Injuries and suspensions have tested Pittsburgh’s depth all season long, but Monday night’s projected lineup is…well, something else.
From the morning skate, here what the Penguins will roll out for this evening’s tilt against Toronto:
Chris Kunitz-Sidney Crosby-Pascal Dupuis
Harry Zolnierczyk-Jussi Jokinen-Jayson Megna
Chris Conner-Brandon Sutter-Joe Vitale
Craig Adams-Zach Sill-Chuck Kobasew
Matt Niskanen-Olli Maatta
Robert Bortuzzo-Brian Dumoulin
Simon Despres-Philip Samuelsson
The reasons for such an obscure lineup (truth time: I had to look up who the heck Zach Sill is) are injuries to Evgeni Malkin, Kris Letang, Paul Martin, Brooks Orpik, Rob Scuderi, Tanner Glass, Beau Bennett and Andrew Ebbett.
Meanwhile, Deryk Engelland is suspended indefinitely pending an in-person hearing with the NHL’s Department of Player Safety on Wednesday and James Neal is in the midst of his five-game suspension for kneeing Brad Marchand.
Oh, and here’s a fun fact about tonight’s blueline, as per the Pens website:
Combined Despres (60), Bortuzzo (39), Maatta (34), Dumoulin (1) and Samuelsson (0) have played in 134 career NHL games.
Related: Hurting Penguins recall Samuelsson and Zolnierczyk, put Letang on IR
The Edmonton Oilers have assigned center Leon Draisaitl to AHL Bakersfield.
The demotion of Draisaitl, 19, means 21-year-old rookie Anton Slepyshev has made the opening-day roster after scoring twice and adding two assists in exhibition action.
The Oilers experimented during the preseason with Draisaitl, a natural center, on the wing. He didn’t have a particularly poor camp, finishing with one goal and three assists in six games.
But Slepyshev apparently impressed more.
“He’s a young player but he’s played pro hockey before,” coach Todd McLellan told the Edmonton Journal. “You can see it.”
Slepyshev played 58 games in the KHL last season, scoring 15 goals for Salavat Yulaev Ufa.
A preseason push by a number of Vancouver Canucks youngsters has left forward Linden Vey and defenseman Frank Corrado on waivers today.
The more surprising name of the two is Corrado, the 22-year-old who entered the season with an excellent chance of making the opening-day roster. However, it seems that rookie d-man Ben Hutton, 22, has been given the nod after finishing an eye-opening preseason with one goal and four assists in seven games. (This despite Hutton being waiver exempt. So it’s a risk for the Canucks, to be sure.)
It was the play of 19-year-old rookie Jared McCann that led, in part, to the waiving of Vey. (For more on that, click here.) Veteran Adam Cracknell remains with the team as well, to some surprise.
Rookie winger Jake Virtanen is also expected to be on Vancouver’s opening-day roster, though that’s no big shock.
Defenseman Alex Biega is also on waivers, as expected.