Minnesota Wild claim Pens forward Nick Johnson

 

The Pittsburgh Penguins have lost forward Nick Johnson to waivers. To no surprise, it was Chuck Fletcher and Mike Yeo of the Minnesota Wild who claimed Johnson. The 26-year old resigned with the Penguins last June, despite having the opportunity to being an unrestricted free agent on July 1. Johnson had a strong camp in 2011 with Pittsburgh but there was never any feeling that the former 3rd round pick was going to be given an opportunity to win one of the final forward spots. He was among seven players the Penguins demoted on Wednesday. Johnson scored a career-high 20 goals in 2010-2011 with the Wilkes Barre/Scranton Penguins, despite playing in just 48 games.

Penguins recall Nick Johnson and Mark Letestu

 

The Pittsburgh Penguins announced today just after 5:30 p.m., that the team has recalled forwards Nick Johnson and Mark Letestu for tomorrow’s game against the Detroit Red Wings. Letestu will replace Max Talbot in the lineup as Talbot will miss tomorrow’s game with a groin injury. Johnson, 24, has played four games for Pittsburgh this season, posting two points (1G-1A). He made his NHL debut and scored his first career goal against the Washington Capitals Jan. 21. Johnson (6-foot-2, 202 pounds) is in his second full season with Wilkes-Barre/Scranton and ranks sixth on the club with 23 points (7G-16A) in 28 contests. Letestu, 24, has made three appearances for Pittsburgh this year. He made his NHL debut in the Penguins’ 6-5 overtime victory against the Boston Bruins. Letestu (5-foot-11, 190 pounds) is Wilkes-Barre/Scranton’s leading goal scorer with 16 tallies in 36 games on the season, and ranks second on theRead More »

Dupuis does not have any structural damage

 

Penguins news and notes As noted earlier, Nick Johnson and Dustin Jeffrey were re-assigned this morning to Wilkes Barre/Scranton. Although Max Talbot, Pascal Dupuis are progressing, the plan to re-assign Johnson or Jeffrey was due to management wanting both players to suit up for Wilkes Barre tonight. That was the plan regardless of Dupuis or Talbot’s status. *Forward Pascal Dupuis does not have any structural damage to his upper cheekbones or right eye after being hit from behind by Islanders defenseman Andy Sutton Tuesday night. Dupuis eye was swollen shut for over 48 hours and he would not be playing if the Penguins played tonight. The same for Max Talbot who skated today with strength and conditioning coach Mike Kadar and was somewhat limited but is improving. The Penguins as a team did not practice. Talbot is regarded as probable to play Sunday afternoon against Philadelphia. Contract Talks: While Pittsburgh’sRead More »

Farm Report: Jeffrey leads Wilkes Barre to 4-3 win

 

Jeffrey leads Wilkes Barre to 4-3 win Dustin Jeffrey (9, 10) scored two goals and an assist as the Wilkes Barre/Scranton Penguins defeated the Adirondack Phantoms 4-3 Monday night at Wachovia Arena to earn their third straight victory. Jeffrey who has made the transition to wing in the past couple weeks, has a team high 35 points on the season and has found great chemistry with linemates Mark Letestu and Nick Johnson. Nick Johnson added three assists as the Penguins top line combined for 7 points. Lane Caffaro (1) added his first goal of the season at 5:41 of the 1st period. Top prospect Eric Tangradi (6) scored the game winner at 14:49 of the third period. Tangradi is off to a slow start, playing a third line role of late, recording 10 points in 25 games played this season. Defenseman Brian Strait led all defensemen with a plus/minus ratingRead More »

Farm Report: Penguins interested in grooming Dustin Jeffrey into a left winger

 

Johnson back at full health Right winger Nick Johnson (6ft2, 200lbs), is regarded by many NHL scouts as the Penguins most under-rated prospect. Johnson plays a strong two-way game and caught the eye of many members in the organization this past September, when Johnson pushed for a roster spot out of camp. Johnson likely would have been one of the Penguins call-ups during the Penguins rash of injuries in October and November but Johnson suffered a high ankle sprain just 7 games into the season, which sidelined him for 7 weeks. Johnson returned to the lineup Wednesday night, scoring 2 goals in Wilkes Barre’s 6-0 rout of Syracuse. This is a big year for Johnson to prove that he is an NHL player. Johnson will turn 24 this month. Stat Line: 8 GP – 3 goals – 1 assist – 4 pts Penguins grooming Dustin Jeffrey to be a leftRead More »

THE BALLAD OF PASCAL DUPUIS

 

Penguins training camp is winding down, and most of the guys you expert analysts out there figured had a shot are now apartment-hunting in Wilkes-Barre, and with multiple levels of disgust. The lone remaining people’s choice is winger Chris Conner, but the only way Conner sticks is if the Penguins can’t agree to a contract with tryout player Ryan Bayda. Bayda is three inches taller than Conner and more aggressive. Each has a journeyman’s resume.

Waiver wire has Penguins concerned

 

There is some serious concern in the organization that the Penguins may lose a needed depth player (or players) through waivers. Keys players such as defensemen Nate Guenin, Deryk Engelland, Chris Lee and forwards, Chris Conner, Paul Bissonnette, Wyatt Smith, and Tim Wallace will all be exposed to the waiver wire. The only players that don’t have to clear waivers are forwards Dustin Jeffrey, Eric Tangradi, Luca Caputi, Joe Vitale, Nick Johnson and defensemen Robert Bortuzzo, Jonathan D’Aversa, and Ben Lovejoy. This has the Penguins shopping

Pre-season Game 4: Post-Toronto Thoughts

 

Toronto — Fielding a lineup that was missing Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin to name a few, Pittsburgh played an aggressive, up-tempo game against the Maple Leafs Tuesday night. A positive sign was the fact that a number players on the bubble played with a lot of determination. Cuts will be made tomorrow afternoon. *The top forward on the night for the Penguins was prospect (RW) Nick Johnson. Johnson played a complete game at both ends of the ice.

Development of prospects the key to maintaining a Cup Contender in Pittsburgh

 

With just under $42 million committed to 15 players for next season and Pittsburgh talking extensions with defensemen Kris Letang and Sergei Gonchar, Pittsburgh won’t be a major player in free agency anytime soon. The key to building around the Penguins core in the long run will be the development of their prospects. After giving up multiple draft picks to land Marian Hossa and Hal Gill in the winter of 2008, Pittsburgh is now focused on building through the draft. With concerns that the salary cap will drop $6-$7 million for the 2010-2011 season, management will have to get very creative next summer. What Pittsburgh has going for them is the fact that they have three to four prospects at the forward position and two more on D that are on the verge of being NHL regulars within the next year. Prospects Nick Johnson, Luca Caputi and Eric Tangradi willRead More »

Day 1 Training Camp: Lovejoy not a lock to win No. 7 defenseman spot

 

The Pittsburgh Penguins reported to training camp today as the players will conduct their first on ice session on Sunday. The players underwent physicals and fitness testing today at the UPMC facility on the South Side. Players reported at 8 a.m.. The Stanley Cup Champions have very few position battles. Replacing Max Talbot on Evgeni Malkin’s line will be the most intriguing battle to watch. The Penguins will give Pascal Dupuis every opportunity to win the job. Tyler Kennedy will also get a look. On defense one concern in the organization is the lack of depth behind their top 6. Penguins General Manager Ray Shero has always tried to bring in 8 to 9 NHL ready defensemen in camp. The Penguins may have 7 entering camp and that maybe a stretch. With the Penguins coming up empty on camp invites for a few potential D-man targets, up to four