The Penguins have signed defenseman Calen Addison to a three-year entry-level contract, Jim Rutherford announced prior to Saturday's 7 p.m. regular-season finale against the Rangers.
Addison, who turns 19 next week, was the Penguins' second-round pick in 2018. His contract will kick in whenever Addison plays his first professional season. He's ineligible to play in the AHL next season due to his age, and won't be in the NHL just yet. He'll almost certainly return to the WHL's Lethbridge Hurricanes in 2019-20, then turn pro in 2020-21.
Addison, 5-feet-10 and 180 pounds, led all Hurricanes defensemen in scoring in his third WHL season this year, recording 11 goals and 54 assists in 67 games -- an identical stat line to his sophomore season, in one fewer game.
Addison's Hurricanes were eliminated in seven games in the first round of the WHL playoffs. Addison recorded two goals and seven assists, appearing in all seven games. Following the Hurricanes' elimination, Addison and Jordy Bellerive joined Wilkes-Barre/Scranton on amateur tryout deals, where they'll finish the season.
Addison and Bellerive are both in Wilkes-Barre's lineup for Saturday's matchup against the Lehigh Valley Phantoms for their professional debuts.
Addison is definitely skilled. He nearly made Canada's roster for the World Junior tournament earlier in the season, but was eventually cut from Canada's camp.
Addison's biggest weakness is going to be his size, he's definitely undersized for a defenseman. He'll have another year in Lethbridge to at least get a little stronger before turning pro. He could also stand to grow his defensive game. But he'll have time to develop, he's still so young and defensemen typically take longer to develop anyway.
Don't overlook the fact that Wilkes-Barre already has him in the lineup. That's not just to give him a "look". Wilkes-Barre is three points out of a playoff spot. They're putting the players on the ice that will give them the push to extend their league-best active playoff streak to 17 seasons.