The Penguins have already lost one player to waivers this season, after the news broke that Radim Zohorna was claimed by the Calgary Flames on Monday.
National insider Frank Seravelli has information that the Pens are “at risk of losing a defenseman, too”. Pittsburgh has nine NHL caliber defenders, but possibly only space for seven healthy blueliners to start the season. Something has to give.
That something might be Pierre-Olivier Joseph. According to Seravelli, Joseph has been offered to all 31 other teams for a trade.
With Zohorna claimed, #pens will be at risk of losing a defenseman, too. Sources say PIT offered Pierre-Olivier Joseph to all 31 teams.#Canucks are also active in trying to move Micheal Ferland's contract.— Frank Seravalli (@frank_seravalli) October 3, 2022
More in today's Ice Breakers segment:https://t.co/ytliaG1cVU
However, no trade has been made because an unestablished player going into his draft+6 season isn’t going to have a lot of suitors looking to pay up. Especially when the league realizes there is a good chance that the Pens will be waiving some sort of defenseman in the coming days?
Joseph has been mostly in the background this training camp, the team has given Ty Smith a bigger opportunity and he’s apparently making the most of it in their eyes. Joseph stayed after at practice on Monday, a sign he is going to be the healthy scratch tonight for a pre-season game in Detroit. Smith again worked the practice with veteran Jan Rutta, the expected third pair defender for the start of the regular season.
Coach Mike Sullivan explained what he has been seeing with that pair:
Sullivan on the Smith-Rutta pairing: "We’re hoping that they can develop a little bit of chemistry. That potentially could be could be a pair that's complementary for us. Jan’s a pretty solid, stay-at-home guy. Ty’s a guy that's got good offensive instincts."— Pens Inside Scoop (@PensInsideScoop) October 3, 2022
Joseph was featured in Corey Pronman’s take at The Ahtletic for potential “NHL waiver wire targets”. In part, Pronman summed it up nicely saying, “He’s kind of a vanilla player who doesn’t stand out at either end of the ice”.
Pronman also spotlighted left handed defenders in Josh Mahura (ANA) and Connor Mackey and Juuso Valimaki (CGY) as other possible targets to hit the waiver wire in the coming days. If Pittsburgh out-lasts these players going to the wire or has an opportunity to make their cuts at the same time
Now that Zohorna is gone from the organization and others like Drew O’Connor have been sent to the AHL, the Pens’ forward situation is just about settled for the start of this season. It won’t be too long until the defense has to be settled in as well. After building up some defensive depth by bringing in Smith, Rutta and Jeff Petry this summer, the Pens might be stuck in another numbers squeeze to lose another player on the fringes of the lineup.