April 13: Friedman has cleared waivers and can be assigned to the minor leagues before tonight’s game.
While it’s rare for a player to hit waivers after the trade deadline, let alone this late in the season, the move comes out of salary cap necessity for Pittsburgh. Defenseman Marcus Pettersson has progressed in his recovery from a lower-body injury and will be a game-time decision tomorrow night, per head coach Mike Sullivan, meaning the team needs to clear some cap room to activate Pettersson from long-term injured reserve.
Friedman and his $775,000 salary are the odd factors out here, and assuming the near-given scenario that he clears waivers, will be assigned to AHL Wilkes-Barre/Scranton tomorrow. The 27-year-old has split the season evenly between the two teams, playing a total of 47 pro games and recording nine points.
After dropping their last home game of the regular season to the Chicago Blackhawks last night, 5-2, the Penguins must rely on the 68-point Montreal Canadiens to defeat the New York Islanders in regulation tonight to keep their playoff hopes alive. Pittsburgh would then need a regulation win against Columbus on Thursday to continue their 16-year postseason streak.
Friedman, strictly a depth defender, had suited up in 12 straight games for Pittsburgh before he was a healthy scratch against Chicago.