The Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins offense received a significant boost hours before Wednesday’s AHL trade deadline expired at 3 p.m.
The Penguins obtained Derek Nesbitt from the Peoria Rivermen in exhange for future considerations.
Nesbitt, 30, led the Rivermen this season with 26 goals, eight power play tallies and was second in points with 47 in 66 games. He has scored more than 20 goals in each of the last two seasons and provides the Penguins with another shooter to go along with the likes of Chad Kolarik and Trevor Smith.
Head coach John Hynes said the trade wasn’t made to fill a need on the team.
“When you have the chance to get a player of this caliber, you do it,” Hynes said. “We’re adding a very high-character guy who can skate and has had very good production at the AHL level.
In seven pro seasons, Nesbitt has appeared in 253 AHL games with Rockford, Manitoba, San Antonio and Peoria. For his career he has 66 goals, 156 points and 44 penalty minutes.
The Penguins appear to be getting Nesbitt at the perfect time. He is coming off his hottest month of the season in March with seven goals and 12 points in 15 games.
Nesbitt, who wasn’t drafted, began his AHL career on a one year contract with Rockford after working his way up from the ECHL. He was signed to a professional tryout agreement by Peoria on Nov. 11, 2010 and was signed to an AHL contract a month later.
The fact that Nesbitt had to earn his way to the AHL appealed to Hynes.
“He’s worked for everything he’s gotten and it tells you a lot about what’s inside a person and a player when nothing’s handed to them,” Hynes said. “His track record speaks volumes about his ability, drive and heart.”
Nesbitt ranks tenth in the league in goal scorers and, along with Kolarik, who is eighth with 28 goals, gives the Penguins two players in the top 10 among goal producers.
Nesbitt won’t play in this weekend’s games in St. John’s, but will join the team early next week, Hynes said. As far as what line Nesbitt will play on, Hynes hasn’t yet made that decision.
“Right now for us it’s about the ability to add a high-character player with the ability to score,” Hynes said. “He has the drive and passion to get to the NHL, and that’s the type of player we want here.”