|Could Simon Despres be on his way back to the AHL?|
- Nick Petersen was called up from Wheeling (ECHL) and re-assigned to Wilkes-Barre/Scranton (AHL). After missing time in the WBS lineup, Petersen was sent down to get back in rare form and regain his scoring touch during the AHL All-Star break. It's safe to say that after nine points (4G-5A) in seven games, including three points (1G-2A) in his first game and at least one point in all but one game, that Petersen is ready to test the AHL waters. It's possible that Petersen could slot right into a top six spot and I'll explain why.
- Jason Williams was called up to Pittsburgh today as well, and made it to Montreal to register 12:01 of ice time, including 2:21 of power play time in Pittsburgh's 3-2 shootout loss tonight. The Williams call up was made possible because Aron Asham was placed on the injured reserve (IR).
Now for some injury updates directly affecting the AHL Penguins:
- At WBS practice, Carl Sneep (lower body) didn't skate and is expected to miss this weekend's games.
- Alexandre Picard (upper body), who has been out of the lineup since, skated again in a red no-contact jersey and is day-to-day. He could play this weekend.
- Boris Valabik (hand) is skating but is not close to returning and is "still a ways away" according to head coach John Hynes.
- Eric Tangradi (back) practiced today and is day-to-day after being a late scratch last Friday and sparking trade rumors.
- In Pittsburgh, both Jordan Staal and Simon Despres have returned to practicing with the team and head coach Dan Bylsma gave both players a 5 to 10 day timetable before they are ready to play.
- Once those two are removed from the injured reserve (IR), two players will need to be sent down. With 8 defensemen on the NHL roster and Despres able to bypass waivers, he would be a likely candidate. Then one or both of Colin McDonald and Jason Williams would be on their way to Wilkes- Barre too.
- Healthy forwards (13) - Nick Petersen, Brian Gibbons, Ben Street, Zach Sill, Cody Chupp*, Geoff Walker, Bryan Lerg, Ryan Craig, Matt Rust, Brandon DeFazio, Steve MacIntyre, Paul Thompson and Ryan Schnell*
- Injured forwards (2) - Eric Tangradi = day-to-day (back) and Keven Veilleux = out for season (knee)
- Healthy defensemen (6) - Joey Mormina, Philip Samuelsson*, Cody Wild*, Brian Strait, Robert Bortuzzo, and Alex Grant
- Injured defensemen (3) - Alexandre Picard = day-to-day (upper body), Carl Sneep (lower body) and Boris Valabik = out long term (hand)
- Goalies (2) - Brad Thiessen and Scott Munroe
- Simon Despres and a forward to be named (McDonald or Williams most likely) could be sent down to Wilkes-Barre before the Penguins next game this weekend which is Saturday.
- With Alexandre Picard nearing a return, adding both defensemen to the lineup gives WBS eight healthy guys on the blue line. I think a demotion to Wheeling could be in the cards for one or both of Philip Sameulsson or Cody Wild before the end of February if everything goes right.
- With respect to forwards, once Tangradi is ready to go and a forward or two comes from Pittsburgh within a week or so, Cody Chupp and Ryan Schnell will probably be returned to Wheeling.
Stay tuned, with the trade deadline coming at the end of the month business will surely be picking up as we head down the stretch run.