Justin Schultz is out. Chad Ruhwedel is in, and Frankie Corrado is on deck.
That’s the lay of the land on the Penguins blue line after coach Mike Sullivan announced Thursday that Schultz would miss “a couple of weeks” with a lower-body injury suffered Tuesday night in a game against the Rangers.
Replacing Schultz won’t be easy. Along with Kris Letang, he is one of the Penguins’ most dangerous defensemen in the offensive zone. He has two goals and 10 points in 23 games this season after recording 12 goals and 51 points last year.
Sullivan said Schultz will not need surgery.
“He’s a little more than week to week. I’m reluctant to put a timeframe on it, but he’s going to be a couple of weeks,” Sullivan said.
Chad Ruhwedel stepped into Schultz’s spot in the lineup Thursday night, skating on a defense pair with Ian Cole.
After starting the season as the team’s seventh defenseman, Ruhwedel has been pressed into action more often than not, playing 22 of the team’s first 30 games. He was a healthy scratch for the previous three games.
“This is a rough game. Guys can do down pretty easily,” Ruhwedel said. “Just gotta be ready. With more experience being in and out of the lineup, you get more used to it.”
To add defensive depth, the Penguins called up Corrado from Wilkes-Barre/Scranton.
Corrado, 24, performed well in a three-game NHL stint last month. The 6-foot, 205-pound Ontario native had a goal, four assists and a plus-4 rating in 12 AHL games this season.
“The last time we had him up, we really liked his game,” Sullivan said. “He’s got a little bit of bite to him. He’s a stiff player. He’s strong in the battle areas. He’s good in the corners and in front of our net. He defends pretty well.”
Sullivan said Corrado received high marks from Clark Donatelli’s coaching staff in Wilkes-Barre.