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Penguins place Jeff Petry on LTIR, call up Mark Friedman and Drew O’Connor from AHL

Roster moves occur and the Pens will be without an important defender for a while due to injury

NHL: DEC 10 Sabres at Penguins Photo by Jeanine Leech/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

For the second time this season, the Penguins are dipping into long term injured reserve. The team has placed defender Jeff Petry on the list and called up defender Mark Friedman and forward Drew O’Connor from Wilkes Barre.

From the team press release:

The Pittsburgh Penguins have recalled defenseman Mark Friedman and forward Drew O’Connor from the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins of the American Hockey League, it was announced today by general manager Ron Hextall.

Defenseman Jeff Petry has been placed on long-term injured reserve, retroactive to December 11.

Friedman, 26, attended Pittsburgh’s 2022 training camp and played in two preseason games with the Penguins. This season with WBS, Friedman has recorded one goal, four assists and is plus-5 in 19 AHL games. He has been plus or even in 16 of his 19 games this year.

The 5-foot-11, 185-pound defenseman has played parts of three seasons in the Penguins’ organization. Last season, Friedman played a career-high 26 games, scoring one goal, four assists and five points. The defenseman also appeared in six games with the Penguins during the 2022 Stanley Cup Playoffs, tallying one goal.

The Toronto, ON native has played in 42 career NHL games, split between the Penguins and Philadelphia Flyers, recording three goals, six assists and nine points. He has also skated in 207 career AHL games with the WBS Penguins and Lehigh Valley Phantoms, registering 11 goals, 55 assists and 66 points, and scored two goals in 12 AHL playoff games with Lehigh Valley.

Friedman was originally drafted in the third round (86th overall) of the 2014 NHL Draft by the Philadelphia Flyers. The Penguins acquired the defenseman on February 24, 2021 when they claimed him off waivers from Philadelphia and extended his contract through the 2023-24 campaign on March 20, 2022.

O’Connor, 24, has appeared in three games with Pittsburgh this season. With WBS, O’Connor has recorded a team-high 14 assists and 22 points (8G-14A) in 20 AHL games. He’s accumulated nine points (3G-6A) over WBS’ last two games.

The 6-foot-3, 200-pound forward has played parts of two seasons with Pittsburgh, appearing in 35 career NHL games and accumulating six points (3G-3A). O’Connor also appeared in two playoff games with the Penguins during the 2021-22 season. In 73 career AHL games with WBS, O’Connor has recorded 27 goals, 46 assists and 73 points.

By virtue of going on LTIR, Petry will be unable to return to game action until January 8th, at the earliest. He left the game on Saturday night against Buffalo after being rammed into the boards and appeared to jam his arm. Strangely, he still met with the media after the game and declared himself to be “OK” but this wouldn’t end up being the case with him missing Monday’s game against Dallas and now will be out at least a month.

O’Connor becomes the NHL team’s 14th forward after a hot week with Wilkes-Barre that saw him score five points in a game and become that team’s leading scorer for the season.

Friedman was waived at the end of training camp due to a roster numbers and financial crunch that is temporarily alleviated by Petry’s salary moving to LTIR. As usual, seek this FAQ from CapFriendly about what LTIR does and doesn’t mean. For the time being, Pittsburgh can afford to have a full 23-player healthy roster for the first time all season, coming at the cost of them also missing one of their most veteran and important defenders.