Following last night’s 4-1 loss to the Detroit Red Wings in preseason game No. 2, the Penguins this morning made 11 cuts, sending goaltenders Matt Murray and Tristan Jarry and forwards Jean-Sebastien Dea, Matia Marcantuoni back to their respective junior teams.
Forwards Tom Kostopoulos, Brian Gibbons, Paul Thompson, and Dominik Uher, and defensemen Nick D’Agostino, Clark Seymour, and Reid McNeill were sent to Wilkes-Barre/Scranton.
The moves put the camp roster at 44 with 21 to 23 more cuts to come before October 3rd.
Of the group, these were the type of cuts to expect and among the junior eligible players, Matia Marcantuoni’s play in camp was promising.
The Penguins have 25 forwards left in camp and are likely to start the year with 13 forwards, 7 defensemen, 2 goaltenders due to cap reasons, though, the team hasn’t ruled out starting the year with 14 forwards.
Here’s my first Stock Watch of camp for the primary players in the mix for the final one or two roster spots at forward.
Forwards 12 (Locks): Chris Kunitz, Sidney Crosby, Pascal Dupuis, Beau Bennett, Evgeni Malkin, James Neal, Jussi Jokinen, Brandon Sutter, Matt D’Agostini, Tanner Glass, Joe Vitale, Craig Adams
Dustin Jeffrey | Stock Up |
Buzz: The Penguins have 12 locks at the forward position with Jeffrey having a good hold on the 13th forward spot. During the summer the Penguins had contemplated moving on from Jeffrey and opening a spot for someone else, but the belief is he starts the season with the team as a swing player at center and wing were injuries to pop up or Matt D’Agostini struggling in a third line role. Jeffrey is having a solid camp and garnered praise from Bylsma for his play against the Blue Jackets on Sunday. “Dustin Jeffrey had a really good game,” Bylsma said.
Harry Zolnierczyk | Stock Down |
Buzz: If the Penguins were to carry 14 forwards to start the season, the buzz coming into camp is that some members of the organization viewed Harry Zolnierczyk as a front runner for that one spot. So far through camp and one preseason game, I’m hearing Zolnierczyk is not making the type of impression he needs to be, with one team source telling me Zolnierczyk is playing “small”.
Chris Conner | Stock Up |
Buzz: Bylsma has always been a fan of Conner’s play and Conner is making a good second impression as he’s very much in the mix for a final roster spot but is he really worth a roster spot when he’s going to clear waivers and could be called up when needed? The coaching staff I’m told see Conner as a fit on the third line for “spot duty” ( a few games here and there). Bylsma had positive things to say about Conner Monday night. “For his size and stature, he might be the biggest hitter in the league at that size,” Bylsma said. “With that speed, he is tenacious on pucks and he was one of our better forwards tonight with the way he played”
Chuck Kobasew | Stock Up |
Buzz: Kobasew netted two goals in the Penguins preseason opener Sunday night and it’s kept him on the radar for a spot. “Chuck Kobasew was a guy who really stepped forward with his opportunity,” Bylsma said of Kobasew’s performance. Because of the cap situation, he’s still regarded as a longshot but look for the Penguins to at least approach Kobasew about a two-way deal.
Others: I’m getting positive vibes about Andrew Ebbett but he’s not making the squad. The team also doesn’t appear ready to give much of a shot to Zach Sill yet.