Injured Pittsburgh Penguins defenseman Justin Schultz was placed on the IR earlier this morning with no indication of a timeline for his return. The 27-year-old blue liner suffered a lower-body injury in Tuesday’s contest against the New York Rangers and has been ruled out of tonight’s match against the New York Islanders as well.
Now, the Penguins have come out and ruled Schultz out for “a couple weeks”, at least.
Ouch… this is not good news. Schultz has emerged as the team’s top defensman the past season and a half, surpassing Kris Letang in many people’s eyes. His loss from the lineup will be felt immensely.
Taking his place will be spare blue liner Chad Ruhwedel. It’s expected that Ruhwedel will slot into the team’s lineup alongside Schultz’s usual partner Ian Cole. "We played together a lot last year and seemed to have some good chemistry," Ruhwedel said of playing with Cole. "Really easy guy to play with, he's always in the right spot. If I'm in, we'll find out tomorrow, but I'm looking forward to it."
This is the second injury to Schultz so far this season after missing time with a concussion in early November. The 27-year-old blue liner has two goals and 10 points in 23 games this season, following a career high 12 goals and 51 points in 2016-17.