Condors

Thursday, Sep 29 2011 10:10 PM

Condors acquire scoring threat from Penguins organization

BY MIKE GRIFFITH Californian staff writer mgriffith@bakersfield.com

The Condors added a lot more scoring punch on the eve of training camp with the acquisition of Casey Pierro-Zabotel.

Pierro-Zabotel, was a third-round draft choice of Pittsburgh in 2007 and is in the final season of his three-year NHL entry-level contract.

The Condors owe the Wheeling (W. Virg.) Nailers future considerations as a part of the deal. Wheeling is Pittsburgh's ECHL affiliate.

A prolific scorer in juniors, Pierro-Zabotel, 22, apparently fell out of favor with the Pittsburgh organization last season when he was moved from Wheeling and loaned to Cincinnati in February.

"It's a fresh start for him and he's excited," Condors head coach Matt O'Dette said. "His talents and resume speaks for him as far as what he's done on the ice."

In two seasons of ECHL play, Pierro-Zabotel -- 6-foot-2, 202 pounds -- produced 95 points (30 goals, 65 assists) in 116 games.

He finished his junior career as the leading scorer in the Western Hockey League in 2008-09, registering 115 points (36 goals, 79 assists) in 72 games for the Vancouver, B.C. Giants. Two seasons earlier he scored 116 points in the lower-level British Columbia Hockey League, which prompted Pittsburgh to make him the 80th overall pick in 2007.

"He's exactly what we're looking for -- a top six guy, a centerman with skills who can put the puck in the net and dish the puck so other guys can score," O'Dette said. "He has the potential to light the league up. He's playing for a contract next year."

The Condors also announced the signing of second-year forward Jesse Gimblett, who played in Stockton last season, rookie forward Thomas Frazee and fifth-year pro goaltender Matt Keetley.

Three Condors are currently in American Hockey League camps -- forward Hans Benson with the Portland Pirates, defenseman Dan Lawson with the Connecticut Whale and defenseman Joe Loprieno with the Chicago Wolves.

The Condors open training camp at 10 a.m. today at the Bakersfield Ice Sports Center.

"It's going to be really intense," O'Dette said of training camp. "We're going to run our program like an American Hockey League program where development and conditioning are held at a high standard.

"You have camp for two reasons -- to see who the best guys are to stick around and to get ready for opening night. The bar is going to be really high for these guys as to the level of difficulty. It's going to be demanding."

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