Add one puck-moving D-man to the Pittsburgh Penguins shallow prospect pool. The Penguins signed college free agent defenseman Josh Maniscalco to a three-year, entry-level contract, according to GM Jim Rutherford.
Pronounced man-niss-cal-COH, the 6-foot-2, 200-pound defenseman was a teammate of Austin Lemieux at Arizona State. Maniscalco played 36 games in his (sophomore) final season and scored 32 points, including 11 goals.
Before his two seasons at ASU, Maniscalco played four seasons in the USHL, including three for the U-17 US National Development Team. He was selected in the first round of the USHL Draft by the Dubuque Fighting Saints, for whom he played one season. He appeared in 59 games and scored 32 points (9g, 23a).
“Josh is a solid puck-moving, offensive defenseman,” said Rutherford. “He jumps into the rush and plays a style that is complementary to our group. We think highly of his character and are happy to add Josh to the organization.”
Despite only playing two seasons with ASU, he ranks sixth in school history with 52 points. He is also a PA native from Perkiomenville, in Montgomery County. Maniscalco was a fifth-round choice in the 2015 OHL Priority Draft.
The Pittsburgh Penguins have only one defenseman prospect who is close to the NHL. Pierre-Olivier Joseph could see NHL ice next season. Niclas Almari also had a maturing season with the WBS Penguins and could be a depth blueliner in the future, too.
The Penguins pool is otherwise empty.
On Thursday, the Penguins AHL affiliate added a pair of minor league prospects, including Luke Stevens, the son of former Penguins winger and current scout, Kevin Stevens. The WBS Penguins also signed Feliz Robert, who was the linemate of 2019 first-round pick Sam Poulin with the Sherbrooke Phoenix.
College players who were not signed by their original drafting team within their up to four-year window became free agents this month. Last summer, the Penguins acquired then-Harvard defenseman John Marino from Edmonton for a conditional sixth-round choice. Edmonton was not going to sign Marino, but Marino became a staple on the Penguins blueline this season, and became a top-four defenseman.