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Projecting Penguins Final Roster, Lines & Who Hits Waivers



Pittsburgh Penguins, Ty Smith

The NHL salary cap will be a blessing in disguise for at least one Pittsburgh Penguins defenseman. The team cannot afford eight defenders, and though one of their nine is still eligible to be sent to the AHL, it does not appear the Penguins will go that route.

After a preseason in which Ty Smith played with Jan Rutta, P.O Joseph slotted around the lineup, and Mark Friedman played sparingly, the Penguins got a good look at Smith.

There was a lot to like.

And there should be some defensive concerns about Smith, too.

If a surprise looms before the Monday 5 p.m. deadline, it will be if Smith isn’t on the NHL roster. Such a move would allow the Penguins to keep two of three defenders, though only one on the NHL roster.

If the Penguins put Joseph and Friedman on waivers, they will slip just under the NHL salary cap by $44,000, according to

Projecting Pittsburgh Penguins Lines:

Jake Guentzel – Sidney Crosby – Rickard Rakell

Jason Zucker – Evgeni Malkin – Bryan Rust

Danton Heinen – Jeff Carter – Kasperi Kapanen

Brock McGinn – Teddy Blueger – Josh Archibald

13th: Ryan Poehling

Analysis: There’s been much to like about Poehling in the preseason. He provides the Penguins real depth at center. Archibald will be judged not by his goal output but by his penalty killing.

Kapanen is another fulcrum of the Penguins’ lineup. If he performs well, the top nine will be a force. If he doesn’t, there will be a significant hole, and the Penguins won’t have the money to fix it without trading away additional salary.

If you don’t know what you’re getting with the Penguins top-six, you must be new here?

Projecting the Penguins Defense:

Brian Dumoulin – Kris Letang

Macus Pettersson – Jeff Petry

Ty Smith – Jan Rutta

7th D: Chad Ruhwedel

Analysis: The Penguins could go a couple of ways. PHN advocated for Mark Friedman to get the sixth spot and Smith to go to the WBS Penguins to work on his defensive game. Such a move would preserve the Penguins eight-defensemen pool, though Joseph would be the odd man out.

Ruhwedel is probably the “least” talented of the nine, but he’s the most trustworthy, steady and able to play after weeks of inactivity. The Penguins greatly value those skills.

Should the Pittsburgh Penguins keep Smith in the NHL, both Friedman and Joseph must go on waivers to make the salary cap numbers fit. They will surely lose both, and be down to seven NHL-quality defensemen. There is not another NHL quality defender in the Penguins org.

The best six vs. depth.

That is the Penguins choice, as the team sits at time of publishing.

Joseph performed admirably on Friday against the Sabres. He flashed the ceiling of his potential with a solid game, which must give the team pause to putting him on waivers. However, Smith scored a goal and assist.

For a detailed breakdown of the pair and their game, read the PHN+ analysis of the Penguins defensemen.


Tristan Jarry

Casey DeSmith

Analysis: The Penguins net is deep. Beyond the top two, Dustin Tokarski is available as a third goalie and Filip Lindberg should get plenty of time in the AHL. Lindberg, 23, is an intriguing prospect who played only seven AHL games last season before a severe ankle injury required surgery. Lindberg wasn’t yet ready for full participation in the July prospects camp.

2020 second-round pick Joel Blomqvist was kept in Finland to alleviate overcrowding.