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Penguins upgrade Dmitri Samorukov to NHL contract

The Pens add a new defensemen to an NHL deal that was already playing in their organization this season

St Louis Blues v Minnesota Wild Photo by Bruce Kluckhohn/NHLI via Getty Images

The Penguins have upgraded the contract of defenseman Dmitri Samorukov to an NHL contract, the team announced today. Samorukov had been playing this season in the organization under an AHL deal to this point and appeared in a couple of NHL preseason games earlier this fall.

From the team release:

The Pittsburgh Penguins have signed defenseman Dmitri Samorukov (sa-muh-ROO-kahv, dih-MEE-tree) to a one-year contract, it was announced today by President of Hockey Operations and General Manager Kyle Dubas.

The contract runs through the 2023-24 season and carries an average annual value of $775,000 at the NHL level.

Samorukov, 24, has played 15 games with the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins of the American Hockey League this season, recording one goal, four assists and five points. His five points are the third most among all team defensemen.

The 6-foot-3, 188-pound blueliner has suited up for three career NHL games over the past two seasons with the St. Louis Blues and Edmonton Oilers. Samorukov has also played in 187 career AHL games, split between the Bakersfield Condors, Springfield Thunderbirds and WBS Penguins, recording 10 goals, 45 assists and 55 points. He set career highs across the board last season with Springfield, tallying four goals, 16 assists and 20 points.

The Pens have to stay below 50 NHL contracts per year and are now up to 48 that count against them this season.

Pittsburgh’s defense has suffered some injuries lately: John Ludvig has been out for a while with a concussion, P.O Joseph is on IR with a nagging lower body injury that is keeping him off the ice and the team announced today that Chad Ruhwedel will be lost for weeks due to a lower body injury suffered in Sunday’s game.

The Pens will need to make some decisions (that could include Ruhwedel to the IR, if not LTIR) in order to bring up some new players to their NHL roster, since they’re sitting at possibly only five healthy defensemen at the moment. Those options include potentially calling up Samorukov, now that he is under an NHL contract. Whether or not they’re going to go that direction hasn’t been announced, but step one of getting him under an NHL deal has been completed to put such a move on the table.