Janne Pesonen is officially under contract with the Pittsburgh Penguins.
The Finnish winger signed a one-year contract today. Ray Shero had this to say about Pesonen (Penguins.com):
“Pesonen is a quick, skilled player that has had much success in the Finnish Elite League,” said Shero. “We look forward to watching him perform at his first NHL training camp.”
The contract is a two-way contract, allowing him to be sent between Pittsburgh and its AHL affiliate in Wilkes-Barre, PA.
Since the initial announcement of him becoming a Penguin, I have had more time to research him. What I’ve read noted his exceptional speed and hands. Given that plus his size, 5-11 and 180 pounds, Pesonen reminds me alot of former Penguin Martin Straka.
If Pesonen gets the chance at some point next year to skate with Evgeni Malkin or Sidney Crosby his point total could surprise many around the NHL. However, I’m not sure if he’ll get that chance. As (Insider on Pittsburgh Sports) noted, contract talks seem to be getting more serious between the Penguins and Jordan Staal. Also, there is talk of Staal moving back to the left-wing.
The Penguins have also had internal discussions about using Jordan Staal as a winger on the top 2 lines when the season begins.
Staal scored 29 goals from the left wing in his rookie season. If he moves back to that position, Pesonen’s chances at playing with either Malkin or Crosby are little to none. Nevertheless, his stats indicate that he is playing the best hockey of his career and this is his time for a shot in the NHL.
Furthermore, I’d love to see Staal back on the left wing. If his numbers show a significant improvement in the first month or so of the season next year, then it was worth it. But I’m getting ahead of myself.
PENS SIGN BEN LOVEJOY
Shero also inked defensman Ben Lovejoy to a one-year entry-level contract (Penguins.com). Lovejoy (6-2, 210 pounds) led Wilkes-Barre in plus/minus with a plus-16. He appeared in 72 games during the regular season and recorded 20 points (2 G, 18 A).
Lovejoy also appeared in all 23 of the Baby Pens’ Calder Cup Playoff games. He totaled 10 points (2 G, 8 A).
The year before joining the Baby Pens, Lovejoy played for the Norfolk Admirals. He saw time in five games and went pointless while recording six penalty minutes.
Lovejoy attended and played college hockey for three years at Dartmouth and one final year at Boston College (WBS). He recorded 54 points in in 96 games (11 G, 43 A). In one year at BC, Lovejoy played in 22 games and recorded six assists.