Yesterday, we learned that Joe Vitale has made the Penguins initial 23 man roster. This is obviously great news for Joe and great for Northeastern. Despite recent success, the Huskies have not been well represented in the NHL. Vitale came into Northeastern in 2005 from the USHL, right after he had been drafted by the Penguins. A solid 16 point season as a freshman won him the Rookie of the Year award for Northeastern. He was then named as an alternate captain in his sophomore season, where he again had 16 points. He was named Captain in his Junior year and thats when it all came together for him. He was named to the All-Hockey East Second Team, as well as being Northeastern’s MVP. Vitale’s final line was 12-23-35, along with 75 penalty minutes. His numbers fell a bit in his final year and his college career ended in the NCAA Tournament loss to Cornell.
He immediately joined the Penguins AHL affiliate the Wilkes Barre Scranton Penguins and put up 4 points in their final 5 games. He has spent the last two seasons down there putting up 30 points each year. He got a brief call up last year, which saw him grab his first NHL goal and his first NHL fight. He then finished the season with 3 goals in the AHL playoffs.
Now as he begins his third professional season, he looks to make it his first in the NHL. Vitale has earned his chance with the hard work and tenacity that made him a fan favorite at Northeastern. He is expected to see some time on the fourth line and on the penalty kill for Pittsburgh. Here’s hoping he can stick around all season.
- Brodie Reid , Tyler McNeely, and Wade MacLeod will all begin their first full pro seasons in the AHL. All 3 will be on teams in the New England area so you may get a chance to check them out. Good luck to all 3, they will certainly be missed at NU this year.
- Brad Thiessen is still stuck in the AHL as well. He was named the AHL Goalie of the season last year, but he sits behind Marc Andre Fleury and Brent Johnson on the depth chart. Fleury is in the last year of his contract, but so is Theissen, who signed a 1 year deal this summer. The best case for Theissen is that he has another great year in WBS and either gets the Penguins job next season if Fleury walks or signs somewhere else that will give him a better chance at an NHL job.
- Jamie Oleksiak was sent back to his OHL team after not making the Stars’ roster. Jamie left Northeastern this summer after being drafted in the 1st round, becoming the first Northeastern player to do so.
- JP Maley has caught on with the Mighty Ducks (NU Intramurals) and he scored 2 goals in his first game. He could have had the hat trick, but the crossbar denied him twice.
- Chad Costello is being considered for the Avs final roster, but there is a good shot he get sent back to the AHL. Costello left NU after the 2008 season for a move to the ECHL. After 2 season in the CHL, Chad finished last year with the AHL affiliate of the of the Colorado Avalanche. But he looks like he could be headed back to the ECHL this season.
- Chris Student sat out all of last season after transferring back home to Minnesota. He is eligible to play this season and may even face the Huskies when they travel to Minnesota for a Holiday tournament.