The Pittsburgh Penguins have assigned forward Valtteri Puustinen to their AHL affiliate the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins. Puustinen began his NHL recall on a tear in December with a goal and five assists in his first eight games. However, since his early surge he has posted just two assists in his last 13 NHL games.
Puustinen’s skill set is much better suited to play in the team’s top six and he posted very good numbers while playing alongside center Evgeni Malkin. However, once top six wingers Bryan Rust and Rickard Rakell returned from injury it bumped Puustinen to the third line where he hasn’t been able to produce much in the way of offense.
Puustinen’s move to the AHL is likely a paper move but it will also afford him the opportunity to play in a scoring role once again and maybe re-capture some of the confidence he displayed early in December.
In other Penguins notes:
- The Penguins also announced that they’ve sent defenseman John Ludvig to the AHL on a conditioning loan. The 22-year-old has been working his way back from an upper-body injury in recent weeks and has been on the injured reserve. Yesterday Ludvig began practicing in a regular contact jersey but didn’t dress in last night’s game. With the Penguins on a break until February 6th Ludvig will have a chance to practice regularly with Wilkes-Barre/Scranton and get into game action if he is healthy enough.
- The Penguins also assigned defenseman Ryan Shea to Wilkes-Barre/Scranton of the AHL. Shea had been on recall since January 17th but did not dress during the recall as he served as the team’s seventh defenseman. Shea has dressed in 22 NHL games for the Penguins this season but is unlikely to be the team’s first defensive recall after the break as Ludvig is most likely destined to occupy that spot should he be healthy by February 6th.