The chants can continue.
Popular Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins winger Bobby Farnham re-signed with the Pittsburgh organization this week, returning for a third season and giving the fans at the Mohegan Sun Arena another chance to erupt into their “Bobby” chant when he steps on the ice.
Farnham inked a one-year, two-way contract and could return to Wilkes-Barre/Scranton as one of the team’s more experienced players at the AHL level.
“It’s nice to get this done in July and now I can focus on training for Pittsburgh’s camp in September,” he said. “I’m really looking forward to returning to this organization.”
Farnham, 25, admits his rookie season in the AHL two years ago was an adjustment as he played twice as many games as he did in a season at college.
Farnham’s second year was a bit smoother as he knew how to prepare for the grind of an AHL season.
So how are things shaping up as Farnham gets ready for his third season with the Pittsburgh organization?
“I really hope to get NHL games,” Farnham said on Thursday. “I feel like I’m ready and I’m prepared.”
The energetic winger is perhaps more excited for the start of this season than any other, and with good reason.
Over the last two seasons with Wilkes-Barre/Scranton, Farnham thrived in an agitator role playing in the bottom two lines. He totalled 440 penalty minutes over 129 games during the two seasons, and his 274 penalty minutes as a rookie in 2012-13 was good enough for third in the AHL.
Considering that Pittsburgh management has expressed a desire for more grit, Farnham feels primed for a breakout season.
“I love hearing that,” he said. “You want more grit? That sounds perfect to me.”
Still, Farnham hasn’t developed into a one-dimensional player. Last season he shaved down his penalty minute total to 166 while more than doubling his goal output with seven and boosting his point total to 14. He also appeared in 12 playoff games.
Does that trend mean the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton fans that routinely chanted “Bobby” every time Farnham stepped on the ice last season will see a different player this year?
“Energy, hard-hitting, fights, speed - I have no other way to play,” Farnham said. “Hopefully I can add a few more goals, but physical play is the key to my game.”
With all the changes at the top in Pittsburgh this offseason, Farnham said there could be differences with how things are run throughout the organization. But he was confident that at least one area would remain the same.
“Whatever changes are made, we’ll be able to adapt and continue the success that this organization has established,” Farnham said, adding he is glad John Hynes will return to coach Wilkes-Barre/Scranton this season.
“From a personal standpoint coach Hynes has been unbelievable for my development. He expects a lot out of his players, and he gets those results,” Farnham said.