The Pittsburgh Penguins have re-assigned four players to their junior teams, it was announced today by executive vice president and general manager Jim Rutherford.
Three players returned to teams in the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League - forward Jan Drozg (Shawinigan Cataractes), defenseman Zachary Lauzon (Rouyn-Noranda Huskies) and goaltender Alex D'Orio (Saint John Sea Dogs). Defenseman Connor Hall has been returned to the Kitchener Rangers of the Ontario Hockey League.
Only 2 junior aged players remain in forwards Jordy Bellerive and amateur tryout Sam Miletic. And, whaddya know, both those young players get a chance to play in an NHL game tomorrow when Pittsburgh heads to Penn State to take on the Buffalo Sabres in their preseason home opener. Here’s the announced squad:
11 Jay McClement
17 Bryan Rust
33 Greg McKegg
46 Zach Aston-Reese
53 Teddy Blueger
54 Thomas Di Pauli
62 Carl Hagelin
64 Jordy Bellerive
79 Freddie Tiffels
80 Sam Miletic
22 Matt Hunwick
1 Casey DeSmith
31 Antti Niemi
Gotta like this team because for differing reasons each player getting a chance tomorrow has something to prove. Whether it’s a veteran like Hunwick or Niemi, looking to impress their new team, Pouliot and Ruhwedel trying to stick in the NHL for a full season for the first time. Bryan Rust is looking to start his contract year out on the right foot. Carl Hagelin’s probably just happy that his foot broken towards the end of last season is finally healthy.
Youngsters like Aston-Reese, Sprong, DiPauli, Archibald are trying to turn heads. You’ve got an old vet in McClement trying to make another team and extend his NHL career and youngsters like Blueger and Dea trying to show they should be the ones to get a chance at an NHL opportunity.
The list keeps going, every player has a story-line but this list is pretty much the best of all those really trying to stand-out and improve their stocks among management and the coaching staff.
Coach Sullivan says players will compete for spots primarily in preseason games, rather than during training camp practices.— Pittsburgh Penguins (@penguins) September 18, 2017
Let the games begin.