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Penguins Finalize Roster, Taxi Squad and Demotions…



Pittsburgh Penguins roster, Sidney Crosby
Pittsburgh Penguins Sidney Crosby: Photo Courtesy of Pittsburgh Penguins

In the end, the Pittsburgh Penguins roster has precisely zero surprises. The taxi squad is a similar story with expected players, which would otherwise be in the AHL, and prospects Sam Poulin and Nathan Legare will head back to juniors…whenever those seasons begin.

Sidney Crosby will be the Penguins captain. Are you surprised? This will be Crosby’s 16th season, and he trails only Mario Lemieux (17) for most in franchise history.

The team finished its game simulation on Sunday night. Though a couple of prospects stood out, none made the final roster.

The Penguins released their 23-player roster on Monday after the team’s newly scheduled practice.

Of course, you know the centers (4): Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin, Mark Jankowski, and Teddy Blueger are down the middle.

On the LW (4): Jake Guentzel, Jason Zucker, Jared McCann, and Sam Lafferty (who played fourth-line LW on Monday in practice).

On the RW (5): Kasperi Kapanen, Evan Rodrigues, Bryan Rust, Brandon Tanev, and Colton Sceviour.

The team kept eight (8) defensemen: Kris Letang, Brian Dumoulin, John Marino, Mike Matheson, Marcus Pettersson, Cody Ceci, Juuso Riikola Chad Ruhwedel.

Two goalies, of course (2): Tristan Jarry, Casey DeSmith.

Kapanen will complete the 23-player roster when he completes his quarantine period.

The team said Zach Trotman would be appropriately assigned on Tuesday. Since that is a new term, we believe it means he suffered an injury. Zach Aston-Reese, Sam Miletic, and Josh Maniscalco will also be “appropriately assigned” on Tuesday.

Aston-Reese is scheduled to return from his injury rehab (left shoulder surgery) in mid-February.

Pittsburgh Penguins Practice Squad

The Penguins also named their six-player taxi squad, which includes three players with NHL experience and two prospects.

Anthony Angello, 25, made his NHL debut last season and played eight games with one goal. He’ll be on the taxi squad, as well as prospect defenseman P-O Joseph and prospect forward Drew O’Connor. Former Nashville Predator Frederick Gaudreau is also on the taxi squad.

The Penguins will also keep two goalies on the taxi squad. Maxime Legace was the presumed third goalie. Alex D’Orio will serve as the fourth goalie.

The NHL mandated teams carry at least three goalies, including the taxi squad.

Penguins Demotions

The Penguins could have kept Sam Poulin or Nathan Legare on the practice squad, as the QMJHL has delayed its restart, but the team instead reassigned the pair to their junior teams.

The Penguins also assigned Josh Currie, Radim Zohorna, and defenseman Kevin Czuczman to the AHL. Jordan Nolan was released from his PTO and will report to the WBS Penguins on his AHL contract.

The Penguins signed Zohorna from the Czech Republic this offseason. The 24-year-old center had 22 points (12g, 10a) in 21 games in the Czech Elite League this season.

The Penguins begin their season on Wednesday in Philadelphia. They play the Flyers at 5:30 p.m. as the first game of what is sure to be a wild, trying, and unprecedented NHL season.