The anticipated fireworks for the 5:01 p.m. NHL roster deadline were more like snakes and sparklers. For all of the trade talk, roster scenariors, and discussion, the Pittsburgh Penguins merely slipped Casey DeSmith through waivers and sent emerging prospect defenseman John Marino to Wilkes-Barre/Scranton on the AHL.
No mention yet of Bryan Rust going on LTIR to save additional cap space or trades.
The Penguins are probably not sorry to disappoint.
Marino, 22, made a valiant effort at a roster spot. In another situation, or another time, he would have made the club. The Penguins unheralded trade for Marino, who was a former sixth-round pick of the Edmonton Oilers but chose Harvard and eventually was set to choose NHL free agency until the Penguins sent a conditional sixth-rounder to Edmonton in exchange for Marino this summer.
Marino began to stand out in the Prospects Challenge in Buffalo from Sept. 6-9, then continued his standout work in training camp and preseason. He played in most of the Penguins six preseason games.
The 6-foot-2, 181-pound defenseman will headline a much improved WBS Penguins blue line and team.
DeSmith and his $1.250 million NHL guaranteed salary cleared waivers Tuesday at noon. Head coach Mike Sullivan admitted the Penguins had to factor salaries when choosing their backup goaltender. And he didn’t mince words.
The Pittsburgh Penguins 13 forwards are Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin, Nick Bjugstad, Teddy Blueger, Jake Guentzel, Jared McCann, Dominik Kahun, Dominik Simon, Bryan Rust, Patric Hornqvist, Zach Aston-Reese, Alex Galchenyuk, and Brandon Tanev.
The eight defensemen are Kris Letang, Brian Dumoulin, Jack Johnson, Justin Schultz, Erik Gudbranson, Marcus Pettersson, Juuso Riikola and Chad Ruhwedel.
Zach Trotman was placed on LTIR with a sports hernia.
The two goalies are Matt Murray and Tristan Jarry.
After Rust is placed on LTIR, the Penguins have approximately $900,000 of salary cap space available.
*Editor’s Note: The first draft incorrectly listed the wrong backup goalie.