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Pens Announce 55 Man Roster to open Training Camp

The Pittsburgh Penguins open on-ice training camp on the ice Saturday, with players reporting on Friday.

The team announced this morning that they sent five players (all rookie free agents) back to their respective junior teams.  The first cuts were Jessey Astles, Stefan Fournier, Daniil Tarasov, Ian Watters and Maxime Lagace.  This could be the end of the road for some, but they could still be in the mix in the future depending on how their seasons and development go.

Players that will be around are as follows:

Forwards (32)

1 Sidney Crosby: Sidney Crosby

11 NHL locks: Evgeni Malkin, Chris Kunitz, James Neal, Jordan Staal, Tyler Kennedy, Matt Cooke, Craig Adams, Arron Asham, Mark Letestu, Pascal Dupuis, Steve Sullivan

1 enforcer: Steve MacIntyre

7 NHL/AHL bubble players: Eric Tangradi, Dustin Jeffrey, Nick Johnson, Joe Vitale, Richard Park, Jason Williams, Ryan Craig

10 Likely minor league players: Keven Veilleux, Paul Thompson, Brian Gibbons, Brian Lerg, Ben Street, NIck Petersen, Colin MacDonald, Brandon DeFazio, Zach Sill, Geoff Walker

2 non-professional prospects happy to be there: Tom Kuhnhackl, Dominik Uher

Defensemen (18)

4 NHL locks: Kris Letang, Brooks Orpik, Zbynek Michalek, Paul Martin

3 likely NHL'ers: Matt Niskanen, Ben Lovejoy, Deryk Engelland

4 vets knocking on the door: Boris Valbik, Alex Picard, Brian Strait, Robert Bortuzzo

5 likely minor league starters: Simon Despres, Alex Grant, Philip Samuelsson, Joey Mormina, Carl Sneep

2 prospects happy to be there: Joe Morrow, Scott Harrington

Goalies (5):

2 NHL locks: Marc-Andre Fleury, Brent Johnson

3 minor leaguers: Brad Thiessen, Patrick Killeen, Scott Munroe

Soon, the puck drops and the battles to win those precious few spots will be won.  There's many great storylines, namely:

  • What, if anything, will be Crosby's participation level
  • How can Malkin come back from a major injury and potentially have to shoulder a lot of the burden
  • There will likely be 3 new top-six wingers (Neal, Sullivan, Kennedy). How will they do playing with the top two centers
  • The roster battle for the last two forward slots, will wily vets carry the day (Park, Craig, Williams) or will any youngsters stick (Tangradi, Johnson, Vitale, Jeffrey)
  • The defensive depth- a bunch of players won't make the team out of camp, but likely will wear an NHL jersey at some point this season
  • Continued development and early looks at prospects like Despres, Thompson and Morrow

And that's just the headlines. All 55 players have a story, even if it's Carl Sneep, Dom Uher or Matt Cooke. It's sure to be a busy and entertaining camp before the Pens travel to Vancouver to riot  break in a brand new NHL season on October 6th.