David Warsofsky eager for his third chance with the Penguins
The Penguins brought back a familiar face this offseason when they re-signed defenseman David Warsofsky to a two-year, two-way contract.
The 5-foot-9, 170-pound defenseman previously played for the Penguins during the 2015-16 and 2016-17 seasons. His best stretch during that time came around New Year’s during the 2015-16 campaign when a rash of injuries forced Warsofsky to play significant minutes, including as the quarterback on the top power-play squad.
“It was clicking then I had an unfortunate injury that set me back for a while,” said Warsofsky, 29. “A lot of it it just luck and timing at the right time. The team is playing well and you get that opportunity. Hopefully, that happens again this year.”
The injury Warsofsky referenced wasn’t just unfortunate. It was also just simply bizarre. During a 5-0 home win against the Hurricanes on Jan. 17, 2016, Warsofsky suffered a concussion when referee Tim Peel tripped and slid into Warsofsky as he skated backwards while defending a rush by Carolina forward Jordan Staal.
“That was the hardest part about it,” Warsofsky said. “It was a complete fluke. It’s not like I blocked a shot and hurt my foot. It was extremely unfortunate for me. After that, it was extremely hard for me to come back. At that point, the team was really rolling. Sometimes you get good luck, sometimes you get bad.”
Later that season, Warsofsky was lost to the Devils through waivers but he returned the ensuing offseason as a free agent. His second season in Pittsburgh was hardly as effective as he only appeared in seven NHL contests. He signed with the Avalanche during the 2017 offseason and appeared in 16 NHL games in 2017-18 then spent the entire 2018-19 season with the Avalanche’s AHL affiliate, the Colorado Eagles.
Familiarity led him back the Penguins for a third time.
“Obviously, I want to get back to the NHL level and I thought this was a good opportunity for me,” Warsofsky said. “I’m comfortable with the staff here and the players since the last time I was here. So I think it’s a comfort level also. And you kind of want to go to somewhere where you’ve had success. Looking at the other options I had, this was the best opportunity.
“Already being here two years, I’m not starting fresh. The staff knows what I can do. Hopefully, I can make the (NHL) team, but if I don’t, hopefully they have trust in me to call me up.”
Considering the Penguins have plenty of incumbents established on the blue line, Warsofsky realizes his road back to the NHL might not go through Pittsburgh, if at all. He would need to clear waivers in order to be assigned to Wilkes-Barre/Scranton.
“It can be a bit of a roller coaster sometimes,” he said. “I know what to expect coming into it. If I do get sent down and waivers are (a possibility), that can be a good thing at the same time. You can get an opportunity somewhere else. Obviously, I don’t want that to happen. I want to stay here. But that’s the business and decisions have to be made.”
Seth Rorabaugh is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Seth by email at [email protected] or via Twitter .