Forward Andrew Ebbett and defenseman Simon Despres have been re-assigned to Wilkes-Barre/Scranton of the American Hockey League (AHL); forward Beau Bennett has been re-assigned to the Wheeling Nailers of the ECHL; and defenseman Derrick Pouliot has been re-assigned to his junior team, the Portland Winterhawks of the Western Hockey League (WHL).
The Penguins have also placed defenseman Kris Letang and goaltender Tomas Vokoun on injured reserve and recalled defenseman Harrison Ruopp from Wilkes-Barre/Scranton.
Bennett fans, don't freak out just yet. These are likely just be moves designed to get the Penguins in a favorable salary cap situation for the start of the season. Remember when Tangradi was suddenly sent down right before the season a few years ago?
The amazing Mike Colligan explained more about the Pens' cap situation last week after the Vokoun injury news came out:
Tomas Vokoun carries a $2 million cap hit. If the Penguins have $1.5 million in cap space at the time of the LTIR designation, they are eligible for an extra $500k of relief. If they have $1 million in space, they get $1 million in relief. How about zero space? You guessed it — the full $2 million in cap relief. Therefore, Pittsburgh wants to be as close to the cap as possible before taking LTIR on Vokoun.
They could accomplish this through creative temporary swaps (as they did with Tangradi) as well as signing a new goalie or player such as Chuck Kobasew, who is currently with the Penguins on a tryout.
Our prediction? We don't know what we're talking about really, but we'd bet on Bennett returning to the NHL very soon.