The Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins have a new leading scorer and another all-star, and it's someone who has yet to play a game for the team.
The Penguins sent forward Benn Ferriero to the New York Rangers on Thursday in exchange for winger Chad Kolarik. With 35 points (16 goals, 19 assists), Kolarik becomes the team's leading scorer and he is currently tied for 13th in the AHL when it comes to point production.
Kolarik, 26, wasn't at practice on Thursday, but head coach John Hynes expects him to play tonight against Rochester as the Penguins kick-off a weekend road trip before the all-star break.
Despite missing all of last season with a knee injury, Kolarik has topped the 20-goal mark three times in his AHL career. He was named to the all-star team this season and is in his fifth AHL season.
Head coach John Hynes coached Kolarik when he was with the U.S. National Program in 2003-2004 and said the new winger has a good track record with stops at the college, AHL and NHL levels.
He's a speedy, gritty player with good offensive talent, Hynes said. He'll fit in well within our team.
That positive assessment was echoed by defenseman Dylan Reese, who lived with Kolarik while the two were teammates with the San Antonio Rampage in 2008-2009.
Reese used terms such as hard worker, enthusiastic and energetic on the ice to describe his new teammate.
He's a guy the fans will enjoy. He mucks it up out there and brings us some goal-scoring, Reese said. He's going to be a good fit here.
Ferriero was moved after a disappointing Penguins debut that saw him post four goals and 14 assists in 34 games.
Hynes said Ferriero endured a slump that he just couldn't shake when it came to point production.
He went through a bit of a drought, but all that time his work ethic and attitude were good. He was a consummate pro, Hynes said. Why things didn't work out production-wise, it's tough to say. He tried to work through it and for whatever reason his production wasn't where it needed to be.
- The Penguins travel to Rochester to face the Americans tonight and then head to Toronto to take on the Marlies on Saturday. In addition to Kolarik, Hynes said Tom Kostopoulos and Mark Eaton will also be ready to play tonight.
- Beau Bennett, who left Wednesday's game with a minor injury, likely won't play tonight but is possible for Saturday, Hynes said. His availability for the all-star game on Monday is still undetermined.
- In other injury news, Warren Peters practiced in full on Thursday and is ready to return to the lineup. Phil Dupuis remains sidelined. With the additions of Kostopoulos and Eaton, the Penguins now have seven AHL veterans on their roster (players with more than 260 games in the AHL and/or NHL). The list includes Kostopoulos, Eaton, Peters, Dupuis, Reese, Joey Mormina and Trevor Smith. Teams are allowed to dress five veterans, so with the return of Peters Hynes will have to sit someone.
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