Harry Zolnierczyk

Hurting Penguins recall Samuelsson and Zolnierczyk, put Letang on IR


The Pittsburgh Penguins have a myriad of injuries and their last game against the Detroit Red Wings on Saturday saw them go without defenseman Kris Letang and lost forward Evgeni Malkin during it.

Defenseman Philip Samuelsson and forward Harry Zolnierczyk have been recalled from the American Hockey League to help fill those holes in the lineup. Letang was placed on injured reserve to make room for them.

With a game against the Toronto Maple Leafs at home tonight, the Penguins need bodies. The Penguins were already without forwards Beau Bennett, Tanner Glass, and Andrew Ebbett. Adding Malkin to the mix of the skating wounded up front makes Zolnierczyk a necessity.

Letang missing the game Saturday meant the Pens were without their top four blue liners. Paul Martin, Rob Scuderi, and Brooks Orpik are all out with separate injuries and Brian Dumoulin had to make his NHL debut against Detroit. The team

If Samuelsson plays, it’ll be his first game in the league. He was a second-round pick of the Penguins back in 2009. Yes, he is the son of former NHL defenseman Ulf Samuelsson. It’s probably a good thing they’re not facing the Bruins considering Ulf’s history against them.

UPDATE: Letang will be out until after Christmas, according to head coach Dan Bylsma. Same goes for Scuderi (broken ankle). Glass will be back in 3-5 days.

Habs claim Byron off waivers from Flames

Paul Byron
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Montreal added some forward depth on Tuesday, acquiring diminutive forward Paul Byron off waivers from Calgary.

Byron, 26, is a veteran of nearly 150 career NHL games, most coming with the Flames. Despite fairly solid production over the last two years — 40 points in 104 games — he was exposed to waivers on Monday, along with fellow forward Mason Raymond.

(Calgary does have a logjam of players at forward, hence parting ways with Byron and Raymond.)

Byron can play both wing and center but, at 5-foot-7, 153 pounds, is one of the most undersized skaters in the league. Thankfully for him, Montreal has an affinity for undersized forwards, with the likes of Brendan Gallagher (5-foot-9, 184 pounds) and David Desharnais (5-foot-7, 174 pounds) already on the active roster.

Byron could also fill Zack Kassian‘s roster spot. Kassian is currently suspended without pay while undergoing Stage 2 of the NHL’s Substance Abuse program.

Isles claim goalie Berube off waivers

Evgeny Kuznetsov, Jaroslav Halak
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The New York Islanders have claimed goalie Jean-Francois Berube off waivers from the Los Angeles Kings, the club announced today.

Berube won the Calder Cup last season with AHL Manchester, but the 24-year-old has yet to appear in an NHL game.

That the Isles claimed Berube could be evidence that Jaroslav Halak will not be ready to start the season after all.

If that’s the case, Berube would back up Thomas Greiss, with Stephon Williams expected to go to the AHL.

The Isles open their regular season Friday at home versus the Blackhawks, then play the next day in Chicago.