Penguins notebook: Versatility not enough to keep Jeffrey in Pittsburgh

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Dustin Jeffrey's diverse skills made him a candidate to fill almost any forward opening, from top-six winger to fourth-line center, the Penguins had in recent years.

Jeffrey, though, never was able to make a permanent claim to any of those roles, and that cost him a regular spot in the lineup.

And ultimately, his place in the organization.

Jeffrey, a healthy scratch for 10 of the past 14 games, was claimed on waivers by Dallas Sunday. The Penguins likely would have assigned him to their minor league team in Wilkes-Barre if he hadn't been claimed.

Jeffrey was re-signed in the summer and, after seeming to have lost the confidence of the coaching staff the previous few seasons, dressed for the first six games of 2013-14.

He did not record a point and subsequently was held out of a half-dozen games before getting back in the lineup.

Jeffrey appeared in 10 games this season, recording one assist.

His career totals with the Penguins: 15 goals, 13 assists in 100 games.

Sill debuts in loss

Their 4-1 loss to New Jersey Saturday night at the Prudential Center was a game most of the Penguins would like to forget.

For Ryan Sill, however, it was one he never will forget.

Sill, 25, made his NHL debut against the Devils -- a career landmark that makes an enduring impression on almost every player.

He logged 9:10 of ice time, including more than a minute of penalty-killing work, and was credited with two hits before a crowd of 14,205 that included his parents, who flew in from Nova Scotia.

"The experience was great, finally getting up and getting a chance to play with these guys," Sill said. "It's been a long time coming."

Not their night

Losing to the Devils was the low point of the Penguins' night, but their luck didn't change when the game ended.

Problems with their charter flight from Newark to Pittsburgh forced them to fly home several hours later than expected, and team officials said they didn't touch down here until a little before 2 a.m. Sunday.

Selanne likes Maatta

Rookie defenseman Olli Maatta said he never has had an opportunity to meet Anaheim winger Teemu Selanne, one of the most celebrated players to come from Maatta's homeland of Finland.

Even so, it turns out that Selanne knows a bit about Maatta.

"It's a great, great, great story," Selanne said Sunday. "That's not a very typical path to come to the NHL, for Finnish guys. Usually, we just get drafted from Finland then come when you think you're ready.

"He came here, played in London [of the Ontario Hockey League] for a couple of years. I think it's a great story. I'm so happy he made the team. We [Finland] don't have so many defensemen in this league, so it's great to have a young guy coming like that."

Selanne also suggested that Maatta merits serious consideration for a spot on the Finnish Olympic team.

"Oh, yeah," he said. "I think so. If he can play in the NHL, he can play for [Finland]."

Ready to bust out?

The Penguins have lost four of their past five and generated just one goal in each of those defeats.

Their inability to score lately, Ducks coach Bruce Boudreau said, is serious cause for concern for his team.

"It's scares the crap out of me," Boudreau said. "They're about to break out. We just hope it's Wednesday against Washington and not [tonight] against us.

"To try to contain those guys on a regular basis is very difficult. They have had some misfortune. I've watched all their games. It's not like they're not controlling the game. They're just not scoring. That's the part that scares me."

Seth Rorabaugh contributed to this report. Dave Molinari: or Twitter @MolinariPG.

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