The Pittsburgh Penguins continued to get players back in the lineup on Friday night as defenseman Justin Schultz, who was activated from the IR during the bye week was back on the ice. Penguins rookie Anthony Angello also made his NHL debut on Friday night after two-plus seasons in Wilkes-Barre/Scranton of the AHL.
Schultz has played only 27 games this season and tallied eight points (2g, 6a). Schultz has been in and out of the lineup with two stints on the IR. Shultz suffered a lower body on his first shift of the game against Calgary on Dec. 17.
Schultz’s initial pairing was with spare defenseman Chad Ruhwedel on the Penguins third pairing. Like Justin Schultz, Ruhwedel is right-handed, which meant the Penguins went with an unbalanced pairing despite their stated preference to do so. The pending UFA has only 50 points and 119 games played in the last two-plus seasons since he signed a three-year, $16.5 million contract.
Penguins top-pairing defenseman Brian Dumoulin has not yet resumed skating, and the Penguins opted to scratch left-handed defenseman Juuso Riikola in favor of Ruhwedel.
Angello, 23, will skate on the Penguins fourth line in his NHL debut. The big forward is 6-foot-5, 210-pounds and during training camp was instructed to add more physicality to his game.
Per hockey custom, the rookie took a solo warmup lap to begin warmups as Penguins PA address announcer announced the Pittsburgh Penguins…and Anthony Angello.
The Penguins selected Angello in the 2014 fifth-round, with the draft pick acquired by trading defenseman Ben Lovejoy to Anaheim. Angello played three seasons at Cornell before turning pro at the end of 2017-18. He played in two playoff games for the WBS Penguins and scored two goals.
This season, Angello was the WBS Penguins leading goal scorer (16) and tied for second on the team with nine assists in 45 games. Over his career, Angello has 32 goals in 110 AHL games.