Just days after making that blockbuster trade that sent offensive defenseman Alex Goligoski to the Dallas Stars for James Neal and Matt Niskanen, the Pittsburgh Penguins might feel obligated to look into the trade market for a blueliner. That’s because the Penguins will be without the death stare of hard-hitting defenseman Brooks Orpik for about four weeks, according to Shelly Anderson of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Orpik broke his hand while blocking a shot during last night’s game against the San Jose Sharks.
Adding another defenseman isn’t mandatory for the Penguins by any means, but it will be difficult to plug the hole left by the rugged defenseman. Orpik is the team leader in hits with 177 and averaged a career high 20:52 minutes per game so far this season.
This big blow comes at a tough time, as the team is about to begin a five-game road trip.
On the bright side, Anderson reports that a handful of injured Penguins could return for tonight’s game against the Carolina Hurricanes. Forwards Mark Letestu and Dustin Jeffrey are probable, but the most important potential return might come in the form of $5 million defenseman Paul Martin.