The Pittsburgh Penguins recently announced that they’ve signed defensive prospect Harrison Ruopp to a three-year, entry-level contract.
Ruopp was acquired by the Penguins in addition to 2012 third-round draft pick, Oskar Sundqvist, after trading defenseman Zbynek Michalek to the Phoenix Coyotes. He is currently playing with the Western Hockey League‘s (WHL) Prince Albert Raiders. This is his fourth season in the WHL.
He is one of 11 defensive prospects currently in the Pittsburgh organization (aside from Simon Despres and Robert Bortuzzo who are both on the NHL roster right now). He will likely be assigned to Pittsburgh’s AHL affiliate in Wilkes-Barre Scranton.
The Penguins have obviously started rebuilding their depth, especially at defense, with this signing with possibly more to follow. It’s a necessary step since they lost a few prospects with the recent acquisitions of Brenden Morrow (for Joe Morrow who was playing for the Penguins in the AHL) and Jerome Iginla (for Ben Hanowski and Kenny Agostino who were both playing college hockey at St. Cloud State and Yale University, respectively).
This is probably not the last prospect the Penguins will be signing especially with the number of draft picks along with the prospects they gave up prior to the trade deadline this season to add players that will help them make a serious playoff run.