Penguins Searching For Help On Defense

The Pittsburgh Penguins aren't where many expected them to be this season after two big offseason acquisitions in Erik Karlsson and Reilly Smith. But this team is through 30 games and they have only 31 points with more losses than wins.

While some of the big guns are carrying the load this season, the defense is not where the Penguins want it to be. They have a lot of young and unproven talent on the back-end and in their system, but don't seem to be impressed with any of them. Players like John Ludvig, Pierre-Olivier Joseph, and Ryan Shea have gotten into games this season, but then there are options like Ty Smith, Jack Rathbone, and Will Butcher who haven't.

With Chad Ruhwedel being one of the third pairing options, that shows the need for a defensive upgrade if the Penguins are going to stay in the race and get back into the playoffs after missing last season. On 32 Thoughts, Elliotte Friedman noted that the Penguins are unsurprisingly asking around about defense. Right now, they can afford someone with a little bit of money on their contract, but will have no space when Bryan Rust comes back, so will also have to look more in depth at cheap options that can fill a role and stabilize the third pairing. That isn't easy to do, but the Penguins don't have forever to win again with their veteran core. They have to buy, not sell.

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