Empty Netter Assists - 07-17-13

Written by Seth Rorabaugh on .


-Penguins forward prospect Tom Kuhnhackl (above) is trying to rebound from knee and shoulder injuries which have derailed his career.

-Penguins forward prospect Matia Marcantuoni has found a role as a penalty killer by using his speed.

-"Are the pucks smaller here?" - Penguins goaltending prospect Tristan Jarry joking with Ray Shero.

-Robert Bortuzzo has an abritration hearing scheduled for Aug. 1. (PG+)

-Tom Fitzgerald speaks:

-Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins coach John Hynes speaks:

-The Penguins announced plans to develop a different piece of property for a practice facility in Cranberry.

-Former Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins forward Devin DiDiomete has joined Färjestad of Sweden's SHL.

-Happy 57th birthday to former Penguins all-star forward and assistant coach Bryan Trottier. A former Hart Trophy winner and a vital part of the Islanders Stanley Cup dynasty in the early 1980s, Trottier joined the Penguins as a free agent in the 1990 offseason and spent three seasons with the franchise. Providing leadership on a young team missing the talents of injured captain Mario Lemieux for most of the season, Trottier (right) helped guide the squad to its first Patrick Division championship while appearing in 52 games and scoring 28 points in 1990-91. In the playoffs, Trottier appeared in all 23 of the team's games and contributed seven points including two game-winning goals as the franchise claimed its first Stanley Cup title. In 1991-92, Trottier recorded 29 points in 63 games and was selected to the All-Star Game. In the playoffs, he once again appeared in all 21 of the team's games and scored seven points as the franchise won its second consecutive Stanley Cup title. He retired in the 1992 offseason and sat out in 1992-93, but returned as a player/coach in 1993-94. That season, he saw action in 41 games and contributed 15 points. Trottier retired as a player for good in the 1994 offseason and became a full-time assistant with the Penguins. He served in that capacity until the 1997 offseason when he took a head coaching job with the AHL's Portland Pirates.  Inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 1997, Trottier, a noted Brian Bellows fan along with teammate Kevin Stevens,  is one of the most accomplished players in NHL history with 1,425 career points, 16th-most in NHL history. In 156 regular season games with the Penguins, Trottier scored 72 points. In 46 postseason games, he scored 14 points.

-Happy 53rd birthday to former Penguins forward Jay Caufield. One of the toughest players in team history, Caufield, a former linebacker at North Dakota, came to the Penguins after being claimed off waivers from the North Stars prior to the 1988-89 season and spent five seasons with the franchise. In 1988-89, Caufield (right) saw action in 58 games and scored five points while racking up a team-leading 285 penalty minutes, a mark which remains a franchise record for rookies. He also appeared in nine playoff games that spring and racked up 28 penalty minutes. Caufield (right) was limited to 37 games in and three points 1989-90 but still compiled 123 penalty minutes. In 1990-91, he only played in 23 games and recorded two points and 71 penalty minutes but still got his name on Stanley Cup that spring. Caufield saw a jump in playing time in 1991-92 as he played in 50 games and recorded 175 penalty minutes and once again helped the team claim a second Stanley Cup title. His final season in the NHL was 1992-93 as he appeared in 26 contests with 60 penalty minutes. He was released in the 1993 offseason. In 196 games with the Penguins, Caufield scored 10 points and recorded 714 penalty minutes, ninth-most in franchise history. After being replaced by a Pittsburgh firefighter in a Stanley Cup final against the Blackhawks, Brad Tolliver Caufield became a personal trainer and helped Mario Lemieux during his comeback in the 2000-01 season. He currently works as a broadcaster with Root Sports.

Atlantic Division

-The Islanders will play a preseason game in Brooklyn's Barclays Center.

-Devils forward prospect Myles Bell had to grow up quite a bit after being involved in an automobile accident which claimed the life of his girlfriend.

Northeast Division

-Sidney Crosby convinced forward Frederik Gauthier, the Maple Leafs' first round pick in this year's draft, to pass up a scholarship to Havard and join the QMJHL's Rimouski Oceanic.

Southeast Division

-The Jets re-signed restricted free agent forward and former Penguin Eric Tangradi (right) to a two-year contract worth $1.35 million. Coming off a contract with a cap hit of $726,000, Tangradi's new deal will have a cap hit of $675,000. In 41 games last season, Tangradi, 24, scored four points (one goal, three assists).

-EN Says: The days of viewing Tangradi as a top-six forward might be over but he may have found a niche as a bottom-six forward in the mold of Mike Rupp. If he can do the little things necessary to fill that role, he can be a viable NHL player.

-The Jets re-signed restricted free agent forward Patrice Cormier to a one-year two-way contract.

-The Hurricanes re-signed restricted free agent forward Jared Staal to a one-year two-way contract.

-The Panthers re-sgned unrestricted free agent forward Greg Rallo and restricted free agent defenseman Michael Caruso to one-year, two-way contracts.

-The Lightning re-signed restricted free agent defenseman Mark Barberio to a one-year two-way contract.

Central Division

-The Blue Jackets hired former Predators/Canadiens forward Blake Geoffrion as a scout.

-The Blackhawks re-signed restricted free agent defenseman Ryan Stanton to a one year contract. Financial terms were not reported.

Northwest Division

-Former Penguins defenseman Andrew Ference is ready to take on a leadership role with the Oilers.

Pacific Division

-The Ducks re-signed former forward Dustin Penner to a one-year contract worth $2 million. Coming off a contract with a cap hit of $3.25 million, Penner spent parts of the past three seasons with the cross-town rival Kings. In 33 games last season, Penner, 30, scored 14 points (two goals, 12 assists). Penner spent the first two years of his NHL career with the Ducks and was a member of Anaheim's Stanley Cup championship team in 2007.

-EN Says: Penner left the Ducks to much fanfare in 2007 when he signed an offer sheet as a restricted free agent with the Edmonton Oilers. During stops in Edmonton and Los Angeles, he never quite found the consistency he displayed early in career with Anahem. Penner has been a proven playoff performer in his career. If he can maintain his conditioning, he could be a shrewd signing for Anaheim which is looking to replace some of the top-six forward minutes lost when Bobby Ryan was traded to Ottawa last week.

-The Kings acquired former Penguins forward prospect Daniel Carcillo from the Blackhawks in exchange for a conditional draft pick in 2015. Carcillo, 28, has one year remaining on a contract with a salary cap hit of $825,000. In 23 games last season, he had three points (two goals, one assist).

-EN Says: Carcillo never quite found the same success in Chicago that he enjoyed in Los Angeles and Phoenix. Additionally, the rise of Andrew Shaw as an agitator with the Blackhawks made Carcillo somewhat expendable. Perhaps he can rediscover what made him a valuable player with the Kings playing alongside former Flyers teammates Jeff Carter and Mike Richards.

(Photos: Kuhnhackl-Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins; Trottier and Caufield-Penguins Hockey Cards; Tangradi-Claus Andersen/Getty Images; Penner-Harry How/Getty Images)

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