The Pittsburgh Penguins have made the first significant cuts of this preseason, and a couple of the demotions were at least mildly surprising.
Forwards Drew O’Connor and Drake Caggiula, both of whom were seriously contending for spots on the Opening Night roster, are among the 15 players assigned to their American Hockey League affiliate in Wilkes-Barre, while defensemen Owen Pickering (Swift Current) and Nolan Collins (Sudbury) were sent back to their junior teams.
UPDATE: The Penguins further trimmed their roster by also putting Radim Zohorna on waivers for the purpose of going to the WBS Penguins camp, too. GM Ron Hextall confirmed the news to PHN. The Penguins have 27 players in camp.
The other players trimmed from the major-league roster were forwards Alex Nylander, Nathan Legare, Corey Andonovski, Valtteri Puustinen, Filip Hallander, Jamie Devane, Kyle Olson and Raivis Ansons, defensemen Jack St. Ivany, Xavier Ouellet and Colin Swoyer and goalies Dustin Tokarski and Filip Lindberg.
Legare entered camp as a longshot, at best, to start the season with the major-league team, but earned a lot of positive attention with his feisty, and generally effective, play. Andonovski also showed well during his first training camp as a pro.
Caggiula, Tokarski, Nylander and Ouellet will have to clear waivers. Caggiula could attract interest from a team looking for a capable bottom-six forward.
The Pittsburgh Penguins will visit Detroit for their fifth preseason game Monday at 7:38 p.m.