Ruhwedel, 27, came to the Penguins on a two-way deal last summer and ended up playing 34 regular season games and six more playoff matches. His effectiveness as a depth defenseman is clear on a team who rode a group of lesser-known names all the way to the Stanley Cup. In fact, he contributed 10 points in those 34 games, a 24-point rate which would have put him just behind Ian Cole’s production. Not bad for a minimum-salary defenseman.
Like any contending team, the Penguins have to manage their cap space wisely this summer or they could get into trouble quickly. Though they have close to $20MM in space currently, there are new deals needed for Conor Sheary Brian Dumoulin and Justin Schultz, while at least one more defender is likely on their shopping list. Bringing back Ruhwedel for such a reasonable price is a nice first step for their offseason.