After 14 years as the head coach of the Plymouth Whalers in the OHL, Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins coach/GM Mike Vellucci has seen a few prospects. As the reigning AHL Calder Trophy-winning coach, he also knows how to win in the American League. Former Penguins assistant GM Bill Guerin recruited Vellucci to be the WBS Penguins coach before Guerin left for the Minnesota GM job.
“I came to work with Billy,” Vellucci said after the Penguins tabbed him as their WBS GM, in addition to his coaching duties.
Vellucci will have some say on the Penguins prospects pool. He’ll have some say who makes the cut in the AHL and who falls into the depths of the ECHL, where it is nearly impossible for skaters to climb back to NHL consideration.
“Well, first off, Mike Sullivan runs an excellent camp. It’s very organized, and it’s been a great opportunity for me to get to watch some of the new guys,” Vellucci made sure to note before our conversation got rolling.
Pittsburgh Hockey Now had an exclusive chat with Vellucci after the Penguins wrapped practice at the UPMC Lemieux Complex, Wednesday. His answers often include a quick, insightful aside before returning to point. Those answers were telling, as was his praise for a couple of prospects and his admission that he had to put the boots to another.