Pens Roundup: 9/24/13
Following Tuesday afternoon’s re-assignment of Tom Kuhnhackl to Wilkes-Barre/Scranton, the Pittsburgh Penguins have 18 forwards left on their training camp roster.
Head coach Dan Bylsma noted that there are still roster battles on the third and fourth lines. One player that’s been making a strong case for himself, particularly as the team’s fourth-line center, is Dustin Jeffrey.
“He will be in contention for a center position on the fourth line,” Bylsma said of Jeffrey. “He can go into a game as the fourth-line center, play on the power play and penalty kill. He’s done that in training camp. He’s done that pretty well with the opportunity that he’s been given.”
“I think it’s going pretty well,” Jeffrey said of camp. “As we’ve gotten more and more towards our lineup, the situations your put in have changed a little bit. Moving forward I have to keep taking advantages of the opportunities that are given to me.”
In four preseason games this year, Jeffrey, 25, has one power-play goal and three points. He’s been particularly affective with his special teams play – appearing on the point on the man-advantage and also killing penalties.
“He had a good opportunity on the power play. Showed his versatility as a player,” Bylsma said. “He’s a guy who can play center, add skill and smarts, play on the power play, the point, halfwall, different positions. He can play a penalty kill role and faceoffs.”
Jeffrey is possibly the most versatile player on the Penguins’ roster (Jussi Jokinen is another good contender). Jeffrey can play center, either wing position, on any of the four lines, power play, penalty kill and win big faceoffs – he was 10-1 in Monday’s 3-2 shootout win against Chicago.
Most importantly, Jeffrey will do whatever he has to do for the team.
“You just have to do what the coaches ask,” Jeffrey said. “It’s not really my call what position I’m playing on what night. For me it’s just whatever is asked of me that game I try to bring.”
Notes: Paul Martin was not at Tuesday’s practice. He has a “family situation” and returned to Minnesota … Matt D’Agostini (lower-body injury) is listed as day-to-day and Bylsma doesn’t expect it to be a long-term injury … Tom Kuhnhackl skated vigorously Tuesday morning. It was his second workout and he’s been re-assigned to WBS … Brian Dumoulin is still out with an upper-body injury and remains on a 7-10 day timeline … The Penguins are expected to make roster cuts following Wednesday’s game in Detroit. The roster currently has 32 players (18 forwards; 11 defensemen; 3 goalies). Bylsma expects the team to carry 15 forwards and eight defensemen with them this weekend to West Point.