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Penguins put Poehling on IR, bring up Alex Nylander for the first time

The Pens give Nylander a chance, but the opportunity is due to bad news from Ryan Poehling’s injury situation

NHL: JAN 28 Sharks at Penguins Photo by Jeanine Leech/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

The Penguins made a roster move today, putting Ryan Poehling on long-term IR and bringing up Alex Nylander from Wilkes-Barre on emergency recall. This classification means Nylander won’t count against the four regular recalls the team has — and perhaps more importantly that they won’t need to waive him to send him back to the AHL later, he will go back during the regular season when they get healthy and the emergency conditions no longer exist.

The Penguins have 12 forwards besides Poehling that were healthy, which muddles this emergency recall. It is possible one of them — perhaps Jake Guentzel who missed practiced yesterday? — will be out tonight due to injury in order to retain this as an emergency recall. That Nylander, a scoring left winger, was brought up to the NHL team might also foretell that Guentzel won’t be able to play tonight. Guentzel did, however, participate in the morning’s skate and was said to be good for tonight. It’s also possible a yet-to-be-announced forward has taken ill today and won’t be able to play tonight.

When Poehling gets healthy, however, is in significant doubt. The forward has been dealing with an undisclosed nagging injury that’s had him suffer at least two recent setbacks, including one last week in Nashville. Poehling was attempting to practice with the team, but something went awry and re-injury was suffered. There’s been questions about Poehling’s status and some doubt as to whether he will be back at all this season. Poehling has only played eight games since Christmas and none since February 11th, all believed to be tied to the same issue.

Nylander is a name that adds attention, he was once a high draft pick many moons ago, and his brother William is one of the top forwards in the world. Alex’s path has not been so easy, he’s been in Wilkes-Barre since the Pens acquired him via trade in January 2022. Nylander leads Wilkes in goals (25) and points (50) this season, though many question his responsibility away from the puck, coupled with a lack of intensity at times. It remains to be seen just how much of an opportunity he’ll get with Pittsburgh, but at long last he’s at least got the call.

Here’s the press release from the team.

The Pittsburgh Penguins have recalled forward Alex Nylander on an emergency basis from the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins of the American Hockey League, it was announced today by general manager Ron Hextall.

Forward Ryan Poehling has been placed on long-term injured reserve, retroactive to February 14.

Nylander, 25, has spent this season with WBS, where he recorded a career-high 25 goals, 25 assists, 50 points and is plus-2 through 54 games. His 50 points rank first on the team and his 25 goals rank first on WBS and fifth in the AHL.

The 6-foot-1, 192-pound forward has 84 games of NHL experience under his belt, recording 13 goals, 19 assists and 32 points with the Chicago Blackhawks and Buffalo Sabres. His best NHL season came in 2019-20 with Chicago when he recorded career highs across the board with 10 goals, 16 assists and 26 points in 65 games played.

In 286 career AHL games, split between the Rochester Americans, Rockford IceHogs and WBS, Nylander has tallied 77 goals, 101 assists and 178 points.

The forward has played internationally for Sweden at the World Under-18 Junior Championship in 2016 and World Junior Championship in ‘16, ‘17 and ‘18. Nylander helped Team Sweden to a silver medal at the 2016 U18 WJC, as well as the 2018 WJC.

Nylander was originally drafted by the Sabres in the first round (8th overall) in the 2016 NHL Draft and is the son of Michael Nylander, a veteran of 920 NHL games from 1992-09, and brother of Toronto Maple Leafs’ forward William Nylander.