The Pittsburgh Penguins have claimed Carolina forward Zach Boychuk who they are believed to be bringing in for an opportunity on Evgeni Malkin’s left wing.
Boychuk (5-10, 185lbs) was the Hurricanes first round pick (14th overall) in the 2008 draft. He opened this season on Eric Staal’s left wing but was given a short audition and placed on waivers yesterday.
Boychuk had 16 goals and 32 points in 37 games this season for the Charlotte Checkers of the AHL. The 23 year old has 7 goals and 18 points in 73 career NHL games. Boychuk posted big numbers in 2010-2011 in the AHL with 65 points. In 2011-2012, he had 21 goals and 44 points for Charlotte.
The skill set is there but the production in the AHL hasn’t translated over to the NHL yet. As one of the top prospects coming into the 2008 draft, the scouting report on Boychuk then was being a strong skater, great vision, hockey sense and the ability to find players in open space, and he’s also regarded as having a quick release with what scouts had felt was the potential to score goals in the NHL.
The Penguins always love players with speed in their top-9 and Boychuk will give them that. He hasn’t scored an NHL goal in 22 games.
To make room for Boychuk, the Penguins are going to place Matt Niskanen on injured reserve for the time being.