At Consol Energy Center on Tuesday, 34 players took to the ice for the Pittsburgh Penguins’ annual prospect development camp. For the Penguins, who suffered an injury plagued 2014-15 season, it’s the four that did not play that may be troublesome.
Left-winger Scott Wilson, center Oskar Sundqvist, and right-wingers Tyler Biggs and Josh Archibald all missed the first day of prospect camp and are not expected to skate this week.
Wilson, 23, could be in line for a fourth-line job in Pittsburgh this fall but the second-year pro has been sidelined by off-season wrist surgery. No timeframe has been given on his return.
Wilson had bad injury luck last season, as well, getting injured in his first NHL game. He finished with 19 goals and 22 assists in 55 games with Wilkes-Barre/Scranton in the American Hockey League, and played well enough to get the call for three playoff games in Pittsburgh.
Biggs came over from the Toronto Maple Leafs this offseason and is dealing with an Achilles injury that will keep him out of camp. The 22-year old former first-round pick is likely headed to Wilkes-Barre for his third pro season.
Sundqvist, the Penguins third-round pick in 2012, made his North American debut with one playoff game in Wilkes-Barre at the end of last season. He suffered an undisclosed injury in that game, which ended his season. The nature of that injury was never revealed, but Sundqvist said on Tuesday that his hamstring was bothering him.
“[I’ve had] some trouble with the hamstring and hopefully, it’s not going to be an issue in September, but right now, it’s stopping me from going on the ice,” Sundqvist said. “We’ll see if I’m capable of at least one session this week.”
The Penguins announced that Sundqvist is not expected to skate this week but is on track to play in September’s rookie tournament. Sundqvist has a good chance to make the team as a fourth-line center if he can recover quickly from his injury.
Archibald, a second-year pro out of Nebraska-Omaha, missed the end of last season in Wilkes-Barre with an injury and is again out of action, this time with an undisclosed upper-body injury. He should return to the AHL for his second pro season this fall.
While Wilson and Biggs were announced as non-skating participants last week, Archibald and Sundqvist not skating was a surprise. For a franchise embattled by injuries a year ago, it’s a trend that had better not continue.