Penguins cut ties with two young defensemen, Saturday.

Penguins cut ties with two young defensemen, Saturday.

The Pittsburgh Penguins have severed ties with a pair of young defensemen on Saturday.

Jonathan Larivee

It was a difficult day around the National Hockey League for a number of young prospects who were notified that their chances of an NHL dream would be greatly diminished and unfortunately for a pair of young defensemen the Pittsburgh Penguins were no exception.

Several teams around the league had a total of 46 prospects that remained both unsigned and without qualifying offers as of today's 5 pm EST cut off, 2 of whom had their rights controlled by the Penguins organization. 

The first player released on Saturday was 20 year old defenseman Nolan Collins who has something of a sad story when it comes to his development. The reality is that hockey is a very tough and physical sport where injuries are commonplace, and unfortunately Collins is one of those players who never really got a real opportunity to properly develop due to a number of injuries.

Collins saw his development stunted by a shoulder injury in 2022 and the following year in 2023 he was unable to participate in Penguins training camp due to a wrist injury.

The other prospect the Penguins cut ties with today is 22 year old defenseman Thimo Nickl. Nickl wasn't drafted by the Penguins, selected in the fourth round (104th overall) of the 2020 NHL Entry Draft by the Anaheim Ducks, but was instead acquired in a relatively minor trade deal made by general manager Ron Hextall.

Nickl did briefly play for the Penguins organization with their ECHL affiliate, the Wheeling Nailers. Nickl appeared in 66 games, scoring 2 goals and adding 19 assists for a total of 21 points.

It was announced that Nickl had agreed to a new deal with a team in his home country of Austria back in February, so this move comes as relatively little surprise.