be the only Penguin reuniting with a former team this season.

Looking ahead, here are other reunion— and potentially, revenge— games coming up for the other new Pens players.

October 18
Penguins @ Red Wings

Alex Nedeljkovic will likely be on the bench Wednesday in Detroit, but the Penguins’ upcoming road game is set to reunite him with the team that waived him in January after he lost his second-string spot to Magnus Hellberg. It’s the perfect setup for Nedeljkovic to prove his old team wrong with an NHL backup-caliber revenge game— but that might have to wait until March 17, when the Penguins face the Red Wings at home on the second night of a back-to-back.

October 26
Avalanche @ Penguins

In 10 seasons, Matt Nieto bounced multiple times between the San Jose Sharks and Colorado Avalanche. He most recently played 36 games for the Avalanche last season before leaving in unrestricted free agency. He was always relatively quiet against the Avs as a Shark— Colorado is one of just four NHL teams Nieto has never scored against— so it could be time for a revenge goal next week.

November 4
Penguins @ Sharks

Erik Karlsson is set to return to San Jose for the first time as a Penguin in a November 4 road contest against the Sharks. Expect a major tribute and a lot of motivation for a goal from the Pens’ biggest trade acquisition of the offseason.

November 16
Devils @ Penguins

Ryan Graves, a mainstay on the Devils blue line who an averaged over 20 minutes per game through two seasons in New Jersey, will reunite with his old team— and his former partner, ex-Pen John Marino— for the first time since he departed New Jersey in what he described as a “stressful” free agency.

November 19
Golden Knights @ Penguins

Reilly Smith, an inaugural Golden Knight, was traded from his championship team just weeks after he scored the Cup-winning goal that sealed the Knights’ Game 5 win over the Florida Panthers. What better way to make the reigning champs regret that deal than with a goal in this upcoming game?

Meanwhile, Jansen Harkins will have to wait until February prove to the Winnipeg Jets why they shouldn’t have waived him. The Penguins face the Jets two times in a three-game span with contests on February 6 at home and February 10 on the road.