Penguins Sign Tom Sestito to a PTO – Pittsburgh Penguins – PenguinPoop Blog

Penguins Sign Tom Sestito to a PTO

In a low-risk effort to reinforce his star-studded squad with some muscle, Penguins GM Jim Rutherford announced on August 26 that he has invited heavyweight Tom Sestito to training camp on a tryout basis.

There’s little doubt about what Sestito brings to the table. A third-round pick of Columbus in 2006, he’s skated in 137 NHL contests for three teams—the Blue Jackets, Flyers and Canucks—and piled up 432 penalty minutes.

Following a breakout with Vancouver in 2013-14 (77 games, five goals, and a league-high 213 PIM) the 27-year-old forward endured a lost season last year. A frequent healthy scratch, he appeared to be at odds with coach Willie Desjardins.

“I haven’t been given a fair shake here yet,” he said.

After a midseason demotion to Utica, the Canucks cut ties with the hulking winger in February.

Sestito isn’t a lock to make the Penguins by any stretch. With more losses than wins on his career fight card, he’s hardly the second coming of Georges Laraque. But he is large (6’5” 228) and willing (a whopping 19 fights in 2013-14), qualities in short supply on the skill-oriented Pens. And, he’s displayed a bit of a scoring touch, albeit in the AHL.

Even if Sestito earns a spot with the Pens, don’t look for him to be in the lineup on a nightly basis. Obviously, the rugged Rome, New York native wouldn’t have much value against free-skating teams like Detroit. But against physical foes like Columbus and Washington, not to mention the “heavy” teams out West? Sestito could provide protection for the black-and-gold’s cadre of stars.

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  1. Jim's Gravatar Jim
    October 2, 2015 at 11:40 pm | Permalink

    Hey Rick,
    It has been a while since u posted anything…I wanted to comment on the 8 game
    exhibition schedule that just was completed.With a 3 and 5 record the Pens did not look so great. Defense is terrible. The small team is getting pushed around as mentioned above. Your thoughts ?

  2. Samuel's Gravatar Samuel
    September 4, 2015 at 5:59 pm | Permalink

    Unfortunately, I wouldn’t look for him to make the team at all given Jim Rutherfords antifight advocacy that he made clear while in Carolina to the media. The team is so soft its sickening. As for his fighting ability, it goes beyond anything the pens have which is pretty much absolutely nothing. He has lost some fights, although unlike any of penguins recent season fighters and their losses, his had been against the biggest toughest fighters in the entire nhl who he has never shied away from. He also is more mobile and even dare I say it, skilled than pure enforcers of the past. The team is so brutally soft, I would play him nightly. No reason not to. Instead of just being a deterrent etc, why not also throw weight around with physicality when playing the few “softer” teams in the league? What is there to lose? Matt Cullen or Beau Bennetts production? You are losing nothing and gaining a lot in many ways.

    • Rick Buker's Gravatar Rick Buker
      September 5, 2015 at 2:53 am | Permalink

      Hey Samuel,

      I’m with you. One-hundred percent.

      While my preference is to have guys who possess what I like to call “playing toughness” (e.g.; Nick Foligno of Columbus) as opposed to a heavyweight, I’ll gladly take a gamer like Sestito over nothing at all. Which—as you pointed out—is pretty much what the Penguins had in the toughness department prior to inviting the big winger to camp.

      I know I’m a dinosaur. But I like my teams to play with an edge. When push comes to shove, I think there’s value in being a little bigger and badder than the other guy—especially given the NHL’s leniency come playoff time. And, as you stated, what’s wrong with dishing out a little punishment as opposed to always being on the receiving end?

      I maintain that Letang’s concussion last season was a direct result of the black and gold having nobody—and I mean NOBODY—to serve as a deterrent.

      I’m especially worried about the defense. I know JR and Co. want guys who can move the puck. But you’ve got to have at least some physicality back there.

      The Pens have none.

      • Jim's Gravatar Jim
        September 5, 2015 at 2:54 pm | Permalink

        Rick, Your assessment is correct.
        Our team is NOT ready to compete for a Stanley Cup final.Team toughness,balanced goal scoring,undersized and inexperienced defense corps, and lack of elite young talent are the main problems. Nobody seems to care about these issues.
        A reality check: Kessel could score 40-45 goals this year playing with Sid. Anybody playing with Sid is going to get 20 to 25 goals.Especially on the power play. Wow. A difference of 20 goals.Over an 84 game season.That is nothing.
        Instead of being 19 th in goal scoring last year,maybe we go to 12 th place this year? We are not a cup favorite team !Toughness is one of the top issues.
        According to Forbes magazine, the Pens are not going to get 750 to 850 million they are seeking.That Morgan Stanley has botched the sale by over inflating the value of the team.Now Mario and company have a bigger problem in that they have told their fan base that they want to sell,( not a bright thing to do), and probably will sell, at a lower price than the inflated one. This gives the impression again that what is wrong with the Penguins.Why did they sell for less money…. A real dumb move. It has been 3 to 4 month’s. If somebody wanted to buy the team,it would be done by now !

        • Rick Buker's Gravatar Rick Buker
          September 8, 2015 at 8:46 am | Permalink

          Hey Jim,

          It’s always good to hear from you and read what you have to say.

          Even if the Pens are a few bricks shy of being a legit Cup contender, I’m looking forward to watching them play. Kessel certainly should add some excitement (and plenty of goals as you mentioned). And, overall, I like what JR’s done with the team up front. I’m especially interested in Plotnikov. I hope he emerges as an old-school power forward…or at least a reasonable facsimile. I do think they’ll have more balance and depth among the forwards.

          The defense is the wild card. If Pouliot develops as hoped and Letang and Maatta stay healthy, it could be a pleasant surprise. But if the injury bug bites and/or the kids don’t pan out, it could be a disaster. As you and I’ve observed, a physical presence is needed back there. Free-agent Steve Oleksy plays with an edge, but he’s undersized (190 pounds). I don’t know if the Pens view him as a viable option.

          Regarding the sale, I really haven’t been following it too closely. And there’s considerably more to the process than meets the eye—such as the development rights to the old Civic Arena property. But if I’m a prospective buyer I look beyond the glitz and glamour and see a top-heavy team loaded with pricey contracts, along with a dearth of young prospects in the pipeline. I know a tipping-point is coming a few years down the road…one that could drastically impact on-ice performance and attendance (and subsequently, the value of the franchise).

          Those factors might discourage me from paying a premium price.


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