The Deutschland Cup this year takes place November 10-12 in Augsburg, Germany. No one really cares much about the tournament, but it is a solid indicator of the potential Team USA Olympic roster and there are several Pittsburgh connections, including–grisly veteran Ryan Malone who is resurrecting his professional career for a chance at gold.
The seldom discussed tourney is comprised of four teams in a round-robin format. This year, Germany (the host), Slovakia, Russia, and Team USA are competing. Ok, enough about the tournament.
Pittsburgh born and bred Ryan Malone was drafted by the Pittsburgh Penguins in 1999. The son of the Penguins director of Scouting, Greg Malone, Ryan first played four years at St. Cloud State. He got his start on the team in the 2003 season, played for a total of 299 games, and produced 87 goals. The most notable number during his time with the Pittsburgh Penguins, was his penalty minutes (PIM of 301). He went on to the Tampa Bay Lightning for six seasons. In 2010, he got an Olympic silver medal. After his time with Tampa Bay Lighting, he played for the New York Rangers for a brief six games in 2014, and then was placed on unconditional waivers. This is where the story gets interesting….
It was assumed by almost everyone that this was the end of his professional career. Two years passed, and the improbable happened: Malone got the itch to play, and perhaps play in the Olympics, so he called old friend, Minnesota Wild GM Chuck Fletcher, who was the Assistant GM in PIttsburgh during Malone’s time with the Penguins. The Wild offered a PTO to advance Malone’s aspirations.
Malone was technically released from the PTO on September 29th, so he could continue playing hockey (with the Iowa Wild of the AHL) but continue chasing Olympic gold. Had the Wild signed Malone to a two-way contract, he would be ineligible to the Olympics, per NHL rules.
Malone. 37, is playing for the Iowa Wild (AHL). In four games, he has two assists. (Note the voice of legendary PA Announcer John Barbaro in the highlight package):
Pittsburgh native Dylan Reese played for the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins and the Pittsburgh Penguins in the 2012 season. He spent time on several other teams, most notably, the New York Islanders, Arizona Coyotes, and Amur Khabarovsk (KHL). He is currently on HV71 in the Swedish Hockey League. For the 2017 season, so far, he has played 10 games, produced two goals, and has two assists on the season.
Noah Welch was drafted by the Pittsburgh Penguins in the second round, 2001. After a four year stint at Harvard, he played in Wilkes-Barre/Scranton in 2005 and 2006. In 2006, Welch had his cup of coffee with the Penguins 22 games, and then was traded to the Florida Panthers for cult hero Gary Roberts (Gary Roberts wasn’t traded, he just showed up in Pittsburgh and no one would tell him otherwise). Welch also spent time with the Tampa Bay Lightning, and the Atlanta Thrashers.
In 2011, he jetted off the Swedish Hockey League, initially on HV71, and then played for Växjö Lakers for three seasons. While there, in 2015, he was the MVP of the playoffs. He is currently on the Malmo Redhawks. Go Malmo!
Mark Arcobello was an undrafted free agent who got his first taste of the NHL with the eternally struggling (pre-McDavid) Edmonton Oilers for parts of 2012, 2013, and 2014 seasons. In 2014, he was traded to the Nashville Predators. After 4 games, he was placed on waivers. The Pittsburgh Penguins picked him up, he played 10 games, had two assists, and then the Penguins placed him on waivers, to be claimed by the Arizona Coyotes. In 2015, he was on the Toronto Maple Leafs, and played part of the season in the Toronto Marlies (AHL). His NHL career totals: 139 games played, 24 goals, and 29 assists, for a total of 53 points.
Arcobello is currently with SC Bern in the National League in Switzerland. He had a great year in 2016: 50 games, 25 goals, and 30 assists. He was the leading scorer in the league, and was voted the MVP and Best Forward in the league. SC Bern gave Mark Arcobello a two-year contract extension through 2019.
Four very different players with a Pittsburgh connection, and very different histories, are playing for Team USA at the Deutschland Cup this year. Maybe it’s worth checking out.