With the regular season less than two weeks away, the Utah Grizzlies moved closer to finalizing their roster for the 1998-99 campaign on Monday. A dozen players were cut from the roster.

The defensemen let go included Taj Shaffnit, Jan Kobezda and Ryan Root. The forwards no longer with the Grizz are Chris Low, Ryan Black, Dave Whitworth, Tyler Rice, Mike Hurley, Lars Pettersen, Bogden Rudenko and Pavel Smirnov. The 12th player released was goaltender Nathan Grobins.The news was better for Mike Peluso, who was signed by the Grizz by coach/general manager Butch Goring. Peluso, a right wing, recently completed his collegiate career at the University of Minnesota-Duluth where he had 24 goals, 21 assists and 100 penalty minutes in 40 games as a senior.

The Grizzlies now have 24 players on their roster. Among the survivors is Marty Johnston, the shortest (5-foot-8) and youngest player in camp. Johnston, a left winger, scored in both exhibition games over the weekend in Boise and in the team's formal scrimmage last Friday night in West Valley City.

Utah's first exhibition game in the state will be Wednesday night at 7 p.m., with the Grizz playing the Long Beach Ice Dogs at the Ogden Ice Sheet.