The Pittsburgh Penguins possibly added to the right side of their defense Tuesday evening. According to CapFriendly.com, the Penguins signed right-defenseman Mark Pysyk and Libor Hajek to professional tryout agreements.
As of 9 p.m. Tuesday, the team had not made an official announcement.
Pysyk, 31, signed an $850,000 free agent deal with the Detroit Red Wings last summer but suffered an Achilles injury just a week later and a setback in January. He missed the entire season as a result.
Pysyk’s last NHL action was 2021-22 with the Buffalo Sabres. He scored three goals with 12 points. The 6-foot-1, 198-pound defenseman has played 521 NHL games and will be the most experienced right-side defender behind Kris Letang and Erik Karlsson in the Penguins training camp.
He figures to have a very good chance to make the team out of training camp, at which point, the Penguins must sign him to a contract, or he becomes a UFA. Pysyk will likely compete with Chad Ruhwedel for the right side of the third pairing. Pysyk has skates well enough and has enough offensive acumen to have also played on the wing in Florida.
Hajek, 25, split last season between the New York Rangers and their AHL affiliate, the Hartford Wolfpack. He’s a left-side defenseman and played 16 games with the Rangers and 24 with the Wolfpack.
Hajek is a big defenseman who moves well. He’s 6-foot-3, 206 pounds. The Czech D-man scored one goal with the Rangers last season and has played 110 career NHL games, making his debut in 2018. He was the Tampa Bay Lightning’s second-round pick (37th overall) in 2016.
The Penguins currently have about $220,000 of salary cap space.