The Philadelphia Flyers lost a solid player to the Pittsburgh Penguins. That’s never a good thing.
Defenseman Mark Friedman was waived by the Flyers on Tuesday in an effort to send him to the taxi squad or Lehigh Valley Phantoms. Unfortunately, Friedman was claimed on waivers by the Flyers’ biggest rival: the Penguins.
PIT claims Friedman
— Elliotte Friedman (@FriedgeHNIC) February 24, 2021
Our friends over at Pittsburgh Hockey Now detailed the Penguins’ need for a depth defenseman:
“Penguins defenseman Kris Letang missed half of the third period on Tuesday night in the Pittsburgh Penguins 3-2 OT win over the Washington Capitals. After the game, head coach Mike Sullivan admitted Letang was dealing with an injury. Letang did play in the overtime period.
Chad Ruhwedel is currently the Penguins spare RHD, and his job does not appear in jeopardy. Yannick Weber is also an RHD. Earlier this week, the Penguins demoted Weber and lefty defenseman Kevin Czuczman. The team placed Weber on the taxi squad, while the organization sent Czuczman to the AHL.”
New Pittsburgh Penguins general manager Ron Hextall gets back one of the players he drafted in Philadelphia. Friedman was taken in the third round (86th overall) of the 2014 NHL Draft. Friedman turned pro in the 2017-18 season after three years at Bowling Green. Arguably his best season came in the 2018-19 campaign. Not only did he hit an AHL career-high in goals (five), assists (21), and points (26), but he made his NHL debut and got on the radar as well.
Mark Friedman slowly worked his way up the depth chart to earn a spot in the Flyers lineup for six games last season. For whatever reason, it felt like he never truly got the opportunity he deserved. The right-handed defenseman held his own during his 11 NHL games, especially this season, and it was odd to not see him given more of a chance. The speedy, feisty defenseman was overlooked as an option to shore up the third pair this season.
Getting rid of Friedman’s cap hit of $725,000 through the end of next season gives the Flyers a bit of wiggle room with the salary cap. Still, it’s not ideal to lose Friedman for nothing. Even a mid-to-late round pick could hold some value as a lottery-ticket-type player. We saw the Flyers grab Zayde Wisdom in the fourth round in the most recent draft. He is having a great season with the Phantoms.
All in all, this isn’t a huge loss for the Flyers. Mark Friedman doesn’t have a high ceiling – probably a third-pair defenseman at best –, but is better than some of the other depth defensemen around the league.
Photo by Rich Graessle/Icon Sportswire