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Ty Smith clears waivers, Guentzel returns to practice

Friday afternoon news and notes

Pittsburgh Penguins v Columbus Blue Jackets Photo by Jason Mowry/Getty Images

Ty Smith has made it through waivers, as have the other four players waived yesterday by the Penguins.

Pittsburgh has the option to re-assign all five to Wilkes-Barre of the AHL. They currently have 37 healthy players in training camp, doing so would bring them to 32 and closer to the final form of their 2023-24 regular season roster (maximum of 23 players).

In other news, the rehab of Jake Guentzel from ankle surgery took a tangible positive step today.

By all accounts, Guentzel has looked sharp skating with the injured players to this point of camp. Now he takes another stride towards returning by also joining the NHL players for drills in his first day back (albeit in the designated no-contract jersey).

It has seemingly been a swift recovery for Guentzel, who had surgery just over eight weeks ago now and at the time was to be re-evaluated in 12 weeks, which would have been in late-October.

The initial timeline could have been very conservative, Kyle Dubas noted fairly early on that Guentzel would be out for “the first couple games of the year” and unlikely to be placed on the long-term injured reserve that would require him to miss at least 10 games.

The Pens season starts on October 10th and they play nine games in the month of October.

There has been no public announcement of a different or refined timeline, but all signs have been encouraging to see that Guentzel may not be out of action for very long once the regular season begins based on the steps he’s taken to this point. In another good sign, Sullivan said that Guentzel will travel with the team to Canada — which injured players don’t often make the trips on the road.

The Pens practiced one more time in PA today before taking that trip up to Nova Scotia for the next pre-season game. The lines used by the top players were fairly similar to the ones in place for last night’s pre-season game.

Could it be time to buy stock in Austin Wagner? The tryout has been around the fourth line for a while now and other candidates like Colin White have dropped off.