The Pittsburgh Penguins spent the first day of free agency adding to the depth of their organization. The Penguins made five signings but are looking to make more as the summer progresses.
Penguins general manager Ron Hextall spoke with media members following the slew of signings and discussed his need to find a trade this summer. "Someone mentioned we have nine defensemen," Hextall said, "if we could move a defenseman for a forward or move a defenseman for futures, those are the types of things we'll be looking at."
The Penguins were rumored to be looking to make a move on their blue line heading into free agency, but they decided to add to that area by signing Jan Rutta to a three-year deal. Rutta comes to the Penguins on the heels of three straight runs to the Stanley Cup Finals on the Tampa Bay Lightning blue line.
The right-shot defenseman gives the Penguins options when looking for a trade as he has played on both sides during his six-year NHL career.
Hextall also brought back two former members of the Penguins organization, Dustin Tokarski and Josh Archibald. Tokarski, a 32-year-old goaltender, is a career backup who has bounced between the NHL and AHL for the past 13 years. He previously played for the AHL Wilkes-Barre Scranton Penguins during the 2019-20 season and will presumably take over for Louis Domingue, who departed for the New York Rangers.
Archibald rejoins the Penguins after three seasons with the Edmonton Oilers and figures to become an injury replacement this season.
The Penguins led off the day by signing 28-year-old defenseman Xavier Oullet. The left-hander signed a one-year deal and is expected to begin the season in Wilkes-Barre. They finished off the day by signing 28-year-old journeyman forward Drake Caggiula to a one-year contract.
Sportsnet's Elliotte Friedman reported late in the day that the Penguins had a deal with veteran forward Johan Larsson, but Hextall couldn't confirm that move as of yesterday.
It was a well rounded day for Hextall, who added two forwards and a defenseman, as well as a goaltender to the Penguins roster.
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