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Roster Analysis: Penguins Trim Team to 45

The Pittsburgh Penguins reduced the size of their roster to 45 players.

The Pittsburgh Penguins took the next step in getting their roster down to the required 23 man roster. The Penguins sent nine players down to Wilkes-Barre, reducing the roster from 54 to 45 players. The roster currently sits at 26 forwards, 15 defenseman, and 4 goalies. 

Who was sent down? 

There were no surprises in the players the Penguins decided to release from the main camp roster. Still, there are several prospects to keep tabs on throughout the season. Most notable of which is forward, Lukas Svejkovsky. The fourth round pick in the 2020 draft is making his professional debut after a monstrous season in WHL. Coming off of a career high, 76 point campaign, Svejkovsky adds another scoring prospect to the Penguin's very bare pool of prospects. Another notable player sent down was forward Jordan Frasca. The undrafted center signed with the Penguins this past spring, after he also lit up his junior league. He tallied 42 goals and 87 points, which caught the Penguin's and league's attention. Both of these forwards will be looking to transition their games from junior to professional, and could become key additions to the pipeline depending on how they progress.

Where the roster stands

Currently at 45 players, the Penguins will have to reduce their roster by another 22 players before their first regular season game. The easiest decisions will involve the goaltending position. With four on the roster, the remaining pair of Filip Lindberg and Dustin Tokarski will be sent to Wilkes-Barre. 

On defense, there are several young players who are being given extended looks. First of which are 2022 draft picks, Owen Pickering and Nolan Collins. Pickering, the first round pick for the Penguins, has been rehabbing an injury that caused him to miss rookie camp and the start of training camp. The Penguins want to give him as much time with NHL coaching staff and established players as possible to show him the ropes. Hopefully he will get the chance to skate in one of the remaining preseason games before being returned to his junior team. Nolan Collins similarly will get as much time as possible in the NHL camp before being returned to juniors. 

Up front on offense, the remaining 26 players on the roster are split evenly into NHL and AHL players. There are several players on the bubble, however, that are pushing for NHL roster spots. Players like Radim Zohorna and Drew O'Connor specifically, are gunning for bottom six spots in the Penguins' lineup. 

With three more preseason games, the Penguins are giving more chances for their younger players to impress the coaching staff and management. The veterans will see time in one more preseason game to as a tune-up for the season, but expect to see Coach Sullivan deploy a younger, less experienced lineup in their remaining preseason games as the roster gets trimmed dow 

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