The Penguins had a fairly eventful day in terms of personnel moves.
First, the team signed forward Tom Kostopoulos (above) to a one-year, two-way contract. After joining the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins on a professional tryout contract in January, Kostopoulos has appeared in 17 AHL games this season and scored seven points (four goals, three assists) while recording 43 penalty minutes. Per NHL rules, Kostopoulos was placed on waivers at noon. Provide he clears, is expected to be formally assigned to Wilke-Barre/Scranton
A seventh-round pick of the Penguins in 1999, Kostopoulos 34, spent the first three seasons of his NHL career in Pittsburgh. In 79 career games with the Penguins, Kostopoulos scored 26 points (10 goals, 16 assists) and recorded 76 penalty minutes.
Leaving as a free agent in the 2004 offseason, Kostopoulos (6-foot-0, 197 pounds) has since played for the Kings, Canadiens, Hurricanes and Flames. In 81 games with the Flames last season, Kostopoulos scored 12 points (four goals, eight assists) and had 57 penalty minutes.
Forward Zach Boychuk (right) was claimed off waivers by the Predators. In seven games with the Penguins this season, Boychuk, 23, had no points and two penalty minutes. The Penguins claimed Boychuk, a former first-round draft pick, off waivers from the Hurricanes in January.
Once Boychuk was removed from the roster, that allowed the Penguins to recall forward Beau Bennett from Wilkes-Barre/Scranton a day after he was demoted to the AHL. Bennett, 21, has appeared in eight NHL games this season and recorded three points (one goal, two assists).
-EN Says: While, none of these moves were unexpected. Kostopoulos is the most intriguing. Ths is a classic fourth-line grinder who will hit anything in a different jersey, willingly drop the gloves and chip in the occasional goal. In many ways, he's a classic Dan Bylsma type of player. His presence, even on a two-way contract, provides a little more organizational depth for the fourth line.
Boychuk was a low-risk experiment who was given ample opportunity to produce on the team's second line with Evgeni Malkin and James Neal. It just didn't work out. That doesn't mean Ray Shero should not have kicked his tires. Boychuk is a former first-round pick with a history of producing at the AHL level. He just hasn't had things click at the NHL level despite playing with talents such as Malkin or Carolina's Eric Staal. The Predators have had some issues scoring goals this season. Adding Boychuk makes sense for them, even if its just for an experimental basis.
Bennett's demotion and recall was purely a paper transaction. With Malkin being activated from injured reserve and Boychuk still technically being part of the roster while being on waivers yesterday, the Penguins needed to get their roster down to 23 players for 24 hours. With Bennett in the first year of his entry-level contract, the Penguins didn't have to expose him to waivers to move him between the NHL and AHL.
The Penguins used Bennett primarily on the left wing with Malkin and Neal on the team's second line today at practice. After practice, Dan Bylsma was fairly blunt in expressing how Bennett will be used in the near future:
Bylsma, on playing Beau Bennett with Malkin and Neal: "That’s the line he is going to play with. And yes, all three periods.”— Dave Molinari (@MolinariPG) March 5, 2013
n the short term, Bennett has shown he can withstand the physical rigors of the NHL after eight games. But keep in mind this is still his first professional season and he's coming off a significant wrist injury suffered last season at the University of Denver. Where will he be physically after 20 or 25 games?
(Photo: Kostopoulos-Rick Stewart/Getty Images; Boychuk-Justin K. Aller/Getty Images)