Roster Breakdowns

09-29-2003, 04:45 AM
With the preseason wrapped up, let the personnel decisions begin!

The way I see it:

--Before camp, basically 14 players were assured a spot on the roster, be it by performance, contract or owning the team. Those that are sure-fire bets to be with the team on opening night (barring an unforseen trade). No matter how you look at it, the following are no-brainers: <Lemieux, Morozov, Straka, Holzinger, Eastwood, Buchberger, McKenna, Fata, Abid, Tarnstrom, Berehowsky, Bergevin, Rosizval, and Caron

**I discluded Melichar totally, because I'm not counting on him. If he does recover and stays healthy, this slightly throws off the roster, but not too much.**

Roster total: 9 forwards, 4 defencemen, 1 goalie


This next group of players are in, albeit with an asterisk. I would consider these players to make the roster unless someone in CP's war-room specifically objected, for some unforseen reason. These players are as follows:
Matt Bradley --I don't see why he wouldn't be on the roster, but I don't want to say he's an absolute shoo-in. Bradley's combonation of youth, speed, grit and promise seem to make him the prototypical 2003-2004 version of a Penguin.
Marc-Andre Fleury --Raised his status with his September performance. The only question is if the Pens can get his signature on a legal document. For the purposes of finding the best 23 players, I'm going to omit finances and go with who gives the Pens the best option. And throughout camp, it had to be Fleury.
Konstantin Koltsov --We all knew he had great wheels, but netting a hat trick with your first full game with Mario Lemieux will instantly boost your standings. I had Koltsov as a bubble player coming into camp, but I think he has raised his level of play. Plus with the combonation of grit/speed he makes an ideal Edzo forechecker and penalty killer.
Brooks Orpik--The coaching staff wasn't bowled over by Orpik's camp this year, but he was coming off a knee injury early on and seemed to improve. Ultimately the roster is a numbers game and I think Orpik has the defensive depth numbers in his favor to make the roster.
Dan Focht --Similiar situation with Orpik, where there's a former 1st round pick a little slow to develop, had an injury early in camp but seemed to improve his play as time went on. Focht can put a decent low shot on the net, if it comes to that and has a big body to throw around. In my opinion he's the 6th defenceman on this team (7th if Melichar returns).

Roster total (Assuming all players named above are, as expected, left on the team): 11 forwards, 6 defencemen, 2 goalies...19 total

--These are the players that have real concern. Out of these 11 players that I'll list 'on the bubble' only a maximum of 4 will be on the Pittsburgh roster opening night. Each bubble player has a question that needs to be answered, which is why they're on the bubble. Only the strongest, most confident answers will move onto the Pittsburgh roster.

Eric Meloche --He's 27 years old. He has heart, grit and always puts in the honest effort. Meloche, as he usually does, had an above average camp because he worked for it. But has he stood out against some of the younger prospects?
Ross Lupaschuk --Shown signs of improvement. Still gives the puck away too much, which invariably end up in his own net, see last night's Blue Jacket game. Is Lupaschuk, who's been brilliant offensively, ready for the NHL even though he's still shown signs of irresponsibly defensively?
Kris Beech --Stronger on the puck this year, but still a step too slow. Decent performer in camp and Edzo seems to be pleased by Beech's play. I think the real question is: will Beech get enough minutes in Pittsburgh or would his development be better of carrying a larger load of responsibility (and icetime) in Wilkes-Barre?
Milan Kraft --23 years old. Can't pass safely through to the AHL anymore. Has shown flashes of brillance at the NHL level, including during this camp. But also has been far too quiet and mistake prone at times. This team badly need him to step it up a notch, and in my opinion, Kraft has disappointed again. Will the coaches keep Kraft around and bank that he can finally put it all together? Or is this the end of the line here in this organization for him?
Tom Kostopolous --He's basically in the same boat as Meloche, the older, more minor league tested player that shows heart and can occasionally produce a goal, which always comes more from hard work than pure skill. Edzo has had many good things to say about TK, but will the guy finally be able to make the jump to the NHL? And if he still can't this year, how much longer will he be around?
Colby Armstrong --Disappointed a lot of fans by his production last year, even though he was just 19/20 years old in his first pro year and didn't see eye-to-eye with the coach. Armstrong was impressive in camp this year, but did he stand out enough to stick right away in Pittsburgh? I think he will get a look sometime during the year, but the way the numbers are working out, it's going to be difficult for him to stay.
Ryan Malone --Emerged as a true power forward prospect. Again, with the numbers situation it will be hard for him to stick right off the bat, but Malone has shown a lot of promise heading into his first year professionally and has established some chemistry with Colby Armstrong.
Matt Murley --Had a good camp and some moves down low, but again, the numbers are very tough and he didn't stand out really that much to distingush himself as NHL ready. Or did he?
Jean-Sebastien Aubin --Marc-Andre Fleury's emergence as the clear cut goalie of the future has pushed Sebass, again, to the bubble. If CP can't work out a deal, or the Pens feel it's better for Fleury to go back to Juniors and the WJC, Aubin will make the Pens. If not, he'll almost certainly be to the brink of the organization again.
Patrick Boileau --Was decent to above-average in camp. Could stick as a 7th defenceman. This is going to be a judgment call of the braintrust, because Boileau literally could go either way, at this point. I would start Boileau out in Pittsburgh, if it's adjudged that Melichar isn't going to be able to hack it and will miss more time with the forever injured shoulder.
Robert Scuderi --Again, lower end of the bubble, but Scuds was pretty solid and could be a decent injury callup. He doesn't have much of a chance of making it, but at least he made the bubble.

This is just personal opinion, but I'd take Meloche, Beech and Kraft. The only reason I'm taking Kraft is to not expose him to favors, just another chance to show he deserves it. Beech, I think, could get decent linemates and decent ice. The rest are jettisoned for now, but I think it's a safe bet that a lot of the bubble players will be playing in a Pittsburgh jersey at some point in the year.

Safe bets for elimination
Reid Simpson --Showed he can be useful for a callup or two, when the Pens will need an extra enforcer (like against Philly, NYR, etc) but other than that, nothing.
David Koci --How he got this far is beyond me. I guess hopefully he'll catch on in Wilkes-Barre and improve under Thierren.
Andy Chiodo --Was decent in camp. Is still young, so there's no telling what he could become.
Martin Brochu --Depth. Thierren loves this guy too. Don't be surprised to see him get a lot of action in Wilkes-Barre.

So my roster:

Forwards- Lemieux, Morozov, Straka, Holzinger, Eastwood, Buchberger, McKenna, Fata, Abid, Bradley, Koltsov, Beech, Meloche, Kraft...14 total

Defence- Tarnstrom, Berehowsky, Rosizval, Bergevin, Focht, Orpik and Melichar (or Boileau if he can't go)...7 total

Goalers- Caron and Fleury

**That's a full 23 man roster. It has scratchable vets (Eastwood, Holzinger, Buchberger), a forward/defence swingman Steve 'Ian Moran v. 2003' McKenna, and a lot of youth. But also a lot of speed, size and heart. It gives me a little more optomism than the last two seasons, anyways. Feel free to use mine as a blueprint and please feel free to let me know what you think.

09-29-2003, 08:35 AM
I dont know what everyone's opinion is, but I don't want to loose Kostopoulos in the Waiver Draft. He has won a roster spot from his hard work. He is our best agitator out there, and he deserves a spot no matter what. He deserves it more then Bradley, McKenna, Buchberger, Eastwood, Simpson and Holzinger. So it's hard to see people saying that he's on the booble, because he's one of our best in camp so far. He should be on the team IMO, he brings heart 1st of all.

The Tang
09-29-2003, 09:30 AM
nice assesment. i agree with almost everything you said actually. the only difference i would have is to use Murley and Malone over meloche and Beech. i say this because Murley and Malone have showed more scoring prowess during camp, and we'll need all that we can get. plus, by no means have they been pushovers when it comes to being physical. they worked hard to stay on the roster, and i think they will do the same to stay there. kraft will stay up, give him one more chance. if not, deal him away or throw him on waivers.

09-29-2003, 02:25 PM
I agree with most of the comments here. Edzo has gone out of his way to sing Kostopoulos' praises, so am thinking he has possibly sneaked into the mix on the 4th line. His gritty style will definitely fit the mold of the type of team Edzo plans on fielding.

Here's my final lineups


Scratches - McKenna, Holzinger


7th D man - Melichar (til healthy and he replaces Bergevin)


WB Callups:
Forwards: Surovy, Sivek, Meloche (depending on situations)
Defensemen: Boileau, Lupaschuk, Scuderi

Btw...I dont feel Abid has shone in camp. However, I feel the type of play he can bring is needed, and I feel he had a slow beginning. The holdout didnt help him much. I feel Abid will show something this year.

09-29-2003, 06:31 PM
I dont know what everyone's opinion is, but I don't want to loose Kostopoulos in the Waiver Draft. He has won a roster spot from his hard work. He is our best agitator out there, and he deserves a spot no matter what.

Players like TK are a dime a dozen. What can Kostopolous bring that Meloche and Bradley can't? And Meloche and Bradley are better skaters. You may be right, the Penguins may pick TK to stay, but I don't think he absolutely has a roster spot locked down.

09-30-2003, 05:29 AM
Seriously though, how unoriginal can you be?

Did you have to mispell Doofus AND throw the L in there?