Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Ruhwedel to Step in for Injured Schultz

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Ruhwedel to Step in for Injured Schultz

Article excerpt

Defenseman Justin Schultz will miss several weeks with a lower-body injury.

What does that mean for the Penguins?

For one, talk of an Ian Cole trade has cooled considerably, a source confirmed to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette on Thursday night. With Schultz hurt, there's no way the Penguins can afford to move Cole in an effort to improve their third line.

It also means that Chad Ruhwedel will become a regular member of their top-six. Ruhwedel was slotted into Schultz's spot, to the right of Cole, Thursday against the Islanders.

Losing Schultz also means that the Penguins don't have a 1A/1B setup anymore on the No. 1 power play.

Kris Letang is the guy, and on the surface, that's mostly a good thing; the power play has remained productive with Letang on it.

Letang's assist on Jake Guentzel's early man-advantage goal Thursday was No. 21 on the season, the most among all NHL defensemen.

But not having Schultz also makes it difficult to keep Letang's minutes reasonable. Earlier this season, general manager Jim Rutherford told the Post-Gazette he thought the Penguins were playing Letang too much.

And while Letang's game has improved, he's still a minus-14, second-worst in the league. If the Penguins had any thoughts about playing Letang less to try and control results . well, that's going to be tough.

Another ramification of losing Schultz is what it does to the defensive depth. Having Ruhwedel as a No. 7 was a luxury. Frank Corrado? Not so much.

If someone else gets hurt, that could force Rutherford to go shopping for a more proven option on defense.

Schultz was injured in the first period of Tuesday's 4-3 loss to the New York Rangers. He returned briefly in the second before adjourning to the dressing room for good.The injury occurred when Cole tripped Rangers forward Rick Nash into Schultz, and Schultz's knee bent awkwardly.

In 23 games, Schultz produced two goals and 10 assists, logging 18:40 a night overall and 2:29 on the power play. …

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