Penguins defensive prospect Jack. St. Ivany is a bit young to really be considered part of the “Gretzky generation”.
When Wayne Gretzky was traded to the Los Angeles Kings in 1988, countless Southern California kids got into the sport.
But by the time St. Ivany was born in 1999, Gretzky was three years away from stepping down from the Kings.
It might be more accurate to label St. Ivany, a native of Manhattan Beach, Calif., as part of the “Jeff Carter Generation.”
Carter, now a popular power forward for the Penguins, helped lead the Kings to that franchise’s only Stanley Cup championships in 2012 and 2014 under the watchful eye of a teenage St. Ivany.
“I was definitely at those Kings Cup races,” said St. Ivany, now 23. “Seeing Carter lift the Cup was pretty cool. It’s pretty surreal to step in here and see him walking around, being part of the same organization.
St. Ivany is attending the Penguins’ ongoing rookie camp in Cranberry and is expected to attend the ensuing organization-wide training camp beginning Wednesday.
He took a somewhat unusual route by joining the Penguins.
A fourth-round pick (112th overall) by the Philadelphia Flyers in 2018, St. Ivany never signed with that organization, and once the Flyers’ rights to him expired in August, he was signed to a contract. entry-level two-year-old. with the Penguins on August 20.
St. Ivany won’t elaborate on why he refused to sign with the Flyers, but makes it clear that he didn’t see his future unfolding on the east side of Pennsylvania.
“It just wasn’t the right call at the right time,” St. Ivany said. “They have been very helpful over the years in my development by running development camps there. But at the end of the day, it wasn’t the right place for me. More than grateful the Pittsburgh Penguins want me here.
When he was drafted by the Flyers, current Penguins general manager Ron Hextall and assistant general manager Chris Pryor held nearly identical positions with the Flyers and led that team’s drafts at the time. So their familiarity with St. Ivany led to a reunion.
“They called me and reached out,” St. Ivany said. “Obviously I know Hextall from Philadelphia, Pryor from Philadelphia, a few other development and scouting guys. As soon as I discovered that they were interested in me, it was obvious. It’s just such a great organization, and (they have) a winning hockey culture here. It’s hard to refuse that. »
A right-hander who stands 6-foot-3 and 201 pounds, St. Ivany is expected to make his professional debut by spending most of the 2022-23 season with Wilkes-Barre/Scranton of the American Hockey League.
After finishing his senior season at Boston College in March, St. Ivany has been patient through the spring and summer as he waits for his professional future to unfold.
“My season ended relatively early in March,” St. Ivany said. “It was a quick couple of weeks there, just making decisions. At the end of March, I knew that I was going to leave for free agency in August. From then on, I was just focusing on training and getting bigger, stronger, faster and at the same time finishing my degree. It was a good spring. I finished at Boston College, then I was just at home practicing all summer waiting until August to see which teams were interested.
It turned out that more than a few teams were interested in St. Ivany after he had a career-high 24 points (four goals, 20 assists) in 31 NCAA games last season.
“I think developmentally, I feel like I took another step last summer in getting bigger and stronger,” St. Ivany said. “Being a year older made a big difference in being able to play different games. And I feel like my skating has improved.
“Hopefully it happens again this summer.”
Seth Rorabaugh is an editor at Tribune-Review. You can contact Seth by email at [email protected] or through Twitter .
. Join the Penguins was pick easy for prospect Jack Ivany