It was the strangest of deals.
Harry Zolnierczyk to Anaheim for enforcer Jay Rosehill. But the former Flyer never reported to the Ducks.
He was sent directly to the Ducks’ AHL affiliate in Norfolk. And then sent somewhere else.
"Yeah, it’s been interesting,” Zolnierczyk said. “After that trade to Anaheim I was training that summer and prior to heading there, I got a call saying I was traded to Pittsburgh.
“It was a good call. I was excited to be in the Pittsburgh organization.”
The 26-year-old left wing played his second game as a Penguin on Thursday night and first against the Flyers after being called up from Wilkes-Barre/Scranton as an injury replacement for Beau Bennett.
“It’s only my third year in the league,” he said. “Any opportunity you get to play against a team that got rid of you, you want to go out and [make] a good impression and win the game.”
Harry Z played 10:04 during the Pens’ 4-1 win.
He was a checker and a bit of an agitator as a Flyer, and that hasn’t changed in Pittsburgh.
“I’m not changing anything in my game,” Zolnierczyk said. “It’s the same style of my game, same way, kinda like I was in Philly. Our objective is to go and win the game. I’m going to do whatever I have to do to help contribute.
“I’m trying to break my way into the league as a regular and find my way on the bottom six somewhere. Right now, I’m getting the opportunity to do that. I have to make the most of it.”
Zolniercyk still talks to Zac Rinaldo and some of his other buddies on the Flyers and admitted the Peter Laviolette firing stunned him.
“Yeah that was a shock throughout the league,” he said. “I don’t think anyone outside of the organization would have thought that was coming after three games.
“And you don’t expect the Flyers to be at the bottom of the division. There are a lot of good teams right now. If you are not sharp, you can easily fall to the bottom pretty quick.”
The Penguins are atop the Metropolitan Division. Instead of playing with a franchise player like Claude Giroux, Zolnierczyk now plays on a club that has two – Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin.
“Two exceptional hockey players,” he said. “Couple of the best in the world. It’s an experience to be on the ice with those guys and watch them, learn from them. Just the little things they can do. You’re able to learn just by watching them in practice.”