Saturday, the Pittsburgh Penguins essentially assembled their “Black Aces” crew by recalling 13 players, including winger Daniel Sprong, from the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins, their AHL affiliate.
The Black Aces travel with and shadow the NHL squad through the playoffs, practicing and scrimmaging amongst themselves to remain in shape in case injuries necessitate their inclusion into the game-night 23 player roster.
The 13 players are:
Forwards: Josh Jooris, Daniel Sprong, Thomas Di Pauli, Adam Johnson, Teddy Blueger, Garrett Wilson and Jean-Sebastien Dea.
Defensemen: Lukas Bengtsson, Chris Summers, Jarred Tinordi and Andrey Pedan.
Goaltenders: Tristan Jarry and Michael Leighton.
Several players among the new Black Aces played in the NHL this season, including Sprong, Jooris, and Jarry.
This season, Sprong had three points (2g, 1a) in eight NHL games. He tapered quickly after a strong start, including playing beside Sidney Crosby. Sprong scored 65 points (33g, 32a) in 65 AHL games, was named to the AHL all-rookie team and played in the AHL All-Star game.
Sprong, 21, was also part of the 2016 Black Aces crew. He suffered a shoulder injury during the on-ice workouts which required surgery and cost him most of last season. Sprong will be an RFA after the season.
The Penguins acquired Jooris at the trade deadline from the Carolina Hurricanes in exchange for center Greg McKegg. Jooris played 31 NHL games for Carolina this season and scored six points (3g, 3a). He was scoreless in nine games with the Penguins.
Pedan, 24, was acquired at the start of this season for faded prospect Derrick Pouliot. Pedan did not play in the NHL this season. He tallied nine goals and 17 assists in 52 AHL games. Pouliot had 22 points (3g, 19a) in 71 NHL games, but was also a -22.
Jarry played 26 games in the NHL this season. He lost the backup competition to Casey DeSmith after Jarry posted a .908 save percentage and a 2.77 goals against average.
The Charlotte Checkers swept out the WBS Penguins in their first round playoff series, 3-0.