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No Cuts Yet; Instead, Four Callups For Thursday Lineup



Taylor Fedun is one of four players recalled from WBS expected to play Thursday.

The Pittsburgh Penguins, less than a week from their season opener, can be expected to make further roster cuts soon. For now, they are going in the other direction: They are calling up four players and have announced plans to dress all four Thursday in a preseason game at Detroit.

The four players recalled from Wilkes-Barre/Scranton of the American Hockey League are forwards Jonathan Gruden and Valtteri Puustinen, and defensemen Niclas Almari and Taylor Fedun. The balance of the lineup for Thursday also was announced and it is heavy on players vying for a roster spot as the Penguins go through the late stages of training camp evaluations.

From the team news release about the four promoted players:

Gruden, 21, has dressed for one preseason game with the Penguins, recording one shot in 11:36 minutes. The 6-foot, 172-pound forward spent his first professional season in the AHL last year with WBS, finishing seventh on the team with 14 points (6G-8A) in 32 games. Prior to turning pro, he was a member of the U.S. National Team Development Program for two seasons from 2016-18, serving as an alternate captain of Team USA at the World Junior Championship in 2018, helping them to a silver medal.

Puustinen, 22, appeared in the Penguins’ Oct. 1 preseason game in Buffalo, where he recorded one assist and was plus-2. The Kuopio, Finland native spent the 2020-21 season with HPK of Liiga, Finland’s top professional league, recording 41 points (21G-20A) in 51 games. His 21 goals led all HPK skaters and were tied for eighth in the league, while his 41 points were second-most on HPK.

Almari, 23, suited up for one preseason game with Pittsburgh on Oct. 1 in Buffalo, skating 17:57 minutes and recording two shots. The defenseman spent the 2020-21 season on a loan with the Pelicans for his fourth career season in Liiga, Finland’s top professional league, and recorded seven points (1G-6A) in 28 games. In addition to the Espoo, Finland native’s career in Liiga, where he recorded 25 points (9G-16A) in 135 games, he also skated for the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins in 2019-20, tallying seven points (1G-6A) in 51 games.

Fedun, 33, played in one preseason game for Pittsburgh on Oct. 1 in Buffalo, skating 19:35 minutes. In 2020-21, the defenseman appeared in two games for the Texas Stars (AHL), and spent the majority of the season on Dallas’ taxi squad. The Edmonton, AB native has recorded 35 points (8G-27A) in 127 NHL games, as well as 181 points (41G-140A) in 356 career AHL games.

Thursday’s lineup:


10 – Drew O’Connor

11 – Brian Boyle

18 – Sam Lafferty

20 – Kasper Bjorkqvist

22 – Sam Poulin

34 – Nathan Legare

36 – Filip Hallander

45 – Jonathan Gruden

49 – Dominik Simon

57 – Anthony Angello

67 – Radim Zohorna

76 – Valtteri Puustinen



2 – Chad Ruhwedel

4 – Taylor Fedun

5 – Mike Matheson

50 – Juuso Riikola

52 – Mark Friedman

73 – P.O Joseph

79 – Niclas Almari



1 – Casey DeSmith

70 – Louis Domingue



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Shelly is a columnist and reporter for Pittsburgh Hockey Now. She was a Penguins beat writer for the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette and remains a contributor to The Hockey News. Catch her on Twitter @_shellyanderson

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1 year ago

Well this didn’t age well, Ryan Reaves looks like he suffered a serious leg injury. The Rangers will face Wilson on opening night without Reaves , the best laid plans ……