As the Pittsburgh Penguins continue life without hockey, we look back at every player by the numbers. Today, we recap a defender that rose out of nowhere.
As a right-handed defender on the Pittsburgh Penguins, you either better be outstanding or be ready for a lifetime of hard work in trying to get to the top. At the beginning of the season, Chad Ruhwedel has 4 to 5 players ahead of his as he fought tooth and nail for one of the last spots on the roster.
Knowing that he is not a Kris Letang or John Marino, Ruhwedel had to make it work as he earned himself that slot. Sometimes you have to understand that in the NHL, your role might be just to stay ready and prepare yourself for when your team needs you the most. Ruhwedel seemingly did just that, and he eventually got his turn on the big stage.
The Penguins suffered loads of injuries on the backline this season with there better players (Letang, Marino, and Dumoulin) missing a total of 83 games combined. During there lapses in playtime, the Penguins could have quickly fallen away, but Ruhwedel stepped up and helped ease the flooding.
Pittsburgh Penguins by the numbers: Chad Ruhwedel
He played a total of 41 games this year, collecting 6 points and playing just under 15 minutes a game on average. Now at the age of 30, he still has one more year until he becomes a UFA. Smart money would say that the Penguins need to keep him because he is playing way better than his $700,000’s a year would suggest.
Not only is he playing “above his pay grade,” but he has proven to be a core player going forward. When everyone is healthy, you most likely won’t seem him featured, but as long as he remembers who he is and the role he’s in, then he will find himself a right home for as long as he wants it.
If the Penguins let Justin Schultz go this offseason, then that will only open more potential for Ruhwedel. A lot is riding on this offseason, and a lot of it will most likely affect him going forward into the 2020/21 season.