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Zach Trotman “unavailable” for Penguins in return to play

A depth defender for the Pens will not be playing this summer

NHL: FEB 22 Sabres at Penguins Photo by Jeanine Leech/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Per the terms of the agreement of the NHL/NHLPA return to play this summer, all players have the option of giving notice by Monday night if they wish to not play, penalty free. So far, most notably Calgary’s Travis Hamonic and Vancouver’s Sven Bartschi have “opted out” and announced their intentions to not play this summer.

Looks like you can add the Penguins’ Zach Trotman to the list of those not participating, per general manager Jim Rutherford, but not due to a personal choice.

Trotman has been in Pittsburgh since mid-June going through workouts.

But Trotman has good reason to not join the club, his wife announced a pregnancy with the couple’s first child. We had Trotman listed as the No. 5 right handed defenseman on the team, ranking ninth overall on the roster among defensemen and was unlikely to play in the NHL’s summer tournament.

UPDATE: Pensburgh has been informed Trotman has not opted out, has no personal/family reasons and is unable to participate solely and totally due to injury reasons.

Trotman also had a difficult season that started with a sports hernia surgery and involved a concussion along the way, leading his health and total status to believed to be not optimal.

If the team suffers three injuries on defense and needs him, they could always plug in David Warsofsky or Kevin Czuzcman or Pierre-Olivier Joseph and probably be just as well off...Because the bigger problem would be dealing with having so many NHL caliber defenders hurt in a short period of time.

But, it happens. Trotman played eight scoreless games in 2019-20 in the NHL with the Penguins, playing an average of 14:43 per game in a historically bad injury-ravaged season. Overall Trotman has played 24 career NHL games with the Pens in the last three years, and spent the majority of his time with AHL Wilkes-Barre as a key veteran leader of that team.

Trotman is also signed for next year with a $700,000 NHL contract that guarantees a $400,000 minimum payment in the AHL.

The other interesting news is that Rutherford apparently isn’t planning on being physically with the team. This also feels like a very smart and prudent decision. At 71, Rutherford is certainly in a high-risk group. Besides, there’s no real physical need or obligation that he has to actually be traveling and in a “bubble” with hundreds and thousands of other people. Rutherford ought to be able to complete all of his responsibilities from the safer confines of his own isolation at home at this point, which would be best for everyone. That is another smart move.

The Pens full team training camp starts on Monday. They’ll depart for Toronto later this month and are scheduled to start playing the meaningful games against the Montreal Canadiens on August 1st.