Chad Ruhwedel, D
Hometown: San Diego, CA
Drafted: Undrafted – Signed as free agent
May 2018 – The good news is that the 28-year-old defender didn’t play a minor-league game in 2017-18. However, he made just 44 appearances due to injuries and the December acquisition of the hulking Jamie Oleksiak. Ruhwedel, who managed just five points (and minus-8) in those 44 games, got to know all the media guys in the press box well because he was a healthy scratch so often. Ruhwedel has a year left on his contract and is extremely affordable, but GM Jim Rutherford knows he has to upgrade his blueline. Expect Ruhwedel to be in the press box, AHL or with another NHL organization. Mark Allan
February 2018 – A healthy scratch in Pittsburgh’s first two outings without the traded Ian Cole, Ruhwedel is the team’s No. 7 blueliner and the first to get some action if anyone above him on the depth chart is hurt. He’s got some mobility and good puck-moving ability, although that has translated into exactly three points in 30 NHL games this campaign with an average of 15:49 TOI. Even without Cole, poolies shouldn’t expect much from Ruhwedel because coach Mike Sullivan is going to lean heavily on his top four defensemen, although Ruhwedel might see some ice if third-pairing partners Matt Hunwick and Jamie Oleksiak are being torched regularly. Mark Allan
January 2018 – At 27 one of the oldest prospects in the NHL, the mobile yet smallish blueliner returned after missing 10 games with an upper-body injury. Partnered with Olli Maatta previously, Ruhwedel was a healthy scratch in a 6-3 win over Minnesota as Maatta got lots of TOI with Justin Schultz. Ruhwedel has some puck-moving skill, but he’s got just three points in 30 games and is minus-7, relegating him to spare-part status. Mark Allan
October 2017 – A two-year, $1.3-million contract extension indicates some faith, but does not guarantee playing time. A healthy scratch in half of Pittsburgh’s first six games, and paired with Olli Maatta when he’s played, Ruhwedel is clearly the team’s No. 7 blueliner. Even when he’s playing more due to someone else’s injury, he has limited fantasy value. Mark Allan
June 2017 – Ruhwedel earned a two-year contract extension. Mark Allan
June 2017 – Strictly a stop-gap measure when Pittsburgh defensemen were beset by injuries, the veteran (who’s played in 67 NHL games during five campaigns) acquitted himself pretty well. Besides being an impressive plus-9 in 34 games with Pittsburgh, he had 10 points, including one memorable three-assist game in which he temporarily took the sting out of missing stud blueliner Kris Letang. Ruhwedel had no points in six post-season outings. As one a dozen back-end free agents between the NHL and AHL Penguins, Ruhwedel’s future is uncertain. Mark Allan
February 2017 – When Evgeni Malkin drew a faceoff back to the right point and Ruhwedel floated a long shot past Michal Neuwirth in a 4-2 outdoor victory Saturday over the Flyers, the Pittsburgh defenseman doubled his NHL goals total by potting his second this season. He was on the power play for 2:12, but don't get excited. The undrafted UMass-Lowell alumnus played for only 12:37 and is in the lineup only until Kris Letang returns from an upper-body injury, assuming Justin Schultz doesn't experience more concussion symptoms, and stays in the lineup. Ruhwedel is having a surprisingly productive AHL season but he's in the NHL only because Olli Maatta and Trevor Daley are out for six weeks. Mark Allan
January 2017 – For an undrafted, lower-level player, the stocky blueliner is posting some respectable offensive numbers. The former Buffalo Sabre has four goals and 11 assists in 27 AHL games, adding a goal and an assist in five NHL encounters. He is likely, though, to play far more in the AHL than the NHL in his career. Mark Allan
October 2016 – A depth player at best in Pittsburgh's deep system, Ruhwedel was unsurprisingly demoted to Wilkes-Barre/Scranton of the AHL. Mark Allan
July 2016 – The Pittsburgh Penguins signed Chad Ruhwedel to a one-year, two-way contract worth $575,000. In four years with the Buffalo organization he played in 33 career NHL games, posting two assists. At 26 years old, Ruhwedel appears to be a career minor league player with little fantasy value in even the deepest of leagues. Peter Harling
October 2015 – Chad was sent down to the Rochester Americans to begin the year. He made a good impression in training camp this year, but with the additions of Cody Franson and Carlo Colaiacovo he was more than likely headed to Rochester no matter how well his training camp was. He was competing for the sixth or seventh blue line spot with Mark Pysyk and Matt Donovan and by the looks of it, the Sabres' coaching staff were more comfortable with those two at the back end of their NHL depth chart. Ruhwedel will be able to continue to progress his game as a leader in the AHL with the Amerks. Chad will be one of the first guys called up if there is a major injury to the Sabres' defensive corps. Paul Zwambag
June 2015 – Ruhwedel was called up two different times, once in March and again at the end of the season in April. He had one assist in his four games played with an average of 12:28 of ice time per game. His AHL season has a greater sample size of 72 games played, 10 goals and 36 points. He led all Amerks defensemen this year, which is proving to the Sabres management that he has the offense in his game, he just needs to prove it in the NHL when he gets his chances. He hasn't been able to do so yet, hopefully the Sabres give him a better chance next year, may be tough with their loaded back end prospect pool, with guys who are ready for the NHL. It will be a great training camp to watch this coming fall. Paul Zwambag
April 2014 – Chad Ruhwedel was the recipient of an unfortunate illegal head check from the Flyers Zac Rinaldo who was assessed a match penalty for an attempt to injure on the play. Ruhwedel will now miss the remainder of the season due to concussion and likewise will Rinaldo but that's due to a suspension for the ugly hit. It's an unfortunate way to end the season for the 23 year old California kid who has still yet to open up his game at the NHL level registering an uninspiring one assist through 21 games played in Buffalo this past season. He has been able to enjoy greater success in his first season in Rochester of the AHL where he potted home four goals and assisted on 21 others. Buffalo is still going to have many ups and downs in the coming years and that will likely carry true for Ruhwedel as he sits behind Ristolainen, Zadorov, McCabe and Pysyk on the prospect depth chart and will need to create more of an impact when given the opportunity. Travis Watson
April 2013 – Ruhwedel definitely took the road less traveled in making it to the NHL. He hails from the non-traditional hockey market of southern California and not playing Tier 1/AAA hockey until he was 18. One of his greatest attributes in skating comes from his background in rollerblading as a kid in the Golden State. Ruhwedel signed with Buffalo just hours before making his NHL debut on Saturday afternoon. He was recently named NCAA First Team All-American as he was one of the best puck-moving blue liners in college hockey. The former UMass-Lowell River Hawk (Hockey East) shows offensive know-how and solid defensive play too.
Ruhwedel can run a power play and be accountable in penalty-killing situations, although he's likely going to have to get used to doing it in the AHL.
Series of highlights of Ruhwedel’s career in the NCAA ranks at UMass-Lowell.
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