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Penguins Sign Defenseman Jan Rutta

The Pittsburgh Penguins sign Stanley Cup champion defenseman from the Tampa Bay Lightning.

The Pittsburgh Penguins have signed defenseman Jan Rutta to a two-year contract worth $8.25 million. Rutta is a two-time Stanley Cup Champion with the Tampa Bay Lightning that averaged 16:23 time on ice this past season in 76 games.

The 31-year-old defenseman will cost $2.75 million per season and be able to play on both sides of the Penguin's blue line. Rutta instantly becomes one of the largest defensemen on the Penguins at 6'3" and registering in at 204 pounds. According to CapFriendly, this move leaves the Penguins with $2.58 million in salary cap space.

Over the past four seasons with the Lightning, Rutta has played 158 games, scoring 35 points (4-31) and finishing with a plus 47 +/-. According to Natural Stat Trick, Rutta finished last season with a 54.09 expected goals percentage and a 54.18 scoring chances for percentage at even strength.

One thing Rutta brings to the Penguins is more playoff experience. In the last three postseasons with the Lightning, Rutta has played 45 games and scored nine points (3-6) while playing just over 14 minutes of ice time per game.

With the addition of Rutta, the Penguins now have nine defensemen on the NHL roster. General manager Ron Hextall has long been expected to be looking to trade away one of the Penguin's defensemen to create salary cap space.

Rutta signing in Pittsburgh all but guarantees that a trade is coming for one of the Penguin's remaining blue liners. The Czech native preliminarily plays on the right side but has played on his off wing at points throughout his career. The addition of Rutta might be the first in a series of moves resulting in the team signing another middle-six winger.

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