The Pittsburgh Penguins have assigned 26 players to either the team’s AHL affiliate in Wilkes-Barre/Scranton or to their respective junior teams ahead of the NHL work stoppage set to begin tonight at midnight.
Here are the lists:
Forwards: Beau Bennett, Benn Ferriero, Trevor Smith, Warren Peters, Riley Holzapfel, Philippe Dupuis, Brian Gibbons, Tom Kuhnhackl, Zach Sill, Keven Veilleux, Dominik Uher, Jayson Megna, Adam Payerl and Paul Thompson
Defensemen: Simon Despres, Joe Morrow, Brian Dumoulin, Dylan Reese, Carl Sneep, Alex Grant, Philip Samuelsson and Reid McNeill
Goaltenders: Patrick Killeen
Defensemen: Olli Maatta and Scott Harrington (London Knights, OHL), Derick Pouliot (Portland Winterhawks, WHL)
The Penguins selected Pouliot eighth overall in the 2012 NHL Draft with the pick they received from the Carolina Hurricanes in the Jordan Staal trade, while Maatta came to the team via the 22nd overall pick.
Ferriero, Smith, Peters, Holzapfel, Dupuis, Grant and Reese all cleared waivers today. Any NHL team could have claimed them.
Bennett is the team’s top forward prospect. A wrist injury limited him to only 10 games last season with the NCAA’s Denver Pioneers, though he posted 13 points. He underwent surgery for the injury in December and will probably spend all of the coming season in the minors before competing for a top six spot on the big club next season.
The organization’s cluster of top defensive prospects with Despres, Morrow, Maatta, Pouliot, Doumilin and Harrington should have fans excited. All six of them could wind up as top four-level defensemen in the NHL in the next few years. They’ll provide a stellar defensive foundation for a team that will still employ Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin, James Neal and Marc-Andre Fleury elsewhere.
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