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Losing streak brings lineup change

November 5, 2018, 1:24 PM ET [119 Comments]
Ryan Wilson
Pittsburgh Penguins Blogger • RSSArchiveCONTACT
Losing streaks will often times lead to lineup changes and this three game losing streak is not the exception. It appears Chad Ruhwedel will be taking a back seat to Jusso Riikola. Ruhwedel is the only other right handed defenseman currently available to play and without him in the lineup there will be five left handed layers and Kris Letang.

Is Chad Ruhwedel the right guy to come out of the lineup? The short answer is probably not.

Chad Ruhwedel has been exactly what he is. A bottom pairing defenseman. Nothing more nothing less. If the team wants to get Juuso Riikola some more time then the obvious needs to be said. It should be for Jack Johnson. Another option would be to send Riikola back to WB/S. As bad as Johnson has been, Riikola has been worse. A good preseason against NHL lineups that have non-NHL players in it does not outweigh what you actually do against real NHL teams. Riikola had a nice preseason run, but if those numbers don’t dramatically get better nobody should be coming out of the lineup for him.

Derick Brassard remains out. He isn’t even skating. As a result the Penguins will need both Riley Sheahan and Matt Cullen to continue to play a role above what they are capable. Pittsburgh will have to continue to rely on the big three to produce the majority of offense. It can certainly work. It just isn’t a great thing to rely on over the long term. I don’t like the idea of April rolling around and those three players are exhausted because they had to carry the team the entire year. We aren’t at that point yet. You could see a path for it to happen though.

Thanks for reading!
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