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Penguins Shuffling Deck Chairs on Defense

The Pittsburgh Penguins swapped defenseman twice over the weekend.

It's been a transformative week for the Pittsburgh Penguins. General manager Ron Hextall went to work over the weekend, making two separate trades in which he exchanged defenseman with other Eastern Conference teams.

The Penguins began a busy Saturday trading defenseman John Marino to the New Jersey Devils. In return, they acquired defenseman Ty Smith and a 2023 third-round draft pick. More importantly, the Penguins cleared out over $3.5 million in salary cap space. 

Penguins general manager Ron Hextall wasn't finished, as he traded another defenseman in Mike Matheson and a 2023 fourth-round pick to the Montreal Canadiens just a few hours later. He acquired veteran puck-moving defenseman Jeff Petry, along with forward Ryan Poehling.

These moves came on the heels of the Penguins adding another defenseman on the opening day of free agency by signing Jan Rutta. This flurry of transactions leaves Hextall with nine NHL-capable defensemen heading towards training camp in September. Could another trade be coming for the Penguin's blue line?

If so, could that trade facilitate the Penguin's bottom six? Apart from Poehling, the Penguins have only added two other depth pieces in Josh Archibald and Drake Caggiula. While both have NHL experience and Archibald a Stanley Cup, neither move the needle particularly well, considering their combined lack of playing time due to injuries last season.

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