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Penguins Q & A

Gavin writes “Who do you think will be the final 2 guys filling the roster spots Bissonnette, Thomas, James, and/or Pesonen?”
Answer: Based on performance in camp Bill Thomas and Paul Bissonnette should make the team. Thomas has really picked up his game since preseason play has opened up. He has been effective on the forecheck and is creating opportunities in the offensive zone. Thomas was the team’s top forward Monday night against Tampa Bay. Bissonnette has caught the eye of the coaching staff since the first day of training camp. He came into camp as a major longshot but worked hard and has been the team’s most physical player in camp. The coaching staff is very high on Bissonnette but I’m hearing the front office is split on whether to start Bissonnette in the NHL or send him to WBS. Some believe he could use some more time in WBS to learn the position while others believe he could be an asset for the Penguins right off the bat.
Connor James is the biggest longshot. He has performed well in camp. The numbers are against James. He plays a similar game to Tyler Kennedy.
Janne Pesonen has been the wild card in training camp. He has shown some flashes of what he may be able to do but he needs some seasoning in WBS. Pesonen struggled against Tampa Bay Monday night. It was a physical game that didn’t suit his style. Pesonen had difficulties clearing the puck in the defensive zone when pressured and was holding onto the puck too long in the neutral zone. Pesonen has had a tendency of making too many moves at the oppositions blue line. Against bigger strong players Pesonen needs to dump the puck and use his speed.
Who Makes it
The Penguins have yet to make a decision and are considering all four players. Even though Thomas and Bissonnette should make the team based on performance my gut feeling is Thomas and Pesonen will get the nod. For about a week it has been speculated that Pesonen would be on the roster when the team goes to Finland. Just a hunch but what I see happening is when the Penguins return from Europe they send Pesonen down to WBS for an assignment to learn the North American game. Bissonnette will see time in the NHL this season but it just might not be at the beginning of the year

About The Author

William DePaoli

TIOPS Insider

William DePaoli is the President/Founder of Inside Pittsburgh Sports LLC and can be reached at

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