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 Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins

Pickering, Koivunen, Pieniniemi and Foster Join Penguins

April 22, 2024 - American Hockey League (AHL)
Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins News Release


WILKES-BARRE, Pa. - The Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins announced today that four players have joined the team ahead of its opening-round series in the Calder Cup Playoffs.

Defenseman Owen Pickering has been reassigned to by the Pittsburgh Penguins to Wilkes-Barre/Scranton from the Swift Current Broncos of the Western Hockey League. Additionally, forwards Ville Koivunen and Cooper Foster as well as defenseman Emil Pieniniemi have been signed to amateur tryout agreements.

Pickering was Pittsburgh's first-round draft pick in 2022, selected with the 21 st overall pick. The 20-year-old just wrapped up his third-consecutive season of leading Swift Current defensemen in assists and points. This year, Pickering gathered seven goals and 39 assists for 46 points. He added seven points (1G-6A) in nine WHL playoff games, which also led Broncos blueliners.

A native of St. Adolphe, Manitoba, Pickering dressed in eight games for Wilkes-Barre/Scranton last season. He did not record any points in his first eight professional games.

Koivunen was drafted in the second round (51 st overall) of the 2021 NHL Entry Draft by the Carolina Hurricanes. The Pittsburgh Penguins acquired his rights on Mar. 7 as part of the trade package received in return for Jake Guentzel.

Koivunen, 20, placed second on Oulun Kärpät of the Finnish Liiga in goals (22) and points (56) while leading the club in assists (34). Koivunen also tied for the most points on Kärpät in the Liiga Playoffs with 12 points (5G-7A) in 11 games.

Since Christmas, no one in the Liiga posted more points than Koivunen, who generated 12 goals and 20 assists for 32 points in 27 games in that time.

In 2021-22, Koivunen topped all Liiga rookies with 18 assists and 29 points. The Oulu, Finland native posted 114 points (45G-68A) in 164 career Liiga games. He also suited up in 12 games for the Chicago Wolves at the end of the 2022-23 campaign, logging one goal.

Pieniniemi also played for Kärpät this season, recording two goals and four assists for six points in 38 games as a rookie. The 19-year-old blueliner appeared in nine playoff games for Kärpät, turning in no points.

Pieniniemi was drafted by Pittsburgh in the third round (91 st overall) of the 2023 NHL Entry Draft. Foster was a sixth-round selection (174 th overall) by the Penguins in that same draft.

Foster registered career highs across the board with the Ottawa 67's of the Ontario Hockey League this season. The 18-year-old from Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario put up 21 goals and 31 assists for 52 points in 59 games. He placed third on the club in goals and points.

In 136 career OHL games, Foster has collected 92 points (40G-52A)

Wilkes-Barre/Scranton's next game is its first game of the 2024 Calder Cup Playoffs, a showdown with the Lehigh Valley Phantoms on Wednesday, Apr. 24. Puck drop for Game 1 of the best-of-three series between the Penguins and Phantoms is 7:05 p.m. at Mohegan Sun Arena at Casey Plaza.

Calder Cup Playoff Packages are available exclusively through the Penguins' front office. Individual playoff game tickets and full s eason-ticket packages for the 2024-25 season are also on sale now. Full-Season , 22-game , 12-game , Flexbook and Premium Seating plans are available by reaching out to the Penguins directly at (570) 208-7367 . Individual-game tickets are also available by visiting Ticketmaster.com , the Mohegan Sun Arena Box Office or calling the Penguins' front office at (570) 208-7367.


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