Pens sign goalie, make roster moves

By Erik Johnson
The Pens made 2 huge steps today in finalizing their final roster for their opening games in Japan against the Nashville Predators

The most important step was coming to terms with expected #1 starting goalie Jean-Sebastian Aubin. Terms of the contract, which was reported between periods of the Pens/Avalanche exhibition game in Hershey, were not released.

The Pens also made a number of roster moves today that cut the roster to 24 players (one less than they will take to Japan). The 2 biggest surpises were the inclusion of forward Bill Tibbetts and defenseman Josef Melichar (the Pens #4 prospect) on the “final” roster.

Tibbetts certainly has gotten much press this camp so far, little concerning his play on the ice. And the beginning of camp showed that 3 years off the ice can be brutal with regards to your skills. But apparently, he made real strides as camp progressed and will likely fill a 4th line role with the Pens.

Melichar was expected to be sent to Wilkes-Barre at the beginning of camp, but beat out the more experienced Sven Butenschon for the final spot on the roster. By all accounts, Sven had an excellent camp, but Melichar simply beat him out. Butenschon will need to clear waivers before he is sent to Wilkes-Barre.

Also making the team was Calder Trophy candidate forward Milan Kraft. While Milan didn’t have as good of a camp as last year, he was good enough to garner a spot on the roster.

The following players will make the trip back to Pittsburgh tonight for their exhibition game vs Detroit at the Mellon Arena.

G: JS Aubin, Sebastian Caron, Rich Parent

D: Bob Boughner, Hans Jonsson, Darius Kasparaitis, Josef Melichar, Ian Moran, Michal Rozsival, Jiri Slegr

F: Matthew Barnaby, Josef Beranek, Rene Corbet, Jan Hrdina, Jaromir Jagr, Alexei Kovalev, Milan Kraft, Robert Lang, Aleksey Morozov, Roman Simicek, Martin Straka, Bill Tibbetts

Those assigned to Wilkes-Barre/Scranton include:

G: Craig Hillier, Joel Laing, Brant Nicklin, Mark Scally

D: Brendan Buckley, Sven Butenschon, Trent Cull, Andrew Ference, Chris Kelleher, Kevin Magnuson, Mark Moore, Chris Newans, Doug Schmidt, John Slaney, JP Soucy

F: Eric Bellerose, Greg Crozier, Jan Fadrny, Dylan Gyori, Quinn Hancock, Alexei Kolkunov, Tom Kostopoulos, Jason MacDonald, Alexandre Mathieu, Eric Meloche, Steve Parsons, Toby Peterson, Alexei Podalinski, Boris Protsenko, Joel Scherban, Martin Sonnenberg, Darcy Verot, Alexander Zevakhin