Carter Rowney was one of the most-talked-about Penguins players during the offseason, but not because of anything he did.

Rowney had a parade thrown in his honor in his hometown of Sexsmith, Alberta. He played dad to his new son, Anders, who he proudly reports is already sleeping through the night like a champ. A nice summer, no doubt, but nothing particularly buzzworthy.

Rowney found his name on the lips of Penguins fans because of the moves the organization did not make. As centers left via free agency — first Nick Bonino to Nashville, then Matt Cullen to Minnesota — Rowney slowly climbed the depth chart.

General manager Jim Rutherford has said steadfastly all summer that he plans to acquire a third-line center at some point, but unless and until that happens, Rowney will be in a prominent spot for the two-time defending champs.

He kept his eye on the transaction wire all summer. He knows what he's walking into.

“You pay attention to your surroundings. It's your organization,” Rowney said. “But at the end of the day, you have to just come in and be confident in your own game and worry about yourself. Have a good summer no matter what and try to improve the things you know you have to improve on.”

In a 27-game NHL trial as a 27-year-old rookie last season, Rowney showed there are parts of his game that need improvement. At even strength, based on shot stats, his line was generally neither dominant nor dominated. On the penalty kill, he excelled.

It was a small sample size for sure, only 28 short-handed minutes, but when Rowney was on the ice on the penalty kill, the Penguins gave up only one goal. By way of comparison, Bryan Rust saw five goals scored in 43 short-handed minutes. Eric Fehr was on the ice for 13 goals allowed in 94 minutes on the penalty kill.