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Penguins injury situation turns even worse, Zach Trotman recalled

Just when you think it couldn’t get worse it looks like the Pens are bracing for life without Justin Schultz

Pittsburgh Penguins v New York Rangers Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images

Well, this is the last news item the Penguins needed by having to recall Zach Trotman from Wilkes-Barre today. From a team release:

The Pittsburgh Penguins have recalled defenseman Zach Trotman from the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins of the American Hockey League, it was announced today by executive vice president and general manager Jim Rutherford.

Trotman, 29, has skated in eight games for WBS this season where he has tallied five points (2G-3A) and a plus-3.

A 6-foot-3, 217-pound native of Carmel, Indiana, Trotman played in 13 games for Pittsburgh in 2018-19, recording an assist.

Between Pittsburgh and the Boston Bruins, Trotman has totaled 13 points (3G-10A) in 83 career NHL games and a plus-2.

At the AHL level split with the Providence Bruins, Ontario Reign, and WBS, Trotman has played in 240 games, accumulating 85 points (23G-62A).

Justin Schultz left practice gimpy yesterday and his status for tonight is unknown, but sure not looking good if Trotman’s presence was necessary. Kris Letang has been skating, but not yet in full capacity with the team. That leaves a current healthy right side defense as:

  • John Marino
  • Chad Ruhwedel (a healthy scratch in all 21 games this year and hasn’t played an NHL game since February 26th)
  • Trotman (a mostly AHLer who played 13 NHL games last year, last on April 2nd, 2019; more recently than Ruhwedel)
  • Juuso Riikola (a left handed player who has been playing on the right side due to injury)

How long will this last? Usually injured players take a full practice prior to being cleared, which won’t happen on Thursday or Friday being as they’re both game days. Worse is how the schedule is packed — with the Pens playing the Islanders tonight and the Devils tomorrow and it looking like Letang and Schultz both can’t compete in games within the next 36 hours, that means two games worth of a very, very less than ideal right side defense for Pittsburgh.

The Pens have dealt with injury woes all season long, and now all of a sudden the cause for concern could be staring down the barrel of missing their two best right handed defenseman.