Sudbury’s Moskal invited to Pittsburgh Penguins’ rookie camp

London Knight Billy Moskal sprays Windsor Spitfire goalie Colton Incze during the second period of their game at Budweiser Gardens in London, Ont. on Sunday March 24, 2019. Derek Ruttan/The London Free Press/Postmedia Network

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Billy Moskal keeps on creating chances for himself.

Moskal, a Sudbury native and a centre for the Ontario Hockey League’s London Knights, has been invited back to the National Hockey League’s Pittsburgh Penguins to participate in the team’s rookie camp in mid-September.

“It’s a big opportunity for me, obviously, so I’ve been working hard, training for it, getting ready and preparing myself because I want to be ready to play,” Moskal said. “Anyone who gets invited to that has to take it seriously because there’s lots of eyes watching you.”

After playing a limited role in 2017-18, the 6-foot, 190-pounder Moskal, known for his solid two-way game, returned to the Knights and put together a career year offensively, with 14 goals and 22 assists in 68 games, while adding seven points in 11 playoff games, during the 2018-19 season.

And his faceoff percentage of 59.7, adds even more value to what Moskal can offer.

But he was passed over in his second year of eligibility for the NHL draft.

“I personally feel that I could have been drafted and should have been drafted,” Moskal said. “I’m trying to show that I can play at this level. And I believe I can.”

Moskal embraces his two-way game, acknowledges that his strength on faceoffs is one of his biggest assets, but he believes there’s more to his offensive game, too.

“I want to show them that I have that overall well-rounded game that you need to have at the next level,” Moskal said. “I’m not a small kid, either. I can throw my weight around. I’m very versatile, I believe.”

Moskal said he was pleased with his 2018-19 season with the Knights, but upset with how the season ended for his team, as the Knights were eliminated by the Guelph Storm in seven games after holding a 3-0 series lead.

“Not happy with how we went out of the playoffs. I don’t think anyone is, but personally, I look upon it as a learning experience. For all the boys on the team, we took it as a learning experience. You have to finish the job.”

“Personally, I took it as what it is. I had a good year, a solid year. I got better, I learned a lot. Keep moving forward. It’s a process. Keep working hard.”

After the Knights’ playoff run ended, Moskal returned to Sudbury and has been working on his skating and skills with Laurentian University Voyageurs men’s hockey coach Craig Duncanson. And most recently he participated in a pro skate run by Nick and Marcus Foligno.

“I’ve been skating with all those guys, learning from them and getting better, as well,” Moskal said.

This increases his certainty that his overall game will be at another level as he heads into another season with the Knights.

“I am very confident,” the 19-year-old Moskal said. “With London, the way it works, you pay your dues when you’re younger, then you get more ice time, more opportunities, more power-play opportunities (as you get older).

“I’ve had two full seasons to learn about the league, figuring it out. So, for me, going into this season I’m feeling very confident to take over games. I’ve paid my dues. Now it’s my time to dominate.”