For the first time this season, the Pittsburgh Penguins will have all-pro defenseman Kris Letang in their lineup, as the team announced he will play Friday night against the New York Islanders at Consol Energy Center.
Letang, who has been rehabbing what’s believed to be a knee injury of some sort, paired up with Rob Scuderi in the Penguins’ morning skate. Those two played together in the preseason and their differing styles appeared to mesh quite well in exhibition play.
The 26-year-old Letang scored 38 points (5g, 33a) in 35 games last year and was a finalist in Norris Trophy voting after leading all Penguins skaters in time on ice at just over 25 1/2 minutes per game. Letang is on the final year of a four-year contract that has paid him $3.5 million annually; his freshly-signed eight-year, $58-million deal kicks in next fall.
In addition to Letang’s season debut, winger Jayson Megna is expected to play his first NHL game Friday night. At 23, Megna has one full year of pro hockey to his name, a 56-game stint with the AHL’s Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins in 2012-13. He was called up from WBS on Thursday.
After their matchup with the Islanders, the Penguins (7-2-0, 14 points) will continue their six-games-in-nine-days stretch with a Saturday night tilt in Toronto.
The Penguins were part of the conversation today on the Gospel of Hockey podcast, as Wheeling Nailers voice D.J. Abisalih joined Larry Snyder and me to discuss the start of the ECHL’s club season and impressions on the early NHL action. The Nailers are a player development affiliate of the Penguins. We also delivered our weekly Local Hockey Report, focusing on the area pro, college and junior teams: