The Pens have officially whittled their roster down to 23 today. Jayson Megna, Beau Bennett, and Phillipe Dupuis (who I literally didn’t know was called up) have all returned to the Baby Pens. The Pens also tried to pass Brian Strait back down to the minors, but the Islanders decided they wanted him instead.
It’s a shame that he’s gone but this is his opportunity to stick at the NHL level and I’m happy that he’s got that opportunity. I’m not here to suggest that there is blood in the water between Bylsma and Shero, but I’m sure Shero would have preferred to send Simon Despres back to the AHL and keep Strait in Pittsburgh. I’m sure Bylsma feels like the Pens will be best served by playing the more talented but less polished Despres. During the Cup run years in 08 and 09 Kris Letang played smaller minutes, but when he did he was a huge X-factor: it seems obvious to me that Bylsma thinks that lightning can strike twice in that sense.
It’s no secret that if the Pens were forced to send Strait or Robert Bortuzzo back to the AHL there would likely be interested parties in taking them off of waivers. The only guaranteed solution to keeping him in the Penguins organization would have been to keep him in Pittsburgh. The Pens didn’t do that and there’s nothing we can do or complain about.
You may be bummed that Bennett got sent back down to the AHL, but you have to remember this, he’s never played PROFESSIONAL hockey before this season. There’s no doubt that he has talent, but as an American college player he needs time to develop in a way that CHL guys often times don’t. As we wrote about earlier this week, he’s well ahead in his development but he needs to get bigger and stronger, and until he does he probably won’t be an ideal fit with the big club.
According to Rob Rossi the Pens plan to use both Tanner Glass and Eric Tangradi on the left wing with Malkin and Neal. Big Dawg will play with them when the Pens are looking for goals and they’ll change to Glass when they’re guarding a lead late in a game. That sounds like a beautifully simple plan to deal with a frustrating problem. Game day is literally minutes away.
I don’t often care for Rossi but another interesting article here.
It’s finally here, we are actually previewing the actual guys who will be donning the Pittsburgh Penguins sweater this year. Back on Monday we previewed the goalies, on Tuesday we shifted our focus to defense, today we are talking wingers, and then the centers, before finally making our BOLD predictions for the year.
We’ve attempted to look at each player from a point/counterpoint perspective–that’s not to say that we are going to totally disagree on each player, far from it, we want to examine both the statistical expectations for each guy AND express our “feel” or read of the player.
We hope you enjoy and we would love for you to get back to us with your thoughts and feelings. If you haven’t read them yet, please check out our series on Advanced Hockey Statistics: Goals Versus Threshold, Points per 60 Minutes, and Player Usage Charts (including Corsi numbers). Get the business after the jump. Read the rest of this entry »