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2022-23 Season in Review: Chad Ruhwedel

Chad Ruhwedel continues to play a valuable, if unpredictable, role for the Penguins.

Pittsburgh Penguins v Detroit Red Wings Photo by Dave Reginek/NHLI via Getty Images


Player: Chad Ruhwedel
Born: May 7, 1990 (33 years old)
Height: 5-foot-11
Weight: 191 pounds
Hometown: San Diego, Calif., U.S.
Shoots: Right
Draft: Undrafted
2022-23 Statistics: 47 games played, one goal, four assists, five points, 18 PIM
Contract Status: Entering year two of a two-year, $1.6 million contract with a cap hit of $800,000
Fun fact: Ruhwedel’s parents are avid skydivers. His dad, John, has more than 3,000 jumps, while his mom, Robin, has more than 1,500 and took about 20 jumps while pregnant with Chad
Hidden Stat: Not so hidden, but Ruhwedel’s only goal of the season came in a 4-3 win over the Washington Capitals on March 25, 2023
History: 2021-22 Season in Review: Chad Ruhwedel - received an overall “A” grade from readers last year

Monthly Splits

Chad Ruhwedel - Monthly Splits
Yahoo! Sports

You can’t draw too many concussions from these splits other than Ruhwedel’s playing time was inconsistent outside of two months from December into January.

Never one for his offensive acumen, Ruhwedel was likely playing bottom-pair minutes as a substitute, as has been the case for several seasons. As evidenced by his plus-minus rating, he was on the ice for quite a few goals against, most notably logging a -5 rating in January.

He did, however, throw 37 hits and rack up 15 blocks throughout the first month of 2023, which is a positive takeaway in the eyes of the coaching staff.

Story of the Season

Playing only two games throughout October, Ruhwedel got his feet wet by November, registering an assist and adding a plus-2 rating in a 4-2 win over the Toronto Maple Leafs.

He would suffer an upper-body injury in the second period of a contest versus the New York Islanders on Dec. 27. He would be sidelined for a brief time, returning to the lineup for the Winter Classic clash against the Boston Bruins on Jan. 2, where he finished with a minus-1 rating.

The 33-year-old would then enter an offensive dry spell, not recording a point until Feb. 10, 2023, assisting on a Bryan Rust goal, as well as getting two shots on goal, two hits, and a plus-3 rating in what was a 6-3 win over the Anaheim Ducks.

Just seven days later, Ruhwedel recorded two assists in a 5-4 loss to the New York Islanders.

Heading into March, Ruhwedel would notch an assist, two blocked shots, and two PIM in what was one of the signature wins of the 2022-23 season, a 5-2 victory over the Colorado Avalanche.

And finally, as mentioned above, Ruhwedel’s only goal of the campaign came in a 4-3 win over the dastardly Washington Capitals on March 25.

Regular season 5v5 advanced stats

Data via Natural Stat Trick. The ranking is out of eight defensemen who qualified by playing at least 150 minutes.

Corsi For%: 52.75 (3rd)
Goals For%: 44.68 (7th)
xGF%: 54.02 (3rd)
Scoring Chance %: 53.08 (3rd)
High Danger Scoring Chance%: 53.31 (4th)
5v5 on-ice shooting%: 6.18 (8th)
On-ice save%: 91.07 (6th)
Goals/60: 0.1 (6th)
Assist/60: 0.41 (6th)
Points/60: 0.51 (8th)

Not one for the offense. The plus-50 Corsi For percentage is encouraging from a possession standpoint; Ruhwedel was a top player in that regard, but the sample size is much more limited, with him only playing 588 minutes of ice time.

Ruhwedel was not one to shoot the biscuit at 5-on-5, but given the role and the ice time, he’s not getting too many quality chances to pipe the tender, as the kids say. (Do they say this? I do not know).

Charts n’at

These three-year rolling totals from JFresh show a player that’s getting older and is perhaps beginning a downward trend. Still, Ruhwedel proved to be a reliable penalty killer, a more-than-capable defender, and when he was supplying any offense, he wasn’t devoid of skill.

The vast majority of the veteran’s ice time came alongside the young P.O Joseph.

Down the stretch, Ruhwedel was much less effective, along with Brian Dumoulin and Mark Friedman.

With Ruhwedel on the ice at 5v5, the Penguins, surprisingly, are a much better team in the offensive zone. Look at that deep shade of red in front of the opposition net. That’s pretty wild, even if it’s a limited sample.

In his zone, it was more of a mixed bag, but the team wasn’t overly terrible keeping pucks away from their goalie.


Bottom Line

Ruhwedel, as he has throughout his seven-year Pittsburgh Penguins tenure, continues to chug along and gets plugged into the lineup whenever injury dictates.

The dictionary definition of a seventh defenseman, whenever Ruhwedel hits the ice, you’re getting a steady if unimpressive defender who may look like a weaker player when compared to his more regular contemporaries, but not everyone will be playing Kris Letang-levels of hockey on a nightly basis.

Ideal 2023-24

Ruhwedel will likely return to the Penguins' organization in 2023-24, barring a complete overhaul of the defense corps. As is the case with these Penguins, you can never have too many healthy players as an 82-game season trudges on, and alongside Mark Friedman, Ruhwedel will be locked in as the No. 7 or No. 8 defenseman on the depth chart.


How would you grade Chad Ruhwedel’s 2022-23 season?

This poll is closed

  • 7%
    (22 votes)
  • 53%
    (155 votes)
  • 34%
    (100 votes)
  • 4%
    (13 votes)
  • 0%
    (2 votes)
292 votes total Vote Now