Zach Aston-Reese signed with the Penguins on March 14th, 2017. He played his first game for Pittsburgh’s AHL affiliate the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins on March 21st. He scored his first goal in the first period, and it ended up being the decider.
It looks like the 22-year-old NCAA scoring champion and finalist for the Hobey Baker MVP Award hasn’t lost a step in his transition from college-athlete to professional hockey player.
Aston-Reese has 31 goals and 32 assists for 63 points in 38 games for Northeastern University before joining the Penguins earlier this month.
The 6’0, 200 lbs forward certainly appears to be the real deal and may very well be ready to join Pittsburgh’s NHL squad next season, or earlier if injuries make that move necessary. He has the size, strength, speed, and shot that make him a dangerous power forward, along with good game sense and offensive awareness.
The best part is, all those aspects will likely improve with NHL-caliber conditioning and coaching. Aston-Reese could very well be the rookie everyone is talking about next season.
The end of the AHL season in Wilkes-Barre/Scranton will give the Penguins organization a good look at their newest forward’s potential. He’s off to a great start so far, expect even more highlight-reel plays from Zach Aston-Reese.