The Pittsburgh Penguins have recalled Zach Aston-Reese and Garrett Wilson from the minor leagues, sending down Derek Grant in their place. This shakeup was expected after the team lost their fourth consecutive game last night when they were dismantled by a speedy and tenacious New Jersey Devils team. The Penguins are now tied with the Capitals, Blue Jackets and Flyers for second in the Metropolitan Division, having lost all of the lead they built early in the year.
Some onlookers had expected Aston-Reese to be with the team right from the start of the season, and his play for the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins so far has shown why. The 24-year old undrafted forward has six goals and nine points through his first 11 games this year, and has looked out of place at times among his minor league contemporaries. That is, other than Wilson, who is off to another excellent start with 11 points in 11 games. The 27-year old veteran minor league forward has routinely put up big numbers in the AHL, but has just 34 NHL games to his credit—none of them with the Penguins despite this being his third year in the organization.
Grant meanwhile has struggled to find any success in the NHL this season, failing to register even nine minutes of ice time in any of the four recent losses. After scoring 24 points when pressed into service with the Anaheim Ducks last season, Grant looked like he might be able to be more than just a depth forward for the Penguins. That doesn’t appear to be true, and the team already cleared him through waivers just after the season began. With zero points so far in six games, he hasn’t made much of an impact for the Penguins and will head to the minor leagues to get his game back on track.