It looks like the Pittsburgh Penguins depth at the blue line could be tested in the coming days. With Kris Letang already out for a ‘couple of weeks’, former first-round pick Derrick Pouliot was recalled to take his spot in the lineup.
Now they may have to dig a little bit deeper after suffering two more injuries against the Los Angeles Kings. Brian Dumoulin, who was struck in the face with a puck, was able to return to the game but Trevor Daley’s is up in the air for Saturday’s contest against the Toronto Maple Leafs.
Daley never returned to the bench after the second intermission and is now considered day-to-day.
If the veteran is unable to go, the Penguins will have to once again dig down and find another filler, and they will have to do so quick with a game the next day.
A look at some of the options that Pittsburgh have to choose from.
He might be the most obvious, and easiest solution to this question. If Daley is to miss Saturday’s game, they could just simply dress Olesky, who has been serving as the team’s seventh defenseman for quite some time now.
The 30-year-old veteran has dressed in a single game this season for Pittsburgh, playing against the New Jersey Devils on November 26 – notching an assist in 11:06 of ice-time.
Oleksy is your typical journeyman, playing in the ECHL, IHL, and AHL since turning pro after playing college hockey at Lake Superior State University. Known more for his physical play as opposed to his skating and offensive abilities, Oleksy has three separate seasons where he logged over 100 penalty minutes.
He has played in just 63 games in his NHL career, registering 20 points (3 G, 17 A) and 88 penalty minutes. If he should play, this will be the first time he has played in multiple NHL games in the same season since the 2013-2014 campaign when he was with the Washington Capitals.
A former first-round pick of the Maple Leafs, Percy signed with the Penguins this past offseason. All though he has only played in 11 games this season for Wilkes-Barre Scranton, he by far fits what the Penguins do systematically as opposed to Olesky.
The 25th overall pick back in 2011, Percy has only played in 12 games at the NHL level, but the change of scenery, and the fact that he is still only 23, there was hopes he could finally come into his own.
He may not be the ideal move to make, as Oleksy is already on the NHL roster, and we aren’t even sure how long Daley is out for but Percy could be an interesting candidate should the timeframe expand.
Like Oleksy, this is Warsofsky’s second year in the Penguins’ organization. He has played in 16 games total – four this year, 12 the season before – before being claimed by the Devils when Pittsburgh put him on waivers.
All though he has only registered five points (2 G, 3 A) in his 36 games at the NHL level, Warsofsky has shown the capability to be a point producer at the minor league level. This season he has registered 15 points in 17 games thus far with Wilkes-Barre Scranton.
In The End
While it is sometimes nice to speculate who may or may not get the call as the ‘next man up’, Pittsburgh’s current roster construction limits what they can do. It would take Daley being out for longer than a game or two for them to really be able to make a move to get one of the other two names on the list.