The Penguins waived goodbye to Brian Dumoulin today in free agency, but quickly replaced him with another defensive defenseman.
The Penguins have agreed to terms with defenseman Ryan Graves on a six-year contract.— Pittsburgh Penguins (@penguins) July 1, 2023
The contract runs through the 2028.29 and carries an average annual value of $4.5 million.
Graves, 28, is a good ol’ Nova Scotia boy like his captain Sidney Crosby. At 6’5” and 220 pounds he is a big presence in the lineup, having played the past two seasons with the New Jersey Devils. Graves’ was primarily used on a shutdown pair with John Marino last season, often seeing the best offensive players in the opponent’s lineup.
At just over 300 career games, Graves has been an NHL regular the past few years after working his way up from being a mid-round pick in 2013 originally by the New York Rangers. From there, he has been traded twice and finally qualified for free agency to pick his own spot.
Here’s another look at Graves’ game. As his goal numbers above show, he is willing to jump into the play a little and possesses a shot that is capable of hitting the back of the net. Graves also isn’t the typical archetype of a “defensive defenseman”, he is good in transition and a good skater for his size.
As can be seen from the competition numbers, he certainly is a matchup defenseman and capable of logging the tough minutes. That is what Pittsburgh is surely bringing him in for and instantly adds a lot of credibility to the left-side defense position with Marcus Pettersson as a fellow top-four option and then P.O. Joseph and current restricted free agent Ty Smith as depth options to round out the lineup on the left side of the ice.