Changes were swift, and question marks loomed. The Pittsburgh Penguins made significant changes to the defensive corps over the summer. Trades, a free agent signing, and a prospect on his last chance created the biggest training camp battle the Penguins have had in several years.
Also, consider that Marcus Pettersson admittedly didn’t have a good season in 2021-22, and the Penguins’ blue line had more question marks than Edward E. Nigma’s green suit.
Arriving in the Penguins’ locker room were Jan Rutta and Jeff Petry, a pair of very different right-handed defensemen. And battling for the one open spot were under-23 lefty defensemen P.O Joseph and newly acquired Ty Smith.
It was a lot of moving parts and more than a little uncertainty on the Penguins’ backside for associate coach Todd Reirden and head coach Mike Sullivan to sort out.
“Going into a season year, you think things are going to go a certain way, and you’re hoping they will go a certain way,” said Rierden. “And unfortunately, it doesn’t go as you’ve often drawn it up all summer long.