Boak's Back, Seymour Signs & Fearless Fan Favorite Farnham Returns

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Fan favorite Bobby Farnham is back for another season. Photo credit: @ItsJacki

A lot has happened since I took a week hiatus to cover the Florida Panthers Development camp in sunny Coral Springs, Florida, this past week but to start let's take a look at the latest Penguins related news today.

The WBS Penguins signed a pair of defenseman - Alex Boak and Clark Seymour - to one-year standard AHL contracts. 

Boak, 24, finished up his fourth season at Clarkson before turning pro with the Pens' ECHL affiliate Wheeling Nailers. The 6-1 defenseman is listed at a rather solid 210 pounds.

Boak went pointless in eight games with the Nailers while adding a plus one rating and 24 penalty minutes, but offensive production isn't what Boak brings to a blue line core.  Boak aims to be a steady defender at the pro level that plays with a chip on his shoulder.

Nailers beat writer Sean Rine offered this comment about Boak shortly after the announcement from the team:
 "Alex Boak back in the Penguins pipeline. Really liked his game last year with Wheeling. Kid plays nasty."
The defensive depth on the AHL roster got a lot tougher today as the Pens also signed big Clark Seymour to an AHL for next season.

Seymour finished his fifth season in the OHL tallying 23 points (6G-17A) in 61 regular games with the Peterborough Petes. The 6-3 defenseman also tallied five points (2G-3A) in 11 postseason contests last season too.

Like Boak, Seymour is also a big body that looks to bring a shutdown, stay-at-home presence in order to be successful at the pro level.

Chalk these up as depth signings for the AHL Penguins. These guys will get a look from the WBS staff at Development Camp and likely the rookie camp/tournament in addition to AHL training camp later in the fall. At the very least, they will get ice time and develop in the ECHL with Wheeling and be ready for a mid-season call up when injuries/trades arise.

The Penguins' restricted free agents (RFA's) are re-signing and staying in the organization.

The latest RFA to re-sign was Bobby Farnham, who inked a one-year, two-way contract with the Penguins earlier this afternoon. The Penguins re-signed defenseman Philip Samuelsson and forward Jayson Megna last week, leaving Brendan Sutter and Nic Spaling as the last two unsigned RFA's for Jim Rutherford and staff.

Farnham, 25, finished his second season with the AHL Penguins in a much improved sophomore season tallying 14 points (7G-7A) in 64 regular games and playing a more controlled, systematic game of hockey while using his speed and willingness to throw himself into people to terrorize his opponents.

He was a much more effective player last season and you can't teach the heart-and-soul type of player Farnham has shown to be in his pro career.

Samuelsson, 22, made his NHL debut last year in his third season at the professional ranks, appearing in 5 games with Pittsburgh in 2013-14. While in the AHL, Samuelsson was a top-pairing defenseman who thrived on shutting opposing teams' top players down and playing a solid two-way game.

Samuelsson tallied 22 points (3G-19A) while also adding a plus 17 rating in 64 AHL games. He was a bit rusty in the Calder Cup Playoffs, having come off a six week absence with a knee injury, but the son of Ulf Samuelsson looks to graduate to the NHL with a good showing in training camp this fall. If Samuelsson doesn't make the NHL Pens' opening night roster, he must clear waivers before being eligible to play for the WBS Penguins in the AHL.

Megna, 24, enjoyed a fast start to his sophomore season in the AHL and made his NHL debut and then some, appearing in 36 games with Pittsburgh last season. In those 36 games, Megna tallied nine points (5G-4A) while in primarily a bottom-six role. In the AHL, Megna put up decent numbers with nine goals and six assists in 25 games in Wilkes-Barre.

Most were in doubt of Megna's NHL potential after his rookie season, but he quickly quelled that with a solid start in the AHL which transitioned into making the most of an opportunity to play in hockey's top professional league. Megna will certainly challenge for an NHL roster spot in 2014-15, but if he doesn't secure one out of camp, he can come to the AHL and aim to be a difference maker on what looks like another deep WBS Penguins roster.

What's Coming Next?

The Pittsburgh Penguins annual development camp starts today and concludes on Saturday with a 3 p.m. scrimmage at the Consol Energy Center that is open to the public. For the second straight summer, I'll be live from Pittsburgh with updates and features all week long. I won't be at this afternoon's practice, but will have coverage of Day Two on through to Saturday's scrimmage.

A lot has changed here too if you hadn't noticed the lack of posts last week, a slight re-design to the website and my tweets being split between two Twitter accounts:
For Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins news, follow @H_P_Hockey. For Lehigh Valley Phantoms (new AHL affiliate of NHL Flyers) coverage, follow @TonyAndrock_TCG.
Be sure to check the Town & Country Gazette for features on the new AHL team, Lehigh Valley Phantoms.
You can also find my broader scope of AHL coverage on Hockey's Future.


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