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Penguins Sign Edgy Defenseman Mark Friedman, 2-Year Deal

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Pittsburgh Penguins Mark Friedman

The Pittsburgh Penguins didn’t make the blockbuster deal on Sunday, but they locked up their resident pot stir when they signed defenseman Mark Friedman to a two-year deal.

The new contract, which begins next season, carries a $775,000 AAV.

Friedman was GM Ron Hextall’s first acquisition after Hextall was hired in February 2021. Hextall, the former Philadelphia Flyers GM, snagged Friedman off waivers from the Flyers.

While Friedman has missed a couple of opportunities to establish himself as an NHL regular because he, too, suffered an injury when openings existed. The 26-year-old defender excited teammates and fans with his recent run ahead of Marcus Pettersson in the Penguins lineup.

“Friedman is an impactful defenseman who has strong offensive instincts and plays with an edge,” said Hextall. “He’s added depth to our defense corps, and we are excited to see his continued development over the next two years.”

Friedman has played 20 games this season, a career-high. He also has career-highs in assists (4), points (5), and game-winning goals (1). His only goal this season was on March 11 against Vegas. It stood as his first career game-winning goal.

The 5-foot-11, 185-pound defenseman has drawn 12 penalties, with his 2.62 penalties drawn-per-60 average ranking seventh in the NHL (min. 10 GP).

Teammate Bryan Rust recently complimented Friedman, “He’s a wild man,” Rust smiled.

Friedman was especially good when the Penguins dismantled the Tampa Bay Lightning on March 4 at Amalie Arena.

“I tend to go after the biggest guys on the ice, which probably isn’t the smartest thing to do, but that’s just me. And again, if I can draw a penalty out of it, like we did going into the third, then so be it,” Friedman said that night.

“Maybe next time we play them, they’ll have a picture of me in their room or something, but whatever. Just being me, and that’s how I play the game.”

Friedman also acquitted himself well when he was inserted into the lineup ahead of Pettersson when the Penguins beat the first-place Carolina Hurricanes two Sundays ago at PPG Paints Arena.

This season, Friedman has five points (1-4-5) in 20 games.

Mark Friedman has played in only 36 NHL games, including a couple at forward for Philadelphia. While he’s 26-years-old, his NHL development is still a work in progress. However, he’ll get to do it with the Pittsburgh Penguins organization, assistant coach Todd Reirden, and the Penguins now have some security with depth players.

In February, fellow defenseman Chad Ruhwedel signed a two-year deal with an $800,000 AAV.

Friedman’s contract will cover one year of his unrestricted free agency, and pay him $800,000 in the second year.

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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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Mitch Weller
Mitch Weller
8 months ago

Good depth signing and possible replacement if we move petterson or Marino in the next 24 hours.

Paul
Paul
8 months ago

Now Billy G. is after MAF for a second-bounder and possibly a sweetener. Love his win-now approach. That sends a positive message to Wild fans. If their team gets any kind of goal-tending, it will be a tough out.

RYAN
RYAN
8 months ago
Reply to  Paul

Minnesota is really the only place It makes sense for MAF to go as of now. Hope he does

Ethan
Ethan
8 months ago
Reply to  Paul

Way out on a limb, pulling stuff from my butt here, but I still say MAF is headed back to the Burgh! (I know Pig’s Eye is closer to Shy Town but come on…if we are going to keep all the good ol’ boys for one last run why not bring back the Flower Power!) Was going to say Hagg had to be headed to Pens as well in typical Hextall low budget addition but I’ll be damned if the Panthers didn’t beat us to that as well. Having 90’s era nightmares about plastic rats cascading across the rink again.… Read more »

ehasenel
ehasenel
8 months ago
Reply to  Ethan

Trading for Fleury with his history and status would disrupt Jarry for sure. I think it is a bad move this late in the season. I could see him signing in the offseason but there is zero chance he is coming now.

Ethan
Ethan
8 months ago
Reply to  ehasenel

Well allow me to close out this thread by saying I was wrong. I knew it was a long shot but still think it would have been a fun ride with a 1A and 1B in net! Let’s hope our 1A stays hot and healthy!

RYAN
RYAN
8 months ago
Reply to  Ethan

Jarry is the team mvp…what in the hell good is fleury now?

Don’t stop dreaming, big guy

Ethan
Ethan
8 months ago
Reply to  RYAN

Yeah Jarry is MVP of regular season so far…but are you really saying that a 3 time Cup goalie would have no value to this team? (When was the last cup the Penguins won without Fleury on their roster anyway?) And that MN makes more sense for Fleury than the Burgh in your other post! Really? I think you are just begrudging someone for pining over the possibility of an exciting acquisition at the trade deadline. Well in that case this big guy is fine with being a dreamer–rather that than spend my time justifying lowered expectations!

RYAN
RYAN
8 months ago
Reply to  Ethan

They can neither fit, nor want fleury coming in here…

What do you do, tell Jarry with 55 wins to sit game 1 for the “flower”??

ThePenguin71
ThePenguin71
8 months ago
Reply to  Paul

Billy G has been on the hot seat at times in Minny. The team has 8 of its last 12, so it is more like win to keep his job.

Chase Cranson
Chase Cranson
8 months ago

Wish he was here he would be all in unlike Hextall

RYAN
RYAN
8 months ago

Now you see what hextall does: signs extensions that aren’t a priority instead of trying to win with the team he’s in charge of right now.

That about 4? He’s desperate to protect Marino and what would be a #26-28 overall pick.

Buckle up, baby

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