The Jansen Harkins experiment in Pittsburgh may have come to an end. Today, the Penguins placed him on waivers after acquiring him 17 days ago.
Placed on NHL waivers: Jansen Harkins (PIT), Zack MacEwen (OTT), and Radim Simek (SJ).
— Chris Johnston (@reporterchris) October 19, 2023
Harkins, 26, was previously with the Jets before joining the Penguins. He showed promise during the preseason with his speed and forechecking skills but struggled in the regular season, failing to record a point in the first four games.
His time in Pittsburgh may have effectively ended after he received a minor penalty in the second period against Detroit. The Red Wings capitalized on the power play, taking a 4-1 lead, and despite a comeback effort from the Penguins, they fell short with a 4-3 loss.
Following the penalty, Harkins saw limited playing time in the third period and was replaced by Matt Nieto.
Aside from the penalty, Harkins had a rough start, with the lowest expected goals percentage (34.5%), Corsi (38.6%), and scoring chance number (33%) among the team’s forwards.
Due to salary cap constraints, Pittsburgh currently has only 12 forwards. If Harkins clears waivers or is claimed by another team, the Penguins will have the opportunity to call up a player from the minors to fill his spot.
Harkins’ career at the NHL level has been uncertain, as he has struggled to find a consistent role with both Winnipeg and Pittsburgh. However, he has been productive in the AHL. If Winnipeg reclaims him and no other team shows interest, the Jets may send him directly to their AHL affiliate, Manitoba. If he clears waivers, the Penguins can assign him to Wilkes-Barre to free up roster space and salary cap.
Pens GM Kyle Dubas mentioned the need to address the bottom-six group and find players who can contribute during a TNT broadcast. The team is actively giving players opportunities to prove themselves and secure roster spots.
Dubas stated, “When we approached the offseason, our goal was to bolster team toughness in the bottom six. We’re still working on that, and it falls on me. However, we’re giving players a chance to showcase their skills and earn those jobs.”
Unfortunately, Harkins did not make the most of his opportunity, prompting the Penguins to make a quick change and give another player a chance to shine. The team is determined to spark their underperforming lower lines.
We will learn more about Harkins’ fate and who will receive the next opportunity tomorrow afternoon. Dubas has shown that he is proactive in making adjustments to improve the team’s performance.
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