The Penguins reduced their training camp roster to 29 players this past Wednesday. With three players currently injured (Max Talbot, Mark Letestu and Ben Lovejoy
) Pittsburgh has 26 players on its active roster.
The Penguins have until Sept. 30 to get their active roster down to the league mandated 23 players, meaning Pittsburgh will have to move three or more players by next W
For some of the players on the bubble, the final days of training camp and the team’s pre-season finale in Detroit on Sunday will be their last chance to make a good impression on the coaching staff for a roster spot.
“This is the last game to get timing down and get ready for the regular season,” Bylsma said. “That’s the way I view (the final pre-season) game.
“This is the last chance to make an impression, system-wise, lineup-wise, this is our last chance to be certain about what we’re doing.”
The Penguins top six defensive positions are locked with Sergei Gonchar, Brooks Orpik
, Kris Letang
, Mark Eaton, Alex Goligoski and Jay McKee. If the team carries a seventh blueliner into the season then either Deryk Engelland
or Pittsburgh native Nate Guenin will make the team.
“It’s a great accomplishment for myself, making it this far,” Engelland said. “I’ve never really been a guy that got a chance up here (in the NHL) and coming into camp this year, being that there’s only six D, I knew that there was a chance to be around this long. It’s awesome.
“All I can do is pay attention to my details and my game and play physical and see what happens."
The Penguins are stacked at forward. Talbot’s injury created an opening but that still leaves Craig Adams
, Ryan Bayda, Paul Bissonnette, Chris Conner, Pascal Dupuis
, Eric Godard and Mike Rupp all battling for positions.
“I tried to show them that on a consistent basis, night in and night out, I can go out there, play fourth line and just be a good character guy,” Bissonnette said. “The top three lines are pretty set and they’re unbelievable, so it’s just basically trying to give the team the spark they need, especially early on in the season. I think I’ve done that so far and if I get in against Detroit it would be nice to show them I could do it against a top-end team like that.”