The Penguins made a few roster moves today, and that’s probably a good thing.
If nothing else than from a logistical standpoint.
The team put goaltender Jeff Zatkoff, forwards Zach Sill and Andrew Ebbett and defenseman Taylor Chorney on waivers. Defenseman Brian Dumoulin and forward Bobby Farnham were reassigned to Wilkes-Barre/Scranton.
What does this mean?
Well, in terms of actually hockey it means that:
>>Thomas Greiss will back up Marc-Andre Fleury this season.
Not exactly a shock here given that general manager Jim Rutherford — a former goalie himself — signed Greiss while his existing backup (Zatkoff) had another year left on his contract.
But again, what does this mean?
For now, it likely means that Greiss can move to the other side of the locker room, into the larger stall that Zatkoff once occupied. (Teams have until Sunday at noon to claim him; I believe someone will.)
Or maybe he’ll stay put. Greiss insisted that he liked his seat and wasn’t necessarily in a rush to move.
“I like sitting next to Marc,” Greiss said. “It’s pretty nice talking to him and chatting about goalie things. I don’t mind.”
No word on what “goalie things” are. Or if Greiss, a man of few words, has ever made small talk about anything with anyone.
If Greiss doesn’t move, bet on Kasperi Kapanen or Oskar Sundqvist — or maybe both — to take one of the vacant lockers. Poor kids were sitting on two folding chairs Saturday in the front of the Penguins locker room.
>>So what do the other moves mean?
Well, they mean the Penguins are confident enough in Scott Harrington as a sixth defenseman.
Depending on how Olli Maatta’s shoulder responds to some ramped up contact — so good so far — Harrington could possibly be in the lineup for opening night next Thursday at home against Anaheim.
“Scott Harrington has had a very good camp,” head coach Mike Johnston said. “He’s stepped up in the games in London through the preseason. I thought he’s played very well in every game.
“The type of defenseman that he is, he’s a puck-moving defenseman who can jump up into the play, but he is very solid defensively. He’s got great defensive positioning. We really trust him in his own zone.
“We’ll sort out who’s going to be in the lineup on Thursday over the next couple days, but obviously by him staying here right now, he’s right there in the mix.”
>>You may have heard that Evgeni Malkin skated Saturday. Say someone claims Sill and Malkin’s healthy enough to go Thursday, you’re probably going to scratch one among the following group: Kapanen, Sundqvist, Craig Adams or Nick Spaling.
Adams and Spaling are solid PK guys, and Johnston said today he wants three forward pairings, each with one guy who can take draws. That fits Spaling.
I think they’re intrigued by what Kapanen can bring on the second line, at least enough to give him a nine-game look. Which would mean Sundqvist and Adams are battling for the final, fourth line spot. If Malkin can’t go, they both make it.
We shall see, right? Practice tomorrow at 11.
Be GRATEFUL to each other,