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Projecting Penguins Final Roster, Lines & Who Hits Waivers

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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 Puckpedia.com.

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.

Goalies:

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.

Subscribe to PHN+

Pittsburgh Hockey Now Editor-in-Chief, formerly 93.7 The Fan, Sportsnet Hockey Tonight, NHL Home Ice. Catch Dan tweeting @theDanKingerski and the official @pghhockeynow account.

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James
James
1 month ago

Count me as team Friedman. Let Ty Smith work on his D game for a while in the AHL. Have a conversation with Ty about how they value his game but because of the salary cap situation. I imagine the pens could make a trade at some point during the season and there will be injuries, so his time will come this season for sure.
I’d rather keep players and work out salary cap later to work them into the lineup when needed.

Vince Gori
Vince Gori
1 month ago
Reply to  James

Nope Smith stays. My preference would be to trade somebody out of Dumoulin, Pettersson, or Joseph. The first two would give Cap relief, the last would keep Ruhwedel and Friedman in town. I’m for moving one of the first two and POJ.

James
James
1 month ago
Reply to  Vince Gori

Well, I guess you were right. They just placed Friedman on waivers. Just need to get under that salary cap. I wonder if they will put PO joseph on waivers if Friedman clears.

Joe Cursi
Joe Cursi
1 month ago
Reply to  Vince Gori

I don’t think they can afford to lose any of the top 4 left d-men unless they get a quality left d-man in return. They can hide Smith on the gird pair while they work on his d-zone shortcomings.

Kris
Kris
1 month ago
Reply to  Joe Cursi

Pettersson and Kapanan to Arizona (along with our 1st and 3rd picks) for Chychrun. Let’s us keep 8 defenseman (23 man roster). Gives one of the young guys opportunity to come back up.
Heinen – Carter – Poehling
McGinn – Teddy – Archie
(call up Drew, Pusty – Poulin – Phil, heck reclaim zOharna and let him eat the nachos)
Dumoulin – Letang
Chychrun – Petry
Smith – Ratta
Joseph – Ruhwedel.
That’s dynamite. Zona gets another 1st round pick. Pettersson’s contract is the same length as Chychrun. This move gets us over $2million UNDER the cap)
Why not??

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Keith T.
Keith T.
1 month ago

Other teams know the Pens are between a rock & a hard place on their roster numbers on D. As much as it would be optimal to trade Joseph, it is very unlikely. In my fantasy world (it is fund to live there at times) I would like to move Kapanen & Joesph for a decent 3rd line winger. Or even pick up a nifty guy off waivers like Tyler Ennis or even Cody Eakin (I know he is a Center but he could play wing). Okay, I can wake up now…. but would love to see the Pens get… Read more »

Joe Cursi
Joe Cursi
1 month ago
Reply to  Keith T.

We have 5 nhl d-men and 4 others that I would feel comfortable however all have serious flaws in their games.

Joe Cursi
Joe Cursi
1 month ago

I think u nailed it however again losing Friedman or PU is not the end of the world. I am sure they can find another injury prone also ran or an AHL top 4 at best!

If Kappy will go to the net as often as he did in the Ranger series I am really liking our third line!

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[…] Hockey Now: Projecting the final roster and Pittsburgh Penguins […]

Rich Wagner
Rich Wagner
1 month ago

This seems like lazy thinking. The upside with Chad is minimal and he is 32 years old. Allocating a roster spot to a career 7th defenseman makes no sense when you have younger talent that can play at the same level (immediately) as Ruhwedel. The path seems obvious, if not to buy a few more weeks to figure it out completly. Waive Ruhwedel. If he does not clear waivers, it is what it is, losing him does not change the Penguins outlook for the season and it preserves younger talent. Move Ty Smith to the minors. Again, in a perfect… Read more »

Last edited 1 month ago by Rich Wagner