The Pittsburgh Penguins have made their first high-profile cuts of this training camp.
If they are not claimed by another club by Friday, those players will be eligible to be assigned to the Penguins’ American Hockey League affiliate in Wilkes-Barre.
The Penguins also assigned nine players to Wilkes-Barre/Scranton, leaving them with 37 healthy players in camp.
The players sent to Wilkes-Barre are forwards Corey Andonovski, Avery Hayes, Marc Johnstone and Austin Rueschhoff, defensemen Isaac Belliveau, Justin Lee, Dmitri Samorukov and Jack St. Ivany and goalie Joel Blomqvist.
Smith was acquired from New Jersey in 2022 in the trade that sent John Marino to the Devils and spent most of last season in Wilkes-Barre, but was exempt from waivers then.
He had been expected to contend for spot on the third defense pairing this fall, but has had a lackluster training camp. He normally mans the left side, but played on the right during the Penguins’ 4-3 exhibition loss in Detroit Tuesday.
Pitlick was acquired from Montreal this summer as part of the three-team deal that brought Erik Karlsson to the Penguins and was in the large cluster of players competing for spots on the third and fourth lines.
Gruden and Fedun made cameo appearances with the Pittsburgh Penguins in 2022-23, but spent most of the season in Wilkes-Barre.