A pair of Lethbridge Hurricanes and four college players highlight the Pittsburgh Penguins rookie tournament roster. The tournament begins Friday in Buffalo and will be for some the first chance to impress the Penguins organization and for others, the final chance.
Penguins 2018 second-round choice, defenseman Calen Addison and his Lethbridge teammate Jordy Bellerive headline the junior players in attendance. Neither figure to make the Penguins NHL roster because of a lack of open roster spots, but Bellerive could build on his breakout performance last year. Bellerive was undrafted, but his showing in the rookie camp and rookie tournament earned him a Penguins contract.
Bellerive is the captain of the Lethbridge Hurricanes and sadly made national news in June when he and two other players were injured in a campfire accident. He suffered severe burns to his hands and underwent extensive physical therapy to be ready for the season. Initial estimates projected him to miss this season.
A player looking to follow in Bellerive’s footsteps as an undrafted rookie who earns a contract is defenseman Carter Robertson. Pittsburgh Hockey Now has been told the Penguins like Robertson, of the Ottawa 67’s, and a strong showing this weekend could lead to a contract. At the rookie camp in June, Robertson jokes with Pittsburgh Hockey Now, “My agent told me to be gritty.”
Robertson, 18, his a physical defenseman. At 6-foot-2, 179 pounds, he has room to grow but already possesses a strong frame which projects to pro hockey.
Of the 24 players invited, only 12 are Penguins draft picks. Addison is the highest selection and the only second-round choice. There is one fourth-round (Sam Lafferty, 2014) attending, four fifth-round and sixth-round picks, and two seventh rounders.
The remaining 12 players are undrafted free agents.
Anthony Angello, who was a fifth-round pick in 2014, turned pro at the end of last season after four years at Cornell. His size (6-foot-5, 210 pounds) and offensive outburst at Cornell placed him on PHN Extra’s Top 10 Penguins Prospects list. He had 26 points (13g, 13a) in 33 games at Cornell and had two goals in two playoff games with the WBS Penguins.
Eight players have experience at the AHL level, including Angello, Adam Johnson, Linus Ohlund, and Jan Drozg. Johnson also earned a Penguins contract despite being an undrafted free agent, last summer.