The Pittsburgh Penguins are going to have to survive yet another injury to their blueline.
Pittsburgh placed top-pairing defenseman Kris Letang on the injured reserve Monday. He is listed as week-to-week with a lower-body injury he suffered Saturday against Detroit. Not only do the Penguins lose one of their best blueliners, but one of their best puck movers and special teams quarterbacks.
Letang is arguably one of the top defensemen in the league and serves as a right-handed shot who can score and bring insurance on the backend. He has great on-ice awareness and vision and is able to keep his team in games, winning tight battles and starting the rush from the blue line.
In 30 games this season, the 29-year-old defenseman has four goals and 23 points. He has continually struggled with injury, but has been an asset in games he has played in. Letang put up four points in his last five outings.
With Letang out, the Penguins recalled Chad Ruhwedel to help fill his void. Pittsburgh will likely rely on defenders like Justin Schultz to fill his void on the top pairing. The former Oilers defenseman has completely reinvented himself this season, proving his puck-moving ability and defensive potential. He has seven goals and 26 points, and is a minus-20 so far this year.
Pittsburgh also has guys like Olli Maatta and Steven Oleksy to count on if necessary. Oleksy can bring physicality and toughnss, while Maatta brings a certain edge and on-ice awareness to his game. These players will be assets for Pittsburgh as they move forward.