Published on January 17th, 2013 | by James Conley0
Penguins News: Bennett, Megna to WBS. Despres, Tangradi to Get Their Shot
Thursday, Pittsburgh returned 17 players to the WBS Penguins, including Black and Gold Game standouts Jayson Megna and Beau Bennett.
Perhaps surprisingly, Brian Strait was also reassigned to WBS when his waiver status made it likely that Simon Despres, who is not waiver-eligible, would be returned to the AHL club. Strait will now have to clear waivers for the next 24 hours before rejoining the WBS Penguins. So, too, will most of the 14 players who joined Pittsburgh for Wednesday’s scrimmage. However, only one waiver claim has been made throughout the NHL thus far.
The deadline to set 23-man NHL rosters is Friday.
For now, the Penguins 23-man roster looks like this:
Kunitz – Crosby – Dupuis
Neal – Malkin – Tangradi
Cooke – Sutter – Kennedy
Glass – Adams – Vitale – Jeffrey
Orpik – Martin
Letang – Niskanen
Engelland – Lovejoy
Bortuzzo – Despres
The thing to take away from this is that Despres and Tangradi are being counted on to produce, although under different circumstances. Tangradi is waiver eligible and quickly leaving his prospect status in the dust. He’s been in the organization since 2009 and this will probably be his make or break campaign. He should get a decent chance to show what he’s got, playing alongside Malkin and Neal. If he can’t produce with those two, it’s hard to imagine his future in Pittsburgh.
For Despres, the pressure is not as great. He’s waiver ineligible and still very much a prospect in his second year as a pro. However, his potential is great enough that the Penguins seem to see him making a top-pairing option with Kris Letang—if not now, then eventually. The Penguins guarded his minutes in his few NHL games last season. It’ll be interesting to see how often he gets the nod over two or three of Lovejoy, Bortuzzo and Engelland on any given night, and whether he will be returned to WBS should he struggle.
Thursday is an off-day. The team will hold practice Friday before their game at Philadelphia Saturday afternoon.