Is it time for Ty Smith? The Pittsburgh Penguins made more than a couple of housekeeping moves on Wednesday. The team placed Josh Archibald on IR retroactively to Dec. 18 and Ryan Poehling on IR retroactively to Dec. 20. However, the bigger news lies in the Penguins’ recalls from the WBS Penguins.
Slick offensive defenseman Ty Smith was recalled from the Penguins’ AHL club, as was forward Drake Caggiula.
The Penguins were embarrassed on Tuesday night against the New York Islanders, 5-1, at UBS Arena. Coach Mike Sullivan offered little positivity after the game, scolding his club for doing “none of the above” and admitting he didn’t like any of the shuffled line combinations he tried during the game.
The game further tightened the Metro Division standings.
Smith, 22, is in his first season in the Penguins organization after being the featured return when the Penguins traded John Marino to the New Jersey Devils. Smith has 14 points (4-10-14) in 26 games with the WBS Penguins. He was the final training camp cut after getting substantial ice time in preseason and training camp.
Sources told PHN last week that Smith was successfully working on his defensive game, which was spotty with New Jersey and in the most recent preseason.
As PHN noted on Tuesday, the defensive pairing of Brian Dumoulin and Jan Rutta has posted sub-par statistics, including a 45% possession and scoring chance rate.
Scorers initially recorded Dumoulin as a minus-4 on Tuesday night, though later changed it to minus-3 on the online score sheet. Rutta was a minus-3.
Smith was the New Jersey first-round pick (17th overall) in 2018 but fell out of favor after a difficult sophomore season in 2021-22.
Caggiula, 28, is up for the second time this season. He was with the Pittsburgh Penguins from Oct. 24-28. With WBS, he has had four goals and 10 assists in 23 games.
The 5-foot-10, 176-pound forward has played in 281 career NHL games from 2016-22 and registered 46 goals, 45 assists, and 91 points with the Penguins, the Edmonton Oilers, Chicago Blackhawks, Arizona Coyotes, and Buffalo Sabres.
Smith is the eighth defenseman on the Penguins roster. Mark Friedman is serving as the reserve.
Dan’s note (2:37 p.m.): Penguins’ defenseman Chad Ruhwedel left the Tuesday game in the first period and did not return. Smith or Friedman will play on Wednesday.
The Pittsburgh Penguins host the Detroit Red Wings Wednesday night at PPG Paints Arena. The puck drops just after 7:30 p.m.