I was told to watch Bill Thomas closely tonight. Thomas is pushing hard for a roster spot and the coaching staff likes what they have seen from him. Look for Thomas to see a lot of ice time tonight and to be used in different situations.
Pens scouts were very high on Paul Bissonnette last year. Bissonnette was effective on the fore-check in camp and has drawn praise from insiders I‚Äôve talked to. His conversion to power forward was the idea of Dan Bylsma. Bylsma thinks that this conversion will make Bissonette a NHL regular in the near future. Bylsma did write a couple of books on how to make it to the NHL.
According to a source ‚Äúthe local media is overlooking the quality of Beech, Taffe, Stone, Thomas, Pesonen, Goddard and Kennedy. Two of them will not make the team. Stone is the longest shot and I have it down to Beech and Thomas battling for the last spot and the loser likely getting snatched in waivers. The Pens organization feel like they will lose a quality depth player in waivers. They don’t have a way around it.‚Äù
My Take: Kennedy and Taffe are locks. As I wrote in my article last night the final two spots will come down to Pesonen, Beech, Thomas and Stone
Talk about a contrast in camps – the Pens have a strict no fighting rule. Melrose has his tough guys going at it every day. Goddard will get a good warm up fight tonight.
Want to know who the happiest player in camp is? Pascal Dupuis. He pushed hard to get the Pens to sign him. He worked hard to get ready for camp. He is playing his heart out to try to keep a spot in the top six.
I‚Äôll touch base on a few teams that are calling Ray Shero about some under the radar players in my Sunday morning report. (inside Access only)
Full Insider analysis following the game: