Conventional wisdom stated that one of the three final candidates at forward would make Pittsburgh's roster out of training camp. It also said that the Penguins would pick between three candidates on the defense.
Ray Shero is calling the shots and he took all of our conventional wisdom, scoffed and threw out the window.
The Pittsburgh Penguins cut their active roster to 21 players, it was announced today by Executive Vice President and General Manager Ray Shero.
The Penguins placed five players on waivers with the intention of assigning them to the club’s top minor-league affiliate in Wilkes-Barre/Scranton of the American Hockey League (AHL). They are forwards Ryan Bayda, Paul Bissonnette and Chris Conner and defensemen Deryk Engelland and Nate Guenin.
The Pens signed veteran Martin Skoula (see post below) to be the depth defenseman, but now this move leaves them with only 12 healthy forwards. One of those forwards is enforcer Eric Godard who doesn't figure to be an "every night" player, nor does he seem likely to even play more than 5-6 minutes a night.
While the Penguins hinted they may get a roster of 20 or 21 players, they may not want to rely on 12 forwards. This is the time of year that a lot of forwards are on the waiver wire, could Shero have his eye on one of the following guys currently on waivers?
- Chris Bourque (WASH) --Ray's son is small but a fierce player. He skates hard, finishes checks and at 23 years old still has some potential and upside. He'll never be an NHL all-star, but he could carve out a decent career.
- Christop Schubert (OTT) -- Can play forward or defense and could excel with a change of scenery from Ottawa...But his salary is relatively high at $900,000 and is no guarantee to be anything better than what Pittsburgh already has.
- Ryan Hollweg (PHO) -- Runs around like a crazyman. But he's nothing the Pens don't have in Godard or Mike Rupp, could be overload of tough guys that can't play.
This could all be for nothing: perhaps Ray Shero likes having only 12 forwards on the roster and likes the cap savings of not carrying extra bodies. If/When injuries happen he can dip into Wilkes-Barre and bring up a scorer, a grinder, a checker or a mix of the above at any time.
Then again, by cutting absolutely everyone on the bubble and looking outside to bring in Skoula, Ray Shero is keeping all the options on the table and is going to make the moves he can to keep improving and adding to the team.