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Surprise Ending: Penguins Send Smith, Friedman to WBS, Get Cap-Compliant

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Ty Smith, Pittsburgh Penguins Training Camp 3

The Pittsburgh Penguins have come into compliance with the NHL’s $82.5 million salary-cap ceiling.

And they did it in a way that seemed unlikely just a few days ago.

Ty Smith, who was a fixture on the No. 3 defense pairing throughout the preseason, has been assigned to their farm team in Wilkes-Barre.

A key to the move: Smith, who did not play a game in the minors during his first two pro seasons, did not have to clear waivers to go there.

His $863.333 cap hit comes off their books while he is in the American Hockey League.

Per figures on CapFriiendly.com, when Smith’s cap hit and that of Mark Friedman ($775,000), who also has been sent to Wilkes-Barre, are removed from the mix, the Penguins have about $83,000 in cap space.

The deadline to become cap-compliant is 5 p.m. Monday, by which time NHL clubs also have to have no more than 23 players on their active NHL roster.

Smith’s demotion allowed the Penguins to avoid exposing P.O Joseph to waivers, where he almost certainly would have been claimed by another club.

Joseph was a depth defenseman throughout training camp, but it clearly was a priority to keep him in the Penguins’ pool of NHL-caliber players at this position.

It was not immediately known whether he will move into Smith’s old spot alongside Jan Rutta on the No. 3 pairing. The other candidate for that duty would be Chad Ruhwedel, who is right-handed.

The Pittsburgh Penguins will begin regular-season play Thursday at 7:08 p.m. against Arizona at PPG Paints Arena.

Here is what the Penguins’ 22-man roster, which includes 13 forwards, seven defensemen and two goaltenders, looks like now:

Forwards

Josh Archibald

Teddy Blueger

Jeff Carter

Sidney Crosby

Jake Guentzel

Danton Heinen

Kasperi Kapanen

Evgeni Malkin

Brock McGinn

Ryan Poehling

Rickard Rakell

Bryan Rust

Jason Zucker

Defensemen

Brian Dumoulin

P.O Joseph

Kris Letang

Jeff Petry

Marcus Pettersson

Chad Ruhwedel

Jan Rutta

Goalies

Casey DeSmith

Tristan Jarry

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Vince Gori
Vince Gori
1 month ago

Still hoping for a trade. Smith belongs with the Pens

Troy Garrah
Troy Garrah
1 month ago

Why was Zohorna not taken on the waiver wire, and assigned to WBS? He’s certainly good enough – I would prefer him in Pittsburgh.

HarkeyPuck
HarkeyPuck
1 month ago
Reply to  Troy Garrah

Think if the Pens claimed him he was safe as long as he was on the NHL roster, but he’d still have to clear waivers again to go to the minors.

If the worst was losing Zahorna to get under the cap, I’m ok with it.

Last edited 1 month ago by HarkeyPuck
Rob
Rob
1 month ago

That is a surprise for sure. It would have been prudent to give Joseph more reps with Rutta during preseason. I suspect that this was done to get below the cap until a trade is finalized and maybe a move is still in the works. Otherwise, the roster still looks solid with Joseph on the 3rd pair or as the 7th d with perhaps Ruhwedel playing his off side.

Ellen Jakub
Ellen Jakub
1 month ago

This is the correct move. Give it a week and someone will get hurt and Smith can get called up.

Jstripsky
Jstripsky
1 month ago

I doubt this will be the end of the year roster. I expect a trade will happen at some point, but at least Hextall won’t be dealing from the position of NEEDING to dump salary where he would have either gotten “Future Considerations” or bundling a draft pick.

Uros
Uros
1 month ago

Not really a suprise as a necessity and the only available solution. Yeah, there was this other things where you throw away assets like Vegas, but we’ve all seen how that goes. Of course, as others have already said, it’s not the final move of the season and we can survive without Smith until that time comes. Kind of naively hoping there won’t be so many injuries as customary.

Joe Cursi
Joe Cursi
1 month ago

PU!

Chris R
Chris R
1 month ago

Nice bait and switch with P.O.—Hextall had just about everyone fooled. Smart of him to wait until the last minute, when rosters are pretty much set, to put Friedman on waivers.

Rob
Rob
1 month ago
Reply to  Chris R

The more Hextall does, the more i like him. It pains me to say that because he will always be a Flyer in my eyes

Alan Smith
1 month ago
Reply to  Rob

Keep one of the best possible Cup contenders together and made great trades as well. Pens look solid as hell and still one of the best watches in the NHL!

Chris R
Chris R
1 month ago
Reply to  Rob

Yep. He just gained another level of respect.

Jcyyy
Jcyyy
1 month ago

Ty Smith will be up before the season opener, I am betting POJ gets traded by then.

Dave
Dave
1 month ago

How did you write this article and not come to the common sense answer? If they didn’t send down Smith, they’d have to waive POJ which means losing him. Earlier, no one wild trade for him because they knew they could get him off waivers. The Pens just solved that problem. Now they can trade POJ and actually get something, then bring Smith back up to the team. My guess is, his streak of not playing in the AHL continues and he’ll be back in Pittsburgh within the month.