Nailers sign four defensemen

WHEELING, W.Va. - The Wheeling Nailers, ECHL affiliate of the Pittsburgh Penguins, announced the signings of defensemen Matt Abt, Josh Couturier, Brien Diffley, and Ayrton Valente for the 2018-19 season

Abt, 25, made his professional debut at the end of last season, when he appeared in 12 games with the Nailers, amassing six points (1g-5a). The Leduc, Alberta native netted his first professional goal in his debut, a 4-3 overtime win against the Reading Royals. Prior to turning pro, Abt attended the Rochester Institute of Technology where he tallied 54 points (14g-40a) in 139 games.

Couturier, 23, is ready to begin his journey into the professional game, after completing his collegiate career in the spring. The Byfield, Massachusetts native spent one season at Boston College, before transferring to UMass-Amherst. Couturier appeared in 72 career NCAA games, notching 21 points (4g-17a).

Diffley, 23, is also a rookie, who will take the ice as a pro for the first time in October. The Burlington, Massachusetts native attended Boston University, where he reached the NCAA National Tournament in all four years, while also captured two Hockey East championships. Diffley recorded 22 points (3g-19a) in 97 career games.

Valente, 25, donned a Wheeling uniform to begin his professional career in the spring, as he posted four points (1g-3a) in 11 contests. The Woodbridge, Ontario native also went the college route, attending SUNY-Plattsburgh for four years. While with the Cardinals, Valente accumulated 63 points (15g-48a) in 101 games.