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St. Ivany to Make NHL Debut; Ryan Graves Has Big News



Jack St. Ivany, Pittsburgh Penguins

DALLAS — Good fortune is a win-win inside the Pittsburgh Penguins locker room and defenseman Jack St. Ivany will make his NHL debut Friday in Dallas.

The first bit of good news is that defenseman Ryan Graves is expecting his first child. Graves remained in Pittsburgh to attend the birth with his partner. Without Graves in the lineup, the other good news fell on St. Ivany.

St. Ivany, 24, is a physical defenseman who has blossomed in his second professional year at the American Hockey League level with the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins after four years of college hockey with Yale and Boston College.

“Just kind of told me (this morning) and then saw my name on the lineup sheet. So, it’s just a surreal feeling,” St. Ivany said.

Read the PHN+ scouting report of St. Ivany from our in-person scouting trip on Jan. 24. A Mean Defenseman on the Way for the Penguins.

St. Ivan has not been shy with the WBS Penguins this season. His physical play has cleared lanes for top goalie prospect Joel Blomqvist and solidified the WBS blue line.

“Guys are stronger and faster (in the NHL). So, just got to make sure I’m finishing hits, keep guys in front of me,” St. Ivany said. “I feel like that part of my game will help me. Just keeping guys pinned to the wall or whatnot. Keep them outside of the center of the ice.”

As evidenced by the loss to the New Jersey Devils, in which several Penguins admitted they lost the net-front battle, a player like St. Ivany could help.

His parents and a few friends got the heads up and are en route to Dallas to witness his big moment.

“As far as Jack’s overall game, he’s really done a great job with the role that he’s played in Wilkes (Barre), and that is that conscientious, reliable, trustworthy role,” coach Mike Sullivan. “It’s important to have those types of defensemen as part of your group. He brings an element of stability to the ice when he’s on the ice.”

With Graves out, the Penguins will elevate P.O Joseph into the top four. St. Ivany said he will be on the third pair with John Ludvig, forming perhaps one of the Penguins’ most physical defensive pairings of the last decade.

Of course, they’ll face a strong team that has designs on the Stanley Cup, the Dallas Stars Friday night at American Airlines Arena.

The Penguins currently trail the Detroit Red Wings by nine points with two games in hand for the final wild-card spot with 13 games remaining.

So, which will make the big defenseman more nervous, his first shift or the pregame rookie lap?

“Probably both, just make sure I don’t fall,” he said.