The Pens sent down Philip Samuelsson today. We'll find out if he clears waivers tomorrow, but of more importance is that leaves just 11 defensemen left on the team. One of them, Robert Bortuzzo, the presumed #6 is now out 4-5 weeks from an injury last week. One more of them, Derrick Pouliot has already gone off to Wilkes-Barre, where he's three weeks away from contact on his surgically repaired shoulder. Another, Olli Maatta, hasn't been cleared for games yet, but is practicing "full out" and seems close. Finally, presumed AHL veteran depth guy Taylor Chorney remains in camp. So do youngsters Brian Dumoulin and Scott Harrington.
Of the last three, one certainly will stick on the NHL roster out of training camp. Possibly two even, depending on the status of Maatta.
Here's what one look of the roster on opening night could be shaping up to be:
CAPGEEK.COM ARMCHAIR GM ROSTER
CapGeek Armchair GM Roster
Chris Kunitz ($3.850m) / Sidney Crosby ($8.700m) / Pascal Dupuis ($3.750m)
Nick Spaling ($2.200m) / Evgeni Malkin ($9.500m) / Patric Hornqvist ($4.250m)
Blake Comeau ($0.700m) / Brandon Sutter ($3.300m) / Steve Downie ($1.000m)
???????????????????????? /Marcel Goc ($1.200m) / Craig Adams ($0.700m)
Kris Letang ($7.250m) / Paul Martin ($5.000m)
Christian Ehrhoff ($4.000m) / Rob Scuderi ($3.375m)
Simon Despres ($0.900m) / Olli Maatta ($0.894m)
Brian Dumoulin ($0.832m) /
Marc-Andre Fleury ($5.000m)
Thomas Greiss ($1.000m)
Robert Bortuzzo ($0.600m)
Beau Bennett ($0.900m)
CAPGEEK.COM TOTALS (follow @capgeek on Twitter)
(estimations for 2014-15)
SALARY CAP: $69,000,000; CAP PAYROLL: $67,400,833; BONUSES: $68,333
CAP SPACE (20-man roster): $1,599,167
With the above, we went ahead and put Bortuzzo/Bennett on LTIR- since both will be missing at least 24 days and the first 10 days. Figured we might as well leave Maatta on the payroll, since his return to NHL gameplay might be imminent.
The Pens would still need one more forward, and they still have quite a few choices with Zach Sill, Kasperi Kapanen, Oskar Sundqvist, Daniel Carcillo and Andrew Ebbett all still in camp and competing to varying degrees for a spot. Based on the above space, they could take any of the above, possibly two if they decided to keep Harrington instead of Dumoulin.
Them, of course, once Bortuzzo and Bennett were ready to return, roster decisions would have to be made on whomever is kept. Assuming there aren't any more injuries by that point in 4-6 weeks. (That's worth a laugh, right?)
Either way the roster is starting to come into shape with each passing day. The big question mark that could come into picture soon is the status of Malkin- who coach Mike Johnston said today still hasn't skated yet. The Penguins haven't hinted that Malkin might miss time in the season, but they also have said that Malkin's ailment was very minor. It's been minor enough to keep him off ice for this long, so maybe soon the panic flags about his availability will be raised. For now, let's hope he'll be 100% on October 9th.