Pittsburgh Penguins Claim Zach Boychuk off Waivers from Carolina Hurricanes

Kevin JamesonCorrespondent IJanuary 31, 2013

NEWARK, NJ - NOVEMBER 08:  Zach Boychuk #11 of the Carolina Hurricanes skates against the New Jersey Devils at the Prudential Center on November 8, 2011 in Newark, New Jersey. The Devils defeated the Hurricanes 3-2.  (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
Bruce Bennett/Getty Images

The Pittsburgh Penguins claimed 23-year-old forward Zach Boychuk off waivers from the Carolina Hurricanes on Thursday.

Boychuk, drafted in the first round (14th overall) in the 2008 NHL entry draft, has only suited up for one game for the Hurricanes this season. He played 10:13 and failed to record a shot on goal.

At 5’10” and 185 pounds, Boychuk is on the smaller side. What he lacks in size he makes up for in speed and vision. Boychuk is known for his offensive skill set and has had success at the AHL level scoring 58 goals to go along with 88 assists in 178 games.

In 73 games at the NHL level he has yet to make a serious offensive impact (7-11-18) but is still considered a high-upside prospect.

The Penguins have been engaged in some line shuffling the past couple days, moving third-line winger Tyler Kennedy to the fourth line in practice.

It remains to be seen who will fill in for Kennedy should he remain on the fourth line, but Boychuk would be a fit. He and Boychuk are almost the exact same size and skate with comparable speed, though Boychuk’s offensive upside could provide a spark to a third line that has produced only one goal through six games this season.

With defenseman Matt Niskanen on injured reserve (ankle) the Penguins do not need to clear space on their 23-man roster for Boychuk.

Boychuk’s cap hit is $625,000, and he will be a restricted free agent after this season.

The Penguins (3-3-0, 6 PT) are in New York to play the Rangers (3-3-0, 6 PT) this evening. Tomas Vokoun will start in net for the Pens, and rookie defenseman Robert Bortuzzo will get his first start. Who Bortuzzo will replace is a game-time decision.