The easy connection to make here is straight from Friedman (the player) to Ron Hextall, who recently took over as Penguins GM. It was Hextall who drafted Friedman 86th overall in 2014 just a month after he was promoted to Flyers GM. It was also Hextall who would have seen Friedman at his best, a dominant all-situations force for the Bowling Green State University team.
The 25-year-old defenseman hasn’t made that kind of impact in the NHL yet, playing just 11 games to this point. Just four of those have come this season, but perhaps he’ll receive a bigger opportunity once he gets to Pittsburgh. The Penguins have dealt with injuries to their defense corps all season and still have two regulars on long-term injured reserve. Defense, in particular, will be an interesting test of Hextall’s new philosophy with the Penguins, given they had previously been invested in reclamation projects like Mike Matheson and Cody Ceci.
Friedman becomes the first skater to be claimed off waivers since before the season started. The other three players on waivers with him yesterday—Tanner Kero, Tommy Cross and Luke Schenn—all cleared.