Taylor Fedun’s most recent recall to the Pittsburgh Penguins roster went exactly like his first two.
In other words, the right-sided defender did not play and, most likely, will not play if something unforeseen happens.
And he’s perfectly fine with it.
Just being in the NHL, even as a healthy scratch, is a gift in Fedun’s view.
“This is the best league in the world and any chance you get to be a part of things here is really special,” Fedun, 34, said. “Especially at my stage in my career, these are pretty special moments. You don’t get a ton of them. So I’m always ready to make the most of it when it comes.”
Fedun’s most recent NHL games came under unique circumstances. As a member of the Dallas Stars, he participated in that team’s 2020 Stanley Cup Finals, which was staged in the so-called “bubble,” a quarantine zone that included Rogers Place in Edmonton, Alberta, for some games. the darkest days of the epidemic.
Since then, his professional experience has been limited to the American Hockey League.
“The bubble playoffs was the last time I played (in the NHL),” Fedun said. “I still love the game. I love the atmosphere, the battle, the feeling you get when you put on a good performance or when you win a battle. It makes me feel young.”
When Fedun was younger, his career was almost over before it started.
Undrafted out of Princeton, Fedun, then 22, signed an entry-level contract with the Edmonton Oilers on March 8, 2011. in boards.
As a result of the collision, there was a fracture of the right thigh.
Fedun missed the entire 2011-12 season when a stick inserted into his leg and rehabbed the injury, returning to the Oklahoma City Barons, the Oilers’ former AHL affiliate, in 2012-13.
Another 11 years after that brutal injury, Fedun doesn’t talk about what happened. At the same time, it provides a foundation for his appreciation of being a professional hockey player for more than a decade.
“Even if I didn’t have that rough start, I still should have done it … I don’t think I (the 22-year-old) would believe I’d still be doing it at 34,” Fedun said. “I don’t think about that hip injury very often. I’m still just enjoying the moments and enjoying the journey.”
That trip includes stops with the Oilers, San Jose Sharks, Vancouver Canucks, Buffalo Sabers and Stars. In all, he has 127 games of experience over seven NHL seasons.
He signed a one-year, two-way contract with the Penguins in July 2021 and was named captain of the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins last season, scoring 16 points (five goals, 11 assists) in 44 games. . He was recalled twice to the NHL roster in 2021-2222, but did not appear in any games.
Although Fedun’s production was limited and the likelihood that he would be a threat for an NHL roster spot was also limited, Penguins management thought enough of his presence in Wilkes-Barre/Scranton to re-sign him in May 2022. this time: sign a two-year, bilateral contract.
With so many quarterbacks on the organizational depth chart, why would Fedun want to return?
“Pittsburgh is one of the gold standards for longevity to just be a contender every year,” Fedun said. “And always in the playoff picture. I’ve played on some teams where that hasn’t necessarily been the case. So it was great to be a part of this. (With Wilkes-Barre/Scranton) we’re treated very well, but there’s an expectation that we’re going to be professional and earn the right to be treated that way. It’s been a year and a half in this organization and it’s been a great experience.”
Fedun’s extensive professional experience in management allows him to serve as a coach to the organization’s legitimate prospects.
“We think it’s important for us to surround our young players with those types of people,” Penguins coach Mike Sullivan said. “It’s an important aspect of the development process for a lot of our young guys. … He works hard at his job, he takes care of himself, he controls it all within his power to set himself up for success. That’s an important message for all our young players. Watching a guy walk the walk every day instead of just talking the talk is really important.”
It also extends from the ice. Fedun can give advice on how to deal with the media, finances, getting enough sleep, eating right, or general fitness.
“He does a really good job of taking care of his body,” said Penguins forward Drew O’Connor, who spent most of the season with Wilkes-Barre/Scranton. “You don’t play that long without taking good care of yourself and being a good professional. He’s just a really good role model to follow.”
Fedun knows he probably won’t be playing in the NHL anytime soon. At the same time, he knows he has a responsibility to the Penguins that goes beyond being in the lineup.
“It’s certainly something I’ve tried to bring to the table,” Fedun said. “It was part of my (mode of operation) for a few years. I refer to a lot of the older guys I played with (as a younger player). Even as I grew up, some of the leaders that I was lucky enough to play with, they had a huge impact on my life, not just on the rink, but in my life in general.
“I’d like to think I can pass those things on to the younger staff on our team.”
Note: The Penguins recalled forward Jonathan Gruden from Wilkes-Barre/Scranton on Sunday. … The Penguins had a scheduled day off Sunday.
Seth Rorabaugh is a staff writer for the Tribune-Review. You can reach Seth via email at [email protected] or via Twitter .