After Monday’s win over the Carolina Hurricanes, the Pittsburgh Penguins might have finally realized the potential of rookie forward Jayson Megna.
Scoring his first goal — albeit a shot off his shin courtesy of captain Sidney Crosby — and assisting on the teams’ first tally, Megna helped snap the Pens’ three-game losing streak and undoubtedly opened the eyes of the coaching staff.
Head coach Dan Byslma had great praise for Megna following Monday’s tilt:
“I think he was effective on the ice almost every shift he was out there,” he said. “We saw it with his speed out wide, made some plays, and really earned the opportunity to get more ice-time, which he got throughout the game and really was a factor.”
Due to the fact that forwards’ Beau Bennett, James Neal, and most recently Chuck Kobasew, are sidelined with various ailments, Megna could potentially be a mainstay in the lineup when they return if he continues to produce.
Providing sufficient contributions to the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Pens’ first-six victorious games of the season, Megna registered five points (3G, 2A), potted two game-winning goals, and was skating to a plus-8 rating when Pittsburgh called him up.
While those aren’t wowing statistics and he’s not one of the players that comes to mind when looking within the organization, Megna could turn out to be one of the best hidden gems they’ve got in their system.
Although he stands at 6-foot-1 and weighs 195-pounds, Megna plays with that full stomach like he’s got something to prove, cause he does. That desire to make a name for himself is what’s intriguing about him.
The speedy forward was picked up by Pittsburgh as an undrafted free agent back in August of 2012, where he finished his final season at the University of Nebraska-Omaha. Ever since, he’s been knockin’ on the National Hockey League’s door.
Unfortunately for Megna, Pittsburgh has been blessed with offense talent up-and-down the lineup, and a spot for him just hasn’t surfaced. The time for him to show the organization he’s able to hack it at this level is now.
With the injuries piling up for Pittsburgh, Megna must proceed in pushing the staff to keep him. Despite having players’ under contract, they also know Megna’s deal is going to give them room on the payroll to create future endeavors.
So not only could his play be a benefactor to Pittsburgh, but with the way his contract is set up, it could also mean more room to potentially add-on.
In my opinion, the kid’s got moxie. Being undrafted and making something out of nothing, it shows the type of character he has to get to this point, and I think he’s got everything the team should look for in a player.
He possesses responsible puck management, an effective two-way game, and a get to the open-space mentality. For the long-term, I view the guy as a valuable piece, so I’m rooting for him.
We’ll see if he can keep-up the good work when the team takes on the Boston Bruins tonight.
The game can be seen on the NBC sports network, and is set to start at 8 p.m.