Just another day in the Pittsburgh Penguins world. In comes Sidney Crosby and Jeff Carter on Saturday, out goes Chad Ruhwedel and Marcus Pettersson on Sunday. Up comes top prospect defenseman P.O. Joseph.
The Penguins announced that Pettersson and Ruhwedel had entered the NHL COVID protocol. As a result, the team recalled Joseph on Sunday evening.
Joseph, 22, has helped the WBS Penguins to a 5-1-0-1 record this season. In six games, Joseph has three assists. He leads the WBS Penguins in scoring.
The 6-foot-2, 185-pound defenseman has 16 games of NHL experience, with one goal, four assists, and five points.
Breakthrough COVID infections have rocked the Pittsburgh Penguins blue line. Kris Letang remains out and is symptomatic. Juuso Riikola was recalled last week and played ahead of Mark Friedman on Saturday.
After an admittedly rough season in 2020-21, Pettersson has been significantly more aggressive this season. In eight games, he already amassed four points (1-3-4).
Ruhwedel has averaged just over 15 minutes of ice time per game. It is the first time in his 10-year-career that he began an NHL season as a regular starter.
Pettersson is a left-defenseman, and Joseph plays on the left. Coaches declined to move Joseph to the right side in training camp when the team searched for additional d-men to play on the right. Friedman will likely sub for Ruhwedel, who has been the regular third-pair defenseman.
It will be up to the Penguins coaches if Riikola takes the left or if Joseph. We’ll learn more at practice on Monday.