Arizona State hockey junior defenseman Josh Maniscalco has signed a three-year, entry-level deal with the Pittsburgh Penguins, the teams announced Friday.
“In just two short years, Josh had a major hand in bringing Sun Devil Hockey to national relevance,” ASU head coach Greg Powers in a statement. “He believed in our plan as a program and our plan for him as a player. We are forever in debt to him for that belief. Today is a great day for Josh and his family, as he gets one step closer to his dream of playing in the NHL.”
Maniscalco is from Perkiomenville, Penn., outside of Philadelphia, and was sixth in the nation among defensemen this year in points with 32. He led NCAA defensemen in game-winning goals with four and was tied for second in the country in goals total by a defenseman with 11. He was tied with Brinson Pasichnuk, his teammate, who signed with the San Jose Sharks this summer.
Pasichnuk, his brother Steenn (Sharks) and Tyler Busch (ECHL’s Cincinnati Cyclones) are the other Sun Devils who have signed professional deals since the end of the season.
Maniscalco lands with the Penguins, whose co-owner and chairman is Hockey Hall of Famer Mario Lemieux. Lemieux’s son, Austin, plays at Arizona State and has been Maniscalco’s teammate the last two seasons. TSN’s Frank Saravalli said Mario personally made a pitch to Maniscalco to join the Penguins.
“Josh is a solid puck-moving, offensive defenseman,” Penguins GM Jim Rutherford said in a statement. “He jumps into the rush and plays a style that is complementary to our group. We think highly of his character and are happy to add Josh to the organization.”
Maniscalco played high school hockey at Shattuck St. Mary’s in Minnesota, a renowned preps hockey program that has produced a bevy of NHL players, including current Penguins captain Sidney Crosby and Coyotes forward Derek Stepan.
In two seasons at ASU, Maniscalco had 52 points (15 goals, 37 assists) in 71 games.