Meet the Pittsburgh Penguins' New Top-Six Defensemen

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Meet the Pittsburgh Penguins' New Top-Six Defensemen
Steve Babineau/Getty Images

The Pittsburgh Penguins have been taken apart by injuries a third of the way through the 2013-14 NHL season. Their blue line has been hit particularly hard, with Kris Letang not playing until late October and various injuries since that point.

When healthy, Pittsburgh's defense pairings would probably look a little something like this:


Kris Letang - Rob Scuderi

Paul Martin - Brooks Orpik

Olli Maatta - Robert Bortuzzo/Deryk Engelland/Matt Niskanen


It's hard to know for sure what the Penguins would look like with a healthy blue line though, since they've had one for all of four periods so far this season. Martin, Orpik and Scuderi are all on the injured reserve right now, forcing three typical depth defenders to step up into top-four roles.

Meanwhile, the Penguins have had to cut all the way down to the second pairing in the AHL to find healthy bodies. Pittsburgh's blue line looked like this during its last contest on December 9:


Olli Maatta - Kris Letang

Deryk Engelland - Matt Niskanen

Simon Despres - Robert Bortuzzo


Not exactly what the Penguins had in mind at the beginning of the season. While the faces aren't new per say, they are filling in and playing new roles in Pittsburgh.

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