Joining the Penguins was an easy choice for potential Jack St. Ivanio

Penguin defensive prospect Jack. Saint Ivani is a little too small to be considered part of the “Gretzky Generation”.

When Wayne Gretzky was traded to the Los Angeles Kings in 1988, countless children in Southern California took up the game.

But by the time Saint Ivani was born in 1999, Gretzky was three years away from abdicating the kings.

It might be more accurate to label St. Ivani, a Manhattan Beach, California native, as part of the “Jeff Carter Generation.”

Carter, now a popular force for the Penguins, helped lead the Kings to that franchise’s only Stanley Cup championship in 2012 and a teenage St. Ivanie in ’14.

“I was definitely on those King’s Cup runs,” said St. Ivanie, now 23. “It was great to see Carter lift the cup. It’s so surreal to step in here and see him walk around being part of the same outfit.”

St. Ivanie is attending the Penguins’ ongoing rookie camp in the Cranberries and is scheduled to attend an upcoming training camp for the entire organization starting Wednesday.

He took a somewhat unusual route to join the penguins.

112) by the Philadelphia Flyers, St. Ivani never signed with that organization, and after the Flyers’ rights expired in August, he signed a two-year, entry-level contract. With the Penguins on August 20th.

St. Ivanie is not specific about why he declined to sign with the Flyers, but made it clear that he did not see his future in the eastern part of Pennsylvania.

“It just wasn’t the right fit at the right time,” St. Ivanie said. “They were super helpful throughout the years in my development setting up development camps there. But at the end of the day, it just wasn’t the right place for me. More than thankful that the Pittsburgh Penguins wanted me here. ,

When he was drafted by the Flyers, current Penguins general manager Ron Hextall and assistant general manager Chris Pryor held nearly identical positions with the Flyers and ran that team’s draft at the time. So his acquaintance with St. Ivany led to a reunion.

“They called me and reached out,” said St. Ivanie. “Obviously I know Hextall from Philadelphia, Pryor from Philadelphia, a few more development and scout people. It was a no-brainer as soon as I found out they were interested in me. It’s such a great organization, and[their]There’s a winning hockey culture here. It’s hard to turn down.”

A right-handed shot, listed at 6-foot-3 and 201 pounds, St. Ivanie is expected to take his first steps as a professional, who will spend most of the 2022–23 season at American Hockey’s Wilkes-Barre/ With Scranton. League.

After completing his senior season at Boston College in March, St. Ivanie was patient throughout the spring and summer as he waited for his professional future to unfold.

“My season ended relatively early in March,” said St. “It was just a couple of weeks before the decision was made. By the end of March, I knew I was going to go to free agency in August. From then on, it was just focusing on training and getting bigger, stronger, faster as well, Was finishing my degree. It was a nice spring. I ended up at Boston College, and then I waited until August to train at home for the whole summer to see what teams were interested .

As it turned out, more than a few teams were interested in St. Ivani after scoring a career-best 24 points (four goals, 20 assists) in 31 NCAA games last season.

“I think just growth-wise, I think there’s another step I took last summer, just getting bigger and stronger,” St. Ivani said. “A year old made a big difference in being able to do different plays. And I feel like my skating has improved.

“I look forward to repeating it this summer.”

Seth Rorabaugh is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Seth by email at srorabaugh@triblive.com or via Twitter ,

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