With only a few more preseason games to go, and now under two weeks until the start of the NHL regular season, the Pittsburgh Penguins announced some serious roster cuts today. They are down to just 28 players now.
From the team:
Forwards Alex Nylander, Valtteri Puustinen, Drake Caggiula, Filip Hallander, Jamie Devane, Kyle Olson, Nathan Legare, Raivis Ansons, Corey Andonovski and Drew O’Connor, along with defensemen Xavier Ouellet, Colin Swoyer and Jack St. Ivany have all been assigned to Wilkes-Barre/Scranton’s training camp in the American Hockey League.
Additionally, goaltenders Filip Lindberg and Dustin Tokarski will also report to training camp in WBS.
Owen Pickering and Nolan Collins have both been sent back to their respective junior teams.
The inclusion of O’Connor and Caggiula among this batch of cuts are the two most surprising names. O’Connor was expected to make a serious run at an NHL job, but as mentioned in yesterday’s game recap has not really stood out too often in a positive way during training camp.
The same can’t be said for Caggiula, who has drawn praise from the coaching staff and been good in the exhibition games. Despite the impressive performance, the numbers game in front of him proved to be too much, though Caggiula has undoubtedly opened the eyes for decision makers to put his name in the running for candidates when it comes to needing mid-season call-ups from the minors.
The current roster is as follows, with loose projections on how the lines have been stacking up so far. The NHL maximum to the start of the season is 23 healthy players.
Jake Guentzel - Sidney Crosby - Rickard Rakell
Jason Zucker - Evgeni Malkin - Bryan Rust
Danton Heinen - Jeff Carter* - Kasperi Kapanen
Brock McGinn - Teddy Blueger* - Josh Archibald
Also: Radim Zohorna, Sam Poulin**, Ryan Poehling and Jonathan Gruden
Brian Dumoulin / Kris Letang
Marcus Pettersson / Jeff Petry
Ty Smith / Jan Rutta
Also: Chad Ruhwedel, Pierre-Olivier Joseph, Mark Friedman, Taylor Fedun
Goalies (2): Tristan Jarry and Casey DeSmith
* denotes day-to-day injury
** Away from team currently for personal family-related reasons
Perhaps the most surprising name still around in the NHL camp is Jonathan Gruden. That may be simply a function of the center depth chart right now. Carter and Blueger are currently injured and Poulin not with the team at the moment, the Pens might need Gruden just for numbers at this point to get through the game tomorrow night.
Update: Seeing that Gruden and Taylor Fedun are injured and can’t be officially taken off the NHL roster at this time. It is expected both will be moved off for IR or the AHL roster eventually.
Pittsburgh has two more exhibition games, tomorrow in Detroit and then the Pens will wrap up their preseason schedule on Friday when they host the Sabres. Pittsburgh’s regular season begins the following week, on Thursday October 13th when they will start the regular season at PPG Paints Arena against Arizona.