Rowney/Goers Added on AHL Contracts, Roster(s) Taking Shape

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Carter Rowney adds depth at the forward position for the AHL Penguins. Photo credit: @ItsJacki.
The Pittsburgh Penguins don't have a lot of room to hand out NHL contracts, but it's not stopping their AHL affiliate in Wilkes-Barre/Scranton.

The AHL Penguins have added more depth at both the forward and defense positions with the additions of Carter Rowney and Barry Goers. Both signed one-year AHL-only contracts today after spending time with the team in parts of last season.

Rowney, 25, is a bigger more physical forward that was used primarily in a bottom six role for the Penguins last season. Rowney finished the regular season with four points (2G-2A) and a minus two rating in his first 24 AHL games as a pro. Rowney was also impressive in the postseason, particularly in the first round against Binghamton in a game where a goal he scored was called back. 

Forward Depth

Let's take a look at the forwards that could potentially be on the AHL Penguins roster to start the season. 

Currently, Pittsburgh has ten forwards signed through next season with two restricted free agents - Brandon Sutter and Nic Spaling - yet to be re-signed. That leaves room for 1-2 forwards to compete for an NHL job out of training camp. 

Assuming the Penguins don't bring in anymore on an NHL contract (the currently have 50, but Oskar Sundqvist's won't count against the 50-max if hes not playing in North America) it's looking like these are the guys vying for an NHL job:
Kasperi Kapanen, Jayson Megna, Zach Sill, Adam Payerl and Andrew Ebbett 
The easy route for the NHL club would be to keep Sill at the NHL level since he is not waiver exempt and send both Megna and Payerl back to the AHL. If Kapanen is going to make the roster especially, the need for physical gritty bottom-six forwards increases.

That leaves a lot of talent at the AHL level, with 17 forwards looking for ice time to be exact:

Tom Kostopoulos (AHL), Andrew Ebbett, Nick Drazenovic, Jayson Megna, Anton Zlobin, Adam Payerl, Dominik Uher, Bobby Farnham, Matia Marcantuoni, Conor Sheary (AHL), Tom Kuhnhackl, Bryan Rust, Scott Wilson, Jean Sebastien Dea, Josh Archibald, Carter Rowney (AHL) and Pierre-Luc Leblond.

Blue Line Depth

On defense, bringing back Goers gives the Penguins a guy they are certainly comfortable with when mid-season injuries and call ups arise or when the younger defensemen are going through a learning curve.

At the NHL level, the Penguins are pretty set with who they have re-signed, though off-season shoulder surgeries to Olli Maatta and Derrick Pouliot will hamper the start of their year.
Kris Letang, Paul Martin, Christian Ehrhoff, Robert Scuderi, Robert Bortuzzo, Simon Despres, Philip Samuelsson, Olli Maatta.
Injuries will always arise, but when Maatta and Pouliot are fully healthy, the AHL Penguins blue line will still be deep and talented with a good mix:
Brian Dumoulin, Scott Harrington, Taylor Chorney, Derrick Pouliot, Reid McNeill, Harrison Ruopp, Barry Goers (AHL) and Nick D'Agostino. 


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