The Pittsburgh Penguins have made their final roster cuts this afternoon, meeting the NHL-mandated 23 man roster before their North American season begins on Saturday night against the Devils.
The Pittsburgh Trib-Reviewreports that the Penguins have assigned Finnish forward Janne Pesonen and goaltender John Curry to Wilkes-Barre/Scranton of the AHL.
Pesonen's departure means that head coach Michel Therrien liked what he saw from his fourth line combination of tough guys Eric Godard and Paul Bissonnette on the Pens' recent Euro trip.
Godard and Bissonnette flanked either Jeff Taffe or Pittsburgh native Bill Thomas on the teams' fourth line during the NHL Premiere weekend in Sweden. Biz and Godard supplied good energy off the bench, and did their part to tame, at least temporarily, the Sens' forceful combination of Jarkko Ruutu and Chris Neil, though Neil did back down from fighting Godard on multiple occasions.
The Penguins have also placed forward Jeff Taffe on waivers. Taffe logged a fair amount of minutes on the teams' fourth line last season, however his performance in Sweden left something to be desired. Taffe made the costly turnover at the blue line on the power play that led to Jason Spezza's shorthanded goal. Taffe added some versatility and depth to the lineup, but he is very replaceable.
Taffe, a center by nature who also saw some time on the wing last season, should be picked up by some team looking to add some depth or simply looking for another guy to fill a fourth line role in the event of an injury. If not, he's headed back to Wilkes-Barre.
The biggest news out of Penguin-land deals with forward Kris Beech. Note: This is probably the first time "biggest news" and "Kris Beech" have ever been placed in the same sentence.
The Pens' assigned Beech to the AHL before the end of training camp. Since that time, Beech has not reported to practice in Wilkes-Barre.
Today, the Penguins placed Beech on unconditional waivers, and the Trib-Review reports that Beech may be pursuing options to play overseas. The Penguins pre-season opponent, Jokerit may be Beech's best bet, based solely on the fact that their name implies they are a joke, a role that Beech would have no problem filling.
The Penguins' home opener is set for Saturday night at 7:38 PM against the New Jersey Devils at Mellon Arena.
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