The Pittsburgh Penguins added some depth on their blue line on Wednesday, and it was GM Ron Hextall snagging one of his former players. The Penguins claimed depth defenseman Mark Friedman off waivers Wednesday at noon, according to Sportsnet.
Friedman, 25, has played 11 NHL games over the past three years but has registered just one NHL assist.
In 186 AHL games, Friedman has 61 points (10g, 51) and 116 penalty minutes.
The former Bowling Green defender was thought to be organizational depth in Philadelphia, but our colleagues at PhillyHockeyNow.com tell PHN that Friedman broke through perceptions and earned NHL ice time. Some in Philadelphia even wondered if he deserved more opportunity in the NHL as a sixth or seventh d-man.
The book on Friedman includes being undersized at 5-foot-11, 185 pounds but also being feisty.
Friedman was part of Ron Hextall’s first draft class in 2014 as GM of the Philadelphia Flyers, who picked Friedman in the third round. He played three full seasons with the Lehigh Valley Phantoms and 11 NHL games.
Penguins defenseman Kris Letang missed half of the third period on Tuesday night in the Pittsburgh Penguins 3-2 OT win over the Washington Capitals. After the game, head coach Mike Sullivan admitted Letang was dealing with an injury. Letang did play in the overtime period.
Chad Ruhwedel is currently the Penguins spare RHD, and his job does not appear in jeopardy. Yannick Weber is also an RHD. Earlier this week, the Penguins demoted Weber and lefty defenseman Kevin Czuczman. The team placed Weber on the taxi squad, while the organization sent Czuczman to the AHL.
As of writing, the Penguins have not yet confirmed their plans for Friedman, but he would have to clear waivers to be placed on the taxi squad or in the AHL.
According to CapFriendly.com, Friedman is on a two-year NHL contract which expires after next season. He carries a $725,000 cap hit and will be an RFA at its conclusion.
UPDATE: The Penguins said Friedman will join the team in time for their 7 p.m. game against Washington on Thursday.