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Former Panthers Prospect John Ludvig Finds Home in Pittsburgh



Ludvig penguins

SUNRISE — John Ludvig gave it his all in an effort to make the opening night roster with the Florida Panthers.

It was going to be an uphill battle for the 23-year-old defenseman, who missed significant time with injuries in his previous two seasons in the AHL.

When the Panthers brought in a slew of defensemen in free agency to help them withstand injuries to Aaron Ekblad and Gus Forsling, the Florida prospect’s chances kept getting smaller.

Still, he gave it his all, impressing the Panthers by blocking shots and laying the body during the preseason, but he just missed the cut after an injury kept him out of the lineup for the last few games.’

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He got waived and ended up getting his chance with the Pittsburgh Penguins.

“They have a good defense core and I knew going into camp, it was going to be a tough one to crack,” Ludvig said before the Panthers beat the Penguins 3-1 in Sunrise on Friday.

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“But it definitely prepared me for coming over here, but I am thankful for everything for me over there and I am just excited for the opportunity.”

Pittsburgh was a perfect landing spot for Ludvig.

Having just traded a large contingent of their depth for Erik Karlsson, the Penguins had both a star-studded roster with championship aspirations and a need to add to its back end with Jan Rutta and Jeff Petry both being included in the trade.

“It’s a storied franchise and they have had success pretty much since I’ve been born,” Ludvig said.

“It was definitely exciting knowing that I was coming here and I could join and help this organization.

Ludvig made his presence felt with the Penguins right from the jump.

He threw a couple of big hits and provided an edge to Pittsburgh’s blue line that was much needed.

But his NHL debut ended on sour note after he sustained a concussion after hitting Dallas Stars forward Radek Faksa in a full-speed collision.

“I got to show flashes of my game in my first game even though it was short-lived,” Ludvig said. “It was a positive and a negative.”

While the injury kept him out for a month, his play in that first game left an impression and there ended up being a place for him in the lineup when he came back a month later.

He has since settled in on the bottom pairing next to Ryan Shea and has an assist in 10 games in his young career.

While the Penguins have been struggling as of late, dropping their fourth-straight game to the Panthers on Saturday, Ludvig is confident he can contribute to getting things back on track in Pittsburgh.

“Getting injured in your first game is not how you want to start your career, but it’s been good the last few games here,” Ludvig said.

“The last few games here, we’ve been struggling a bit, but we have a good group in here and we are confident that were are going to turn it around.”



  • When: Sunday, 1 p.m.
  • Where: Nationwide Arena, Columbus
  • TV/Streaming: Bally Sports Florida, ESPN+
  • Radio: WQAM 560-AM; WBZT 1230-AM (West Palm Beach); WCTH 100.3-FM (Florida Keys); WCZR 101.7-FM (Treasure Coast); SiriusXM
  • Panthers Radio Streaming: SiriusXM 932, NHL/Panthers App
  • Last Season: Florida won 2-1
  • This Season (Florida leads 1-0) — At Florida: Panthers 5, Jackets 4 OT (Nov.6); Ap. 11. At Columbus: Sunday
  • All-time Regular Season Series: Columbus leads 26-18-4
  • Up Next for the Panthers: Tuesday at Seattle, 10 p.m.

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