Perhaps it’s not a surprise, but still it’s a disappointment to see two highly regarded former prospects in Jonathan Filewich and Ryan Stone get the cut. Both are exposed to waivers, but to be honest, I can’t see another team like these unproven guys, now 23 years old.
Someone who is no stranger to being claimed on waivers—Kris Beech—is also on waivers. We couldn’t be happier. Jeff Taffe does well as the 4th line center, and barring him falling flat on his face it looks like he’ll start in that position.
The Pens are down to 29, they need to cut five more players before heading to Europe. So who are some of the more surprising guys still around?
Danny Richmond—Internet reports raved about him, and the Pens did cut three defensemen today, including Ben Lovejoy who’s been another camp upstart. Richmond’s still an incredible long-shot to make the NHL roster out of camp, but it’s clear now who’s the first in line to come up from the farm.
Bill Thomas—The Pittsburgh native has been scoring in exhibition games, and that’s always a way to turn heads. Thomas, to us, is still probably behind Taffe and Janne Pesonen on the organ-eye-zational depth charts for forwards, but that he survived this round of cuts is another testament to him being perhaps closer to an NHL level player than we though when he was signed.
Paul Bissonnette-For a guy told to not even bother showing up to AHL training camp last year, it’s a huge turnaround to be amongst finals cuts for the man they call Biz Nasty. Especially considering his position has always been defenseman up until this past season. Bissonnette, as a winger, is like a guided missile, hitting, checking and annoying anything in the other color jersey. That he is still around is probably just to take some burden off of Eric Godard’s plate in countering any enforcers that may appear in other teams’ preseason lineups but the Pens chose Biz Nasty over Aaron Boogaard, so that’s something.
The Penguins do still have a couple more exhibition games and obviously you don’t want to run these guys into the ground (or risk injury) more times than you have to, so it makes sense not to trim totally down to the opening night lineup. That still doesn’t take away from what guys like Richmond and Thomas have done.
And if this is the end of the road for anyone (Becch, Stone, Filewich), well it’s been real.