Meet The Additions To The Pittsburgh Penguins

Jeff Petry, one of Pittsburgh’s additions in the off-season.


Jeff Petry, one of Pittsburgh’s additions in the off-season.

As training camp gets underway and the first preseason games for the Penguins are only a few weeks out, the roster for opening night is beginning to be formed. While the Penguins didn’t make major changes to their team, moves were made, players left and moved on, and others came in to take their place. 

The Penguins primarily revamped their defensive core this off-season, acquiring several new defensemen and shipping a few out in an attempt to bolster the back end. While some of the trades Pittsburgh made in the off-season were confusing to some, and names frequently in the trade rumor mill ultimately stayed right where they are, the Penguins are still in “win now” mode. Pittsburgh re-signed both Bryan Rust and Rickard Rakell to big money desks, and now with Kris Letang and Evgeni Malkin inked for six and four years respectively, the Penguins appear ready to go all in on a chase for another Stanley Cup. 

Let’s meet the new Pittsburgh Penguins:

Jeff Petry, D: Coming in on the back end is veteran defenseman Jeff Petry, who you may remember from the time he accidentally turned into a demon for a Stanley Cup Playoffs game. Petry, 34, will be entering the second year of a four year deal he signed with the Montreal Canadiens, which pays him $6.25 million against the cap. 

Petry, who was leaned on heavily in Montreal, had a down year last year, only putting up 6 goals and racking up 27 points on a Canadiens team that was last in the NHL. These totals were down significantly from his previous four seasons, where he tallied at least 11 goals and 40 points. 

Petry could benefit greatly from playing defense alongside big names like Kris Letang and Brian Dumoulin. Not having to be “the guy” on the backend could help Petry potentially experience, albeit likely not to the same extent, a Phil Kessel style renaissance to his career. 

Jan Rutta, D: Coming over from Tampa Bay, where he spent three seasons and won two Stanley Cups, Rutta is a solid defender who will fit in nicely with this revamped Penguins D-core. Rutta brings in Stanley Cup winning pedigree, something that should never be taken for granted, even if this team already has a lot of it. 

Rutta, 32, signed a three year deal worth $2.75 million against the cap per season. In 76 games with Tampa Bay last season, Ruuta scored 3 goals and added 15 assists from the blue line. 

Ryan Poehling, C/LW: Also coming over from Montreal is young forward Ryan Poehling. At only 23 years of age and making $750,000 against the cap this season, Poehling provides some youth to an aging offense core that is in need of young players. 

Poehling split the 2021-22 season between the NHL with Montreal and their AHL affiliate Laval Rocket. Although he only spent 7 games with Laval, he put up 3 goals and 3 assists with the team. At the NHL level, he tallied 9 goals and 8 assists for 17 points, in 57 games. 

His NHL numbers don’t catch your eye, but while he has yet to perform superbly on the offensive front, he is still 23, and with some of the weapons in Pittsburgh’s offense, it’s definitely possible he finds a good stride on this Penguins team. 

Ty Smith, D: Coming in from New Jersey, Ty Smith is the return for young defenseman John Marino. Smith, 22, makes under a million dollars against the cap, making him a very enticing player to a cap-strapped team like the Penguins. 

While his stats may not suggest he is a world-dominating superstar, it is very important to remember he is 22, defenseman, and has played his entire 2 season NHL career with the Devils, a team who has been struggling for years now. 

In 66 games last year, Smith had 5 goals and 15 assists for 20 points. That’s not bad for a defender. By comparison, Marino had 1 goal and 24 assists for the Penguins last season. At only a 5 point difference, Ty Smith brings much more value per point if he can replicate last season, and that value only increases as his play does. 

Josh Archibald, RW/LW: Now in his second stint with the Penguins organization, Archibald is coming off of spending the last three seasons out west with the Edmonton Oilers. Interestingly, Archibald played more playoff games last year than regular season games. In 8 regular season games, Archibald had no goals, 1 assist. In 13 playoff games, Archibald had…no goals, 1 assist. Consistency counts for something, I suppose. 

Unfortunately for Archibald, it’s unlikely he sees many NHL games this season either, with the current logjam of forwards on Pittsburgh’s roster. 

Drake Caggiula, LW/RW: Coming over from the Buffalo Sabres, Caggiula is a good depth addition for the Penguins. Like Archibald, he’s not guaranteed to play many games, but still could stand a chance to play on this roster, as he could prove to be a good penalty killer, a necessity for a successful team. 

In 18 games with the Sabres last season, Caggiula scored 2 goals and tallied 3 assists. 

Dustin Tokarski, G: Tokarski, who also spent last season in a Sabres uniform, is the replacement for the third string goalie spot, vacated by Louis Domingue, who left for the New York Rangers. While he is the third string goalie, it’s definitely possible he sees action in Pittsburgh, given the injury history of Casey DeSmith. 

He appeared in 29 games with the Sabres last season, sporting a 3.27 goals against average and a .899 save percentage.