6:05 p.m.: In what may be an NHL record, the Penguins have returned Harkins to Wilkes-Barre/Scranton less than two hours after recalling him. It’s unclear why they opted to bring him up to the NHL in the first place, but this may be part of the moves Pittsburgh needs to make to take Nedeljkovic off LTIR.
4:19 p.m.: The Penguins announced the recall of winger Jansen Harkins from the AHL’s Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins on Saturday afternoon. In a corresponding transaction, defenseman Pierre-Olivier Joseph was moved to IR as he remains out with a lower-body injury.
Head coach Mike Sullivan informed reporters earlier today that Joseph has been dealing with a nagging injury, explaining his absence from the lineup in ten out of the team’s last 11 contests. Joseph last played in the team’s 10-2 drubbing of the Sharks on November 4, logging an assist and a +1 rating in 18 minutes of ice time.
Meanwhile, Harkins finds himself back on the NHL roster after clearing waivers almost one month ago. It was Harkins’ second time on the waiver wire this season, the first of which resulted in the Penguins claiming him and the second season of his $850K one-way contract from the Jets. Harkins played in four games for the Penguins, registering a -1 rating and four shots on goal in less than ten minutes of average ice time before ending up on waivers a second time.
After clearing, Harkins headed to Wilkes-Barre/Scranton, where he’s continued his long history of solid minor-league production with four goals and nine points in 11 games. It’s a tad lower than the precedent he set for himself over his last two outings with the Jets’ affiliate in Manitoba, where he averaged over a point per game.
Now, Harkins gets another shot to prove himself as a potential contributor to the Penguins’ bottom six. He’ll look to work his way into the lineup and potentially provide more scoring punch than Noel Acciari or Matthew Nieto, both of whom have just one point this season despite playing in all 15 games.
The moves leave Pittsburgh with very limited space in their LTIR pool – just $15K, to be precise. They’ll likely need to send two players to Wilkes-Barre/Scranton in order to activate netminder Alex Nedeljkovic and his $1.5MM cap hit off LTIR, which should happen soon after he was recalled from a conditioning stint to the AHL Penguins today.