AHL Penguins notebook: Harrington uses Pens' Maatta as inspiration
Last season, Scott Harrington and Olli Maatta rode buses all over Ontario together as teammates with the London Knights.
This season, the 19-year-old Maatta has upgraded to the charter flights of the NHL while the 20-year-old Harrington continues to travel via luxury motor coach as a rookie with the AHL Penguins in Wilkes Barre.
If Harrington is jealous, he isn't letting on. In fact, he said he sees Maatta more as an inspiration than an obstruction.
“It shows they're comfortable taking a younger player if he's ready to go,” Harrington said.
If the first 11 games of Harrington's pro career are any indication, there's a pretty good chance of that happening. He has a goal, three assists and a plus-5 rating playing a shutdown role in the Baby Pens' top four.
“He's done a nice job of adapting to how we want to play systematically and he's done a good job, for a young guy, showing strength and the ability to compete down low,” coach John Hynes said.
Like other stay-at-home prospects who have come through Wilkes-Barre over the years — Rob Scuderi and Brooks Orpik, for instance — Harrington will probably have to bulk up and refine his game in the minors for a while. The 6-foot-2, 200-pounder seems ready for the climb.
“Whenever you're breaking into an organization that's very deep at your position,” Harrington said, “you have to be patient.”
The Penguins signed 28-year-old heavyweight Pierre-Luc Letourneau-Leblond to a two-year, two-way NHL contract on Thursday largely because they've liked his work so far in Wilkes-Barre. He's played a regular shift on an energy line and is second in the AHL with six fighting majors.
After signing, Leblond described how he sees his role if called up.
“Having a bigger guy or an enforcer on a team is not going to prevent everything, especially in the NHL where our role is more limited than it was 10 years ago,” he said, “But if I can make a difference and give them a little more room on the ice and keep the other team honest, I've done my job.”
Young and younger
For a game last weekend in Hershey, 26-year-old defenseman Brendan Mikkelson was out with a minor injury, replaced in the lineup by Nick D'Agostino, a 23-year-old rookie from Cornell.
D'Agostino was the oldest defenseman the Baby Pens dressed that night. Harrington is 20, Brian Dumoulin and Reid McNeill are 21 and Simon Despres and Philip Samuelsson are 22.
All six are younger than the youngest Washington Capitals prospect Hershey dressed on defense, 23-year-old Tomas Kundratek.
Jake Guentzel set up Josh Archibald for an overtime winner on back-to-back nights last weekend, leading the University of Nebraska-Omaha to a pair of 3-2 victories at the University of Denver. Both are Penguins prospects.
Archibald, a 2011 sixth-round pick, leads UNO with 10 points in eight games. Guentzel, a freshman picked in the third round last June, has seven points in eight games. Both are 5-10 forwards who can skate.
Jonathan Bombulie has covered the Baby Pens for the Citizens' Voice in Wilkes-Barre since the team's inception in 1999. He can be reached via email at jbombulie(at)aol.com.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Hollidaysburg native Lafferty relishing his chance with Penguins
- Q&A: New coach Johnston feeling at home with Penguins
- Recchi rejoins Pens, this time as a coach
- Penguins sign Despres to 2-year deal
- Despite management change, familiarity reigns for Penguins prospects
- Penguins notebook: Kapanen shines in scrimmage
- Pens hope to reach long-term deal with Brandon Sutter
- Stockpiling talented forwards becomes a priority for Penguins