Pril: Not trying to be doom and gloom but a couple missed shifts this weekend got me thinking ... if Maatta were to be injured during this "tryout" what would happen? Im assuming a player cant be sent down to Juniors while injured, so does that burn a year of the ELC?
Shelly Anderson: Boy, you are a Gloomy Gus to start things off. Rookie defenseman Olli Maatta can be sent back to his junior team before the 10th game to avoid having his entry-level contract kick in. I haven't looked heavily a the rule as it would pertain to your question, but if he were to be injured in the meantime, I would think his contract would only be activated if he were an active member of the roster. So putting him on long-term injured reserve probably would preserve his non-contract year.
As an aside, coach Dan Bylsma pointed out that the team certainly could opt to keep Maatta for more than nine games and still send him back to junior. He's not saying they will. Just that they could decide he's good enough to go ahead and use up a year of his entry-level contract. Sort of intriguing to think the Penguins would consider that.
Shelly Anderson: OK, realizing it's Columbus Day and a lot of people aren't online at work, but we need some questions, folks.
While we're waiting, here's some news: Winger Beau Bennett, who played less than 7 minutes Saturday at Tampa Bay but did have a couple of shifts in the third period, did not practice today. Coach Dan Bylsma said Bennett has a lower-body injury and is day-to-day. Bennett was at the arena. If he can't play Tuesday against Edmonton, the Penguins likely will call up a player who can slot in on the third or fourth line, with Chuck Kobasew playing on the second line.
Dan: Chances that we see a Dman dealt in the next few weeks?
Shelly Anderson: There is at least some chance, sure. The Penguins could run out of salary cap space otherwise. They also could put a defenseman (other than Maatta) through waivers and, if he clears, send him to the American Hockey League. A new provision in the CBA allows for more than $900,000 of a veteran's salary to come off of the NHL team's books while he is in the AHL. Of course, Kris Letang's injury status and the status of Maatta will play into this.
Marcus: Who fetches the best return if dealt...Orpik, Niskanen, Engelland, Despres?
Shelly Anderson: Really don't know. Many teams aren't exactly swimming in salary cap space or extra roster spots. Don't forget that guys such as Hal Gill and Ryan Whitney had to go to training camps on pro tryouts. And IF the Penguins go looking to trade a defenseman, they might look most closely for a trade partner that can offer draft picks and/or prospect help in return because they would have no room for another NHL player.
Dan: if they were to trade a dman, would you see them look to trade striclty for picks or a player coming back? Obviously need to be careful on salary...
Shelly Anderson: See the answer above. It's not only about the salary cap, but also roster size.
Guest: Did Kris Letang take regular shifts with the D-men today at practice,or was he at limited practice for him since he was only given 30 minutes?
Shelly Anderson: Kris Letang participated in drills as normal, BUT he left practice after a half-hour. Coach Dan Bylsma said that was the prescribed regimen for Letang today, 30 minutes of practice, and that Letang still needs to continue to progress as he recovers from what we believe is a knee injury. That doesn't sound good for him to play Tuesday against Edmonton, but it seems he is getting closer.
RoyBoy: Saw Marty Biron was placed on Waivers. Any interest from The Pens, especially after Zatkoff latest performance
Shelly Anderson: Keep in mind -- that wasn't so much Jeff Zatkoff's "latest" performance; it was his first appearance in an NHL game. While it wasn't what Zatkoff or the team wanted, it seems unlikely the Penguins would dump him after just one start. Marty Biron might be a servicable backup, but he's been around a while and told reporters in New York that he might retire if he's not picked up.
Mike: Any update on Despres situation? I know the coaching staff was not happy with the way he showed up to training camp, not to mention his poor play. Any chance he makes his way back to the NHL anytime soon?
Shelly Anderson: Doubt that Simon Despres has been exiled for good. He was the only defenseman on the club who did not have to clear waivers to be sent to the AHL. Maatta earned his chance to stay rather than Despes, but Despres is still well on the Penguins' radar.
Shelly Anderson: And to be clear, Simon Despres did not show up to training camp out of shape. He was ill the day the players did sprint tests, and the coaches were impressed that he even took part.
Jan: Maybe just because it is only the beginning of the season, but the media availability with players post pratice and post game seems more limited than in the past. Is it my imagination or are there new policies regarding the media?
Shelly Anderson: No new policies. However, oftentimes, when we reporters are admitted to the locker room, many of the players have already left that area even though it's only been a matter of minutes. Deadlines don't always allow us to wait for players to be brought back in after they work out or are showered. That's not a new situation.
Tommy: Assuming they move a D-man, with Niskanen filling in so well for Letang, both now and in the past, do you think the Pens keep him around as insurance for the rest of this year, or move him knowing his value is as high as its going to get?
Shelly Anderson: I'm not at all assuming they will move a defenseman. That said, Matt Niskanen's trade value would seem to be pretty good -- if there is a team in need of a defenseman that can afford him in terms of give-back, salary space and roster space.
Jan: Has James Neal been seen around the team, at least working out off the ice?
Shelly Anderson: Yes. He has been around. He was at Consol Energy Center today. No word on when he might join practice, though.
Mike: Any forwards in WBS that have showed any scoring flash early this year? Might we see anyone called up if Bennett's injuty requires any time off?
Shelly Anderson: Might well see someone called up. The names I've seen a lot on the Wilkes-Barre score sheets are Chris Conner and Harry Zolnierczyk.
RoyBoy: Biggest Surprise So far??? Biggest Disappointment?
Shelly Anderson: Biggest surprise has probably been the play and offensive contribution of the fourth line, followed by the play of Olli Maatta. Not a lot of disappointments on this club so far. Maybe the play of the team and Zatkoff Friday at Florida, if you are really looking for something.
Jackie: Who's been the biggest surprise/disappointment in the first 5 games to you?
Shelly Anderson: You guys asked essentially the same question. I'll add Chuck Kobasew, who arrived on a camp tryout, as a surprise, too.
Fred: What player is the toughest to deal with on the team?
Shelly Anderson: From an interview standpoint? Hockey players tend to be very cooperative, and the Penguins are no exception. Easy to deal with in just about every circumstance.
Shelly Anderson: OK, everyone. Thanks for joining us. We'll do it again next Monday.
First Published October 14, 2013 11:22 AM