The clock is ticking on the Penguins getting their roster set (has to be done by 3:00 p.m. Friday) and team held organizational meetings following Wednesday’s Black and Gold scrimmage and more meetings between the coaching staff and upper management are planned to resume in the morning.
Everyone except Simon Despres, Beau Bennett and Jayson Megna are eligible for waivers, so the direction the Penguins intend to take on the roster will be finalized by late morning as the Penguins would have to put any waiver eligible players on waivers at 12:00 p.m. Thursday to get them to the minors before rosters are to be submitted Friday at 3:00 p.m.
Wednesday’s scrimmage was the last evaluation tool for the staff.
My some what Roster Prediction: Penguins carry 13 forwards, sending Beau Bennett and Jayson Megna back to Wilkes Barre. I am certain of that.
On the blueline, I believe Simon Despres makes the team, leading to Brian Strait going on waivers or unlikely scenario of Robert Bortuzzo being moved in a trade, although I was told something interesting on Wednesday afternoon in that one scenario being discussed is sending Despres down to Wilkes Barre for seven to ten days and let things play out on the trade market for a week or so regarding Bortuzzo, Strait or maybe even Lovejoy as chatter on Wednesday is that some teams looking for defensive help intended to see who goes on waivers before pulling the trigger on any deals for a depth defenseman. Could be an interesting option explored by Shero but probably wouldn’t make the coaching staff happy. However, I expect Despres to be on the roster Saturday afternoon.
More Buzz
It’s been no secret that Dan Bylsma is giving the Simon Despres – Kris Letang pairing a look and is believed to be leaning towards opening the season Saturday with them together. “There’s a fair number of games they’ve played together,” Bylsma said of Letang and Despres. “I think there is some comfort there. Last year when they did play together, there was a little bit of a mentor to a younger guy as well.”
As for Despres play in the scrimmage: “Simon had some good situations and speed of the game people coming at you a little bit differently showed in a lot of situations for D and forwards alike and we saw that from Simon as well {but} we also saw some good things {from Simon}.” – That’s a pretty accurate observation of Despres.
Beau Bennett is having a lot of people talking after flashing top-6 ability, showing great poise and vision in the scrimmage and showing signs like he has in the AHL, of seeing the game like an elite player. Bennett sure got the Penguins thinking but the sense of the situation is the Penguins intend to send him down with the hopes that he gains a ton from this experience and plays some dominating hockey over the next couples months, putting himself in position for a full time callup in lets say March or early April, which would pretty much make him a trade deadline acquisition without giving anything up.
While Bennett did a lot of things well in the Black and Gold Scrimmage, did Bylsma come out of this scrimmage with concerns about Bennett being ready now?

Quite possibly.
Skating is not an area of strength for Bennett, although it’s not a huge area of concern. However, it is an area he needs to get stronger at, especially from a quickness standpoint.
This comment from Bylsma caught my attention about how he would liked to have seen Bennett execute differently in playing a “quicker game.”
“Certainly there were times when I would have liked to see him do things and execute a little bit differently in terms of playing a quicker game, but I thought he showed some ability with hands to make some plays we’ve seen him do last couple months.”
“Brandon has been impressive with his speed and skating and showed {that} again today,” Bylsma said. “Right from beginning we saw play they made in neutral zone with him, showing his speed off.”
Tomas Vokoun on fans: “It was great, I couldn’t believe it when I came out. Almost full building, that’s unbelievable.