In somewhat of a surprising move, the Penguins recalled forward Jeff Taffe from Wilkes-Barre today. It’s not surprising given that Taffe is having a good season in the A (team leading 12 goals and 21 points) and has 100 career NHL games under his belt with Phoenix and NYR.
But no one is really hurt and it hasn’t been reported that winger Connor James (a healthy scratch last night after appearing in his first Penguin NHL game) was sent back to the farm.
The reason that’s a bit of a head scratcher is today starts the NHL’s Christmas roster freeze. After 11:59 tonight, teams can not trade players or send anyone to the minors until December 27th. They can, if necessary, recall players up---so it’s not like they couldn’t recall Taffe whenever they wanted.
This move would put the Pens at their maximum of 23 players (14 forwards, 7 defense, 2 goalies) so they don’t necessarily have to make a move. It’s just unusual, and a bit curious, that Shero and company have departed their regular theories and carried around these many bodies.
So, this news makes me immediately ponder the following knee jerk questions:
1) Is a trade about to happen sometime today?
2) We heard that Ryan Malone"was excused [from practice on Monday] so he could get a gash on his leg from a couple weeks ago re-evaluated by a doctor" but then he missed Tuesday's game with the all-encompassing “flu-like illness” that could be anything. Is it bad? But not bad enough to go on the IR?
3) Why hasn’t word come down that they sent James back down instead of healthy scratching him?
4) Is there a player dinged up that can’t play?
5) Does Pittsburgh just want to see if Taffe's goal scoring can spark the offense?
I think my best guess is probably #4 or #5, #2 is certainly the Oliver Stone angle and #1 is probably a pipedream at best.
I like what Taffe could bring to the table, he has a knack for scoring goals, but I don’t see why someone like James or Christensen needs to be a healthy scratch for the next week.
Perhaps the Penguins will answer some of my questions before the day is done…Stay tuned