NHL teams typically include a few prospects with NHL hopes on their Black Aces squad during playoff runs. The group is usually a mix of minor league players with NHL experience and top prospects whose job is to be ready should the team suffer multiple injuries. In the unprecedented circumstances of the 24-team NHL return, teams will likely be limited to only 28 skaters. However, it appears the Pittsburgh Penguins will still include at least a couple of prospects.
Saturday morning, 2019 first-round pick Sam Poulin confirmed he arrived in Pittsburgh to begin Phase 2 workouts with the team. In previously published reports, Penguins GM Jim Rutherford confirmed the Penguins invited Poulin to Phase 3 training camp.
PHN reviewed Poulin’s growth this season with video breakdowns. PHN+ members can view it here.
Also, joining Poulin in camp on Saturday was top defenseman prospect Pierre-Olivier Joseph, whom the Pittsburgh Penguins acquired when they traded Phil Kessel to the Arizona Coyotes.
This season, Joseph, 20, experienced significant improvement, according to Wilkes-Barre/Scranton head coach Mike Vellucci, who spoke with PHN in May.
“He’s outstanding. He had a setback early in the season with mono, but he played 27 minutes per game,” Vellucci said. “(They were) all tough situations. He got better every day. I’m very impressed.”
PHN+ also reviewed Joseph and how close he too may be to cracking the NHL lineup. You can view it here.
The NHL encouraged all players to report to their hockey city last week, so players could quarantine and be tested in time for the beginning of Phase 3 training camps, which are scheduled to begin on July 10.
The NHL is down to five cities still under review to be one of the two NHL hub cities. Las Vegas, Los Angeles, Edmonton, Toronto, and Chicago are still on the list. The NHL eliminated Vancouver from the process over British Columbia’s insistence that asymptomatic persons be quarantined in the same manner as individuals with COVID-19 symptoms.
The practice squad is growing!
— Pittsburgh Penguins (@penguins) June 27, 2020