Last year’s lockout produced a shortened 2013 NHL regular season, but it also constricted the offseason. While it’s only been 10 weeks since the Chicago Blackhawks raised the Stanley Cup at Boston’s TD Garden, training camps are ready to begin in anticipation of the 2013-14 campaign.
The Pittsburgh Penguins are no exception, as most of their players are already in western Pennsylvania in advance of Wednesday’s camp start date. Coach Dan Bylsma and his staff will conduct the team’s first practice Thursday, and sessions will be split between Consol Energy Center and the Iceoplex at Southpointe, as usual.
After the Penguins’ participation in a rookie tournament last weekend, they have released their 54-man initial training camp roster. That group consists of 30 forwards, 18 defensemen and six goalies, although only about 30 total players have a legitimate chance of starting the season in Pittsburgh.
Just one 2013 draft pick – second-round netminder Tristan Jarry – has been invited to participate. As expected, the 2012 class is represented more fully with five players, headlined by twin first-round defensemen Derrick Pouliot (eighth overall) and Olli Maatta (22nd).
Speaking of homegrown talent, recent first-rounders Beau Bennett (2010) and Simon Despres (2009) have much at stake in the upcoming month. Each played significant minutes near the end of the 2013 regular season and playoffs, but the impressions they make at camp figure to have great impact on whether they continue to climb the depth chart.
Also of interest, returning defenseman Rob Scuderi will don a skating penguin on his chest for the first time in four years, and diminutive forward Chris Conner is back in Pittsburgh where he enjoyed his best NHL season in 2010-11.
For the complete roster, click here.