The Pittsburgh Penguins made their first round of cuts on Sunday afternoon, just a few hours after the final intrasquad scrimmage and the day before the first preseason game. The Penguins reduced their camp roster to 50 players after assigning six players to the AHL WBS Penguins camp, and four were assigned back to their junior teams.
There were no surprises assigned to the AHL camp.
F – Sam Houde
D – Chris Bigras
D – Josh Maniscalco
G – Alex D’Orio
G – Tommy Nappier
Of the group, Merisier-Ortiz drew praise from PHN for his play. The defenseman was an undrafted free agent who signed an AHL deal. However, his camp performance in both the prospects camp and Penguins training camp showed the Penguins have a player who could become a solid contributor, eventually.
He moves the puck well, has good vision, and moves well. He’s undersized at 5-foot-9 and 172 pounds, but we’ve placed him on our prospects list to watch.
The Pittsburgh Penguins also sent four players back to their junior teams.
F – Lukas Svejkovsky – Medicine Hat (WHL)
F – Josh Williams – Edmonton (WHL)
D – Isaac Belliveau – Gatineau (QMJHL)
D – Ryan McCleary – Portland (WHL)
Svejkovsky created a goal in the intra-squad championship game on Sunday and nearly had another when his forecheck created a turnover in the defensive zone. He, too, is undersized at 5-foot-10, 165 pounds.
“His skill level is really impressive. So he’s one of those guys that we’re not going to rush the process,” Penguins Director of Player Development Scott Young said after the prospects camp. “We’ve got to go about this the right way, but his skill level is something we’re really excited about.”
Svejkovsky was the Penguins 2020 fourth-round pick. He could have turned pro, and he had a pretty good training camp. The WBS Penguins may have him by the end of the season, if not next season, and he’ll be fun to watch.
Isaac Belliveau was the Penguins 2021 fifth-round pick. Director of Player Personnel, Chris Pryor, admitted Belliveau would have to physically mature and refine his game before he was a professional prospect. That showed to be true. He didn’t necessarily wow in the prospects camp or training camp.
Williams had some high points in the prospects camp, but not so much in the NHL training camp.