Yesterday, the Pittsburgh Penguins announced they had to come terms on a new two-year deal worth $650,000 per season deal with pending UFA defensemen Chad Ruhwedel.
The 27-year-old San Diego native split the 2016-2017 campaign between the Wilkes-Barre Scranton Penguins (28 GP 4G-12A-16PTS) and Pittsburgh Penguins.
Pittsburgh Penguins Re-Sign Defensemen Chad Ruhwedel
For the Penguins, it is the first step in shoring up a depleted defensive core. They potentially will see Justin Schultz, Trevor Daley, Ron Hainsey and Mark Streit hit the open market on July 1st. The Penguins will look to land a couple more defensive assets; as they look to supplement the young D-men waiting in the wings in Wilkes-Barre.
For Ruhwedel, it is a sign of confidence from the Penguins. He will be a viable option for the 6th/7th defensive spot on the team, once training camp opens in September.
The new deal comes hot off the heels of the longest sustained stretch of NHL action. Chad Ruhwedel’s career began in 2012, with the Buffalo Sabres. It also sees him earn a nice pay raise at $125,000 more per season then the previous deal. He signed that deal with the Penguins on July 1, 2016.
Chad Ruhwedel, appeared in 34 regular season games (from December 20, 2016). Ruhwedel scored two goals, eight assists and ten points while averaging 17:20 TOI per game. He also appeared in six playoff games this post-season during the Penguins Cup run. Ruhwedel played four games in the Eastern Conference Final. He saw increased responsibility and spent 21:25 on the ice in Game 4 of the series, throwing out seven hits in the 1-0 Penguins victory.
The Stanley Cup Champions have a lot a work to do this off-season, and face the possibility of a radically different supporting cast come October, but if the previous summers stand as the template for what we will see in the next couple of months, coupled with the additional cash the Marc-Andre Fleury deal put in the the Penguins coffers, they will find a way to land some quality assets and indeed be a threat to 3-peat.