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Penguins Sign Left Wing to a PTO Contract

by J.T. Toth

Photo courtesy of Rink Royalty.

The Penguins have signed Austin Wagner, a left winger to a Professional Tryout (PTO) for their upcoming training camp in September. Wagner will have his work cut out for him to make the Penguins' bottom six.

Draft 412 will take a look at Austin Wagner and what he may add to the Penguins' depth at the wing position:

LW- Austin Wagner, 6’1” 195 lbs.

Austin Wagner was drafted by the Los Angeles Kings in the 4th round of the 2015 NHL Draft. He played in the WHL for the Regina Pats and his numbers improved each season he was there. The Kings called up Wagner during the 2018-2019 season and he played in 62 games, tallying 12 goals and 9 assists. His 65 games in the 2019-2020 season were the most he played in the NHL and once again his scoring was rather pedestrian, only putting up 6 goals and 5 assists.

After that season, Wagner bounced around the minor leagues for Los Angeles before being traded to the Chicago Blackhawks last season. He only played in 7 games for Chicago, scoring a goal and an assist. After the season, he became an unrestricted free agent and eventually signed the PTO with Pittsburgh.

Wagner has excellent skating ability and acceleration, but the knock on him coming out of Regina was that his brain and hands cannot keep up with his feet. He can be beneficial on a forecheck or as a penalty killer, but cannot be counted on to help out on the offensive end. He has never been able to fill out his 6’1” frame and still lacks the strength to be a regular performer in the NHL.

Wagner’s skating will keep him in camp and through the exhibition games, but at the end of the day, Draft 412 thinks the best case scenario is to possibly add more depth at Wilkes-Barre for the 2023 season.

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