Penguins Revamped Blueline
Another off-season has pretty much passed with the Penguins punting on getting heavier at the forward position, a glaring issue that has popped up for a number of years now in the postseason. Led by the playing style under Mike Sullivan, management and the coach have remained on the same page.
They’re believers in Josh Archibald types than a bigger, slow footed player like a Pat Maroon for example.
Where both sides deemed the best course of action to getting bigger was on the blueline which saw the upheaval in acquiring Jeff Petry via trade and signing Jan Rutta on the first day of free agency.
The Penguins internal grades (various factors are weighed) on defense last season broke down like this, according to multiple team sources.
1. Kris Letang
2. Mike Matheson (Traded to Montreal)
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— Lots of Trade Interest in Chad Ruhwedel
Chad Ruhwedel finally locked down a No. 3 pairing role last season and will now see it vanish away barring injury as Letang, Petry and Rutta are penciled in on the right side, pushing Ruhwedel out.
Pittsburgh has a potential log jam on defense and the most popular player the Penguins are getting calls on for about a month now is Chad Ruhwedel. One team at the forefront is the BTo read this insider news, subscribe to get “Inside Access”!.
— Team Officials View Ty Smith as Wildcard in Camp–
Log Jam on D?
LD Brian Dumoulin – RD Kris Letang
LD Marcus Pettersson – RD Jeff Petry
LD ? – RD Jan Rutta
In the Mix
Chad Ruhwedel (RHD)
Mark Friedman (RHD)
Ty Smith (LHD, Eligible for Waivers)
PO Joseph (LHD)
Five of Pittsburgh best seven D on the roster are right handed defensemen. Coaches, though, despise playing d-men on their off side for long periods as they become vulnerable against efficient forechecks in retrieving pucks.
There’s enough of a sample size that the organization doesn’t think highly of PO Joseph. What he has going for him is that he’s left handed and eligible for waivers. We’re at the point where Joseph deserves a 20 game look as the third pair left D. Whether it happens remains to be seen.
The player viewed as the wildcard in camp is Ty Smith, acquiring in the John Marino trade. Multiple sources say Mike Sullivan was heavily involved in the John Marino trade talks and of the young players discussed as a possible return, [hide] Sullivan pushed for Smith and he’s been a player that’s caught his attention in the past. A source said Sullivan see’s Mike Matheson type skill set in Smith.