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Panic in Pittsburgh as Beau Bennett assigned to ECHL Wheeling Nailers

Beau Bennet of the Pittsburgh Penguins in the NHL playoffs. Promising winger Beau Bennett had a roster spot nailed down or did he? (Michael Tureski/Icon SMI)

By Allan Muir

All summer long, Pens fans have been picturing the greatness that lies ahead for Beau Bennett.

The 21-year-old winger won them over during his rookie season, scoring three goals and 14 points in 26 games, then elevated expectations while doing the dirty work for Evgeni Malkin and James Neal on the Pens' dynamic second line during the preseason. Fans were expecting big things from the kid. Big things.

And then Pittsburgh assigned him to the minors today. And not the AHL, either. He's headed to the Wheeling Nailers of the East Coast Hockey League.

But Bennett can put away his bags. And Pens fans can climb off the ledge.

"There's nothing for anyone to worry about," a league source said. "It's a paper move to keep Pittsburgh under the cap." Although she couldn't speak for the organization, the source said she expected the Penguins will create cap space tomorrow by moving players onto IR, which would allow Bennett to be recalled and back in the lineup in time for their season opener against New Jersey on Thursday night.

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