In free agency, the Pittsburgh Penguins signed one of the better defenseman in free agency in Ryan Graves. New Penguins general manager Kyle Dubas sent a statement that he wants the Penguins to contend by locking up Graves as he signed a six-year deal worth $27 million dollars.
Graves is a solid defenseman who is coming off a solid season defensively with a +/- of 34. He is also not afraid to put his body on the line as he had 152 blocked shots this past season.
Ryan Graves Fit
Now on the Penguins, he will have to spend most of the off-season and training camp developing chemistry with his new line mates. It is still unknown who head coach Mike Sullivan will pair next to Graves.
They could pair him with Marcus Pettersson to make the second line defense pairing an elite one as both Pettersson and Graves are solid defenseman. Or, Graves can play alongside another solid acquisition by the Penguins in superstar defenseman Erik Karlsson.
The Karlsson and Graves duo can work as they would counter each other as Karlsson is one of the best offensive defenseman in the league but his defense is not the best. On the opposite end, Graves is more known for his defense as he had a high +/- and only had eight goals this past season.
Improving the Defense
The additions of Karlsson and Graves made the Penguins defense exponentially better. However, it was not just the additions of those two that made the Penguins better. Dumping guys such as Jeff Petry and Brian Dumoulin who are both no longer the players they once were sets up the Penguins for success.
In addition to getting better, believe it or not the Penguins also got younger. They are still one of the oldest teams in the NHL, however, they also were able to add some speed to the lineup especially in the bottom-six.