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Fox Chapel's Bill Thomas earns Penguins' roster spot

STOCKHOLM, Sweden -- The Penguins will have a Pittsburgher on their roster after all.

Right wing Bill Thomas, a graduate of Fox Chapel High School, secured a roster spot today along with rookie forward Paul Bissonnette. The Penguins' roster for two weekend games against Ottawa at Globe Arena is set at 24.

Left wing Janne Pesonen, signed over the summer as a free-agent from Finland, was assigned to AHL affiliate Wilkes-Barre/Scranton. He will remain in Stockholm with the Penguins and report to the AHL Penguins upon their return to the United States next week.

Pesonen, 26, does not need to clear waivers. His is a two-way contract, as dictated by the collective bargaining agreement.

Thomas, 25, signed with his hometown team July 15, 2008. He was considered a long-shot to make the Penguins. But he quickly won the favor of coach Michel Therrien, who praised his worth ethic and attitude.

Thomas' previous NHL experience is nine games, all with Phoenix. He is expected to play against the Senators today if right wing Petr Sykora (sore groin) is forced to miss the contest.

With Thomas on the roster, the Penguins will have a Pittsburgh-area native on the roster for a fifth consecutive season. Left wing Ryan Malone, traded over the summer to Tampa Bay, debuted with the Penguins during the 2003-04 season. Malone attended Upper St. Clair High School.

Bissonnette, 23, intrigued Penguins' coaches due to his ability to play at forward and on defense. He has worked exclusively at forward during camp.

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