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Penguins Sign Small Defenseman with Offensive Skills & Potential

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Pittsburgh Penguins free agent signing, Mac Hollowell

Just before the Pittsburgh Penguins signed unrestricted free agent defenseman Matt Grzelcyk, president of hockey operations/GM Kyle Dubas dipped into his past to find a defenseman who should fit a depth role.

The Penguins signed small right-handed defenseman Mac Hollowell to a one-year, $775,000 contract. They have not yet announced the signing or whether it’s a one-way deal.

To the chagrin of some, both Grzelcyk and Hollowell are 5-foot-9.

Hollowell, 25, is one of the few skaters who has worked his way up from the ECHL to the NHL. He has put up good offensive numbers in the AHL with the Toronto Marlies and Hartford Wolfpack and made his NHL debut in 2022-23.

Hollowell earned two assists in six NHL games with the Toronto Maple Leafs. He scored three goals and 44 points this season with Hartford of the AHL. In 2022-23, he had 13 assists in 18 games with the Marlies.

The knocks on Hollowell are size. In addition to his lack of height, he is 170 pounds, and his defensive game can get tangled in his own zone. He’s got more work to do in that regard.

He is a smooth skater with good vision. If he does not make the Penguins’ NHL roster, his entire salary could be stashed in the AHL.