Rookie defenseman Joe Piskula returned to the lineup last night. He played a solid amount, almost 11 minutes, took one shot and had a minus-1 rating. Piskula obviously is much less heralded than Jack Johnson, but he’s another young defenseman getting a look at the NHL after his college career (at the University of Wisconsin ended). In four games, Piskula doesn’t have a point and has a minus-3 rating.
“It’s been awesome,” Piskula said, “being able to come in with such a great opportunity and get some experience. This team is rebuilding with a lot of talented young guys.”
I asked Piskula about making the news last week. His contract, in which he received a huge bonus simply for playing five games this season, was held up by rival GMs who accused Dean Lombardi of playing fast and loose with the rules. Piskula said, “To be honest, I don’t know too much about it.”
Piskula also said he hadn’t sought, or been given, much information about what the Kings plan to do with him next season. He will turn 23 in July and the Kings need some solid defensive prospects, but if Peter Harrold also makes the team next season, would the Kings really go with (essentially) three rookies on defense? Doubtful.
“This is just a good opportunity to come in and get a feel for things,” Piskula said.