On the afternoon where opening day lineups are due to the NHL, the Pittsburgh Penguins branched out to add a player off waivers for the second time in two weeks. This time around the new addition is John Ludvig from the Florida Panthers.
Ludvig, 23, was a third round pick of Florida in 2019. He has yet to play in any NHL regular season games but profiled as one of the better defenders in the AHL last season at metrics like keeping expected goals down, blocking shots. The 6’1, 213 pounder also has a physical edge and was a big hitter in the minors.
The Pittsburgh Penguins claimed John Ludvig off waivers from the Florida Panthers.— Jacob Stoller (@JLStoller) October 9, 2023
Ludvig — who inked a two-year two-way deal with Florida this summer — was a key part of the Charlotte Checkers' penalty kill last year (9th in AHL). pic.twitter.com/sE8Ujt9e0B
The Penguins also received good news from the waiver wire when all five of their players placed their yesterday (Radim Zohorna, Colin White, Vinnie Hinostroza, Mark Friedman and Magnus Hellberg) cleared. All can now be assigned to Wilkes-Barre of the AHL, and all in fact will need to do so in order to become cap compliant. Ludvig carries the NHL minimum salary of $775,000.
This maneuvering will leave Pittsburgh with 12 forwards and eight defensemen for their opening roster tomorrow, which includes Jake Guentzel and points towards the increasing amount of evidence that Guentzel is trending towards playing tomorrow night.
At some point in the near future the Pens may re-balance by dropping Ryan Shea and bringing up a forward like Zohorna back to the NHL level.
Claiming Ludvig also pushes the Pens up to 49 NHL contracts, the maximum at one time is 50. That will limit any future free agents this season and could mean that any trades Pittsburgh conducts this season will have a minor leaguer tacked on to it in order to balance the contracts coming in and going out from here on out.