The NHL trade deadline is tomorrow, but the Penguins acted on Sunday with a different type of transaction to extend the contract of Defenseman Mark Friedman for two more seasons.
The Penguins have agreed to terms with defenseman Mark Friedman on a two-year contract extension.— Pittsburgh Penguins (@penguins) March 20, 2022
The contract begins in the 2022.23 season and runs through the 2023.24 campaign and carries an average annual value of $775,000.
Details: https://t.co/nhopnGwc8M pic.twitter.com/NK3BmanKNd
At the age of 26, Friedman has only played 36 career NHL games, and has often been a healthy scratch as an extra player. This season he has 20 games with the Pens, recording one goal and four assists.
Friedman has showed some admirable qualities to make the team want him to stay, despite being a fringe level player. Friedman plays well when he has gotten the opportunity, even after long breaks in between action. He is a right hand shot, always in value on the blue line, but has shown the capability to play on the left side as well, which increases value.
Friedman is also a player who practices hard and has a way to get under people’s skin on the ice. Only Sidney Crosby has drawn more penalties for the Pens than Friedman, and again he’s only played in about one third of the team’s games this season!
Due to his age and low amount of games played, Friedman would have qualified for Group VI unrestricted free agency this summer, had they not been able to re-sign him.
In some ways, Friedman’s career path is starting to unfold a lot like a player he will be competing with for a roster spot in Chad Ruhwedel, who also had to wait years on the fringe of the lineup before getting the opportunity to play every game. This season was Ruhwedel’s first in that regard, and he’s played so well it hasn’t opened up much room for Friedman to play. Ruhwedel also recently signed a two-year extension to stay in Pittsburgh.