The Pittsburgh Penguins training camp is scheduled to open on January 3rd. That may sound like a long time away, but it’s less than a week (next Sunday). Here are the players that will be involved:
Of note, signed prospects and 2019 draftees Sam Poulin and Nathan Legare will be in Pittsburgh for the training camp. We’ll see what, if anything, comes out of it — both play in the QMJHL, which postponed their season re-start again back to January 22nd, so might as well bring them in for a look.
The only other somewhat unique training camp invitee is Jordan Nolan. Nolan is currently on an AHL contract, but GM Jim Rutherford has already gone out of his way to float the possibility that Nolan could be promoted to an NHL contract and possibly play some sort of role on the “big” Pens team this season.
This year’s training camp will be much different from the slow pace that a normal three or four week long camp has. There are no preseason games. The regular season starts on January 13th, and the Pens will be in Philadelphia that day, so really camp is even shorter than it appears.
This year NHL team will have a four-six player taxi squad. If the Pens follow a similar strategy from their summer bubble roster, this taxi squad will have NHL veterans like Nolan, Frederick Gaudreau, Josh Currie, Zach Trotman and Kevin Czuczman on it, and not youngsters like Poulin, Legare, Cam Lee and Drew O’Connor.
One of many interesting aspects will be to see just how much of a look and how integrated the youngsters will be. In a normal year, a player like Radim Zohorna (who had 22 points in 21 games in the Czech league he was on loan too) might get a chance to at least get some practices with NHL regulars. Due to the limited scope and very precious time, that might not be in the cards this time around. But it will be interesting to see how the Pens’ coaching staff is thinking and what they will reveal to be in their plans as they prepare to gear up for the 56 game regular season sprint that starts just over two weeks from today.