The Pittsburgh Penguins days of carrying 50+ players in their NHL camp is over. From the Penguins website
The Pittsburgh Penguins reduced their training camp roster to 35 players, it was announced today by executive vice president and general manager Jim Rutherford.
Eight players have been assigned to Wilkes-Barre/Scranton of the American Hockey League (AHL): goaltender Tristan Jarry; defensemen Barry Goers and Niclas Andersen; and forwards Tyler Biggs, Anton Zlobin, Josh Archibald, Dominik Simon and Matia Marcantuoni .
Forwards Dominik Uher and Kael Mouillierat and defensemen Will O’Neill, Reid McNeill and Steve Oleksy have been placed on waivers. All five will also be assigned to WBS if they clear waivers on Thursday afternoon at 12 p.m.
Forward Tom Sestito has been released from his professional tryout contract.
No real surprises among the list, Pittsburgh is in the midst of playing three games in three days and needed to keep a bunch of those guys, most of whom played one of the last two nights.
Cutting Sestito from his PTO was a tad interesting, he didn't fit the mold of the "four scoring lines" the Pens wanted, but he was seemingly doing what big, goonish players do.
The Pens currently have 35 players left, so there's at least 12 (even possibly 13) cuts to go. The players remaining in camp are:
Goalies (3): Marc-Andre Fleury, Jeff Zatkoff, Matt Murray
``Expect Murray to be shipped to WB/S soon, but the team really does like him. Hopefully he gets a chance to make a non-injury related NHL regular season debut this year.
Defensemen (11): Kris Letang, Olli Maatta, Ian Cole, Ben Lovejoy, Brian Dumoulin, Rob Scuderi, Derrick Pouliot, Adam Clendening, Sergei Gonchar, David Warofsky, Tim Erixon
``The team has said they wanted to keep 8, so if they stick with that thought we're looking at 3 cuts. Warofsky and Erixon seem like almost sure bets to be cut, which might mean the decision comes down to Gonchar. Do the Pens keep him and send Pouliot to the minors? Or do they keep Pouliot in the NHL and jettison Gonchar from his PTO? This is the hottest storyline of camp right now.
Forwards (20):Sidney Crosby, Phil Kessel, Chris Kunitz, Evgeni Malkin, Patric Hornqvist, Sergei Plotnikov, David Perron, Nick Bonino, Pascal Dupuis, Beau Bennett, Matt Cullen
Conor Sheary, Daniel Sprong, Bobby Farnham, Scott Wilson, Bryan Rust, Tom Kuhnhackl, Jean-Sebastien Dea, Kevin Porter, Oskar Sundqvist
Injured forward (1): Eric Fehr
``I put the bubble to denote the breakout. The first 11 are all safe bets for the opening night lineup so long as they stay healthy. Fehr is bound for the injured reserve. That leaves the other 9 forwards going for 1 lineup spot, and maybe 1 "extra" forward job. The most intriguing options are 18-year old 2015 second round pick Sprong (who the team loves) to go along with a host of young forwards who have some NHL experience (Wilson, Rust, Farnham, Porter) and a couple more with aspirations (Sheary, Sundqvist) and a couple longshots (Dea, Kuhnhackl).
The Penguins preseason concludes with a home-game tonight, followed by their preseason finale Friday night in Carolina. By next week the roster will be cut down to the final version, but the decisions made to get there will pan out over the next few days.