Pittsburgh Penguins defenseman Brooks Orpik will return to the lineup on Friday when his team takes on the Carolina Hurricanes in Raleigh, per Josh Yohe of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review.
Orpik has missed Pittsburgh’s last eight games because of a concussion suffered on Dec. 7 against the Boston Bruins. The team activated him off injured reserve on Friday, and he participated in the team’s morning skate.
Prior to his injury, Orpik tallied seven points (one goal, six assists) with 62 blocked shots and 92 hits in 31 games.
The Penguins blue line has been hit hard by injuries this year with veterans such as Kris Letang, Rob Scuderi, Paul Martin and Orpik all missing multiple games. Letang, Scuderi and Martin still aren’t ready to return to game action.
In place of these veterans, young players and top prospects including Olli Maatta, Brian Dumoulin and Simon Despres have been asked to play larger roles, and the results have been positive. Maatta, a first-round pick in 2012, has excelled as a power-play quarterback and a puck-moving defenseman. His strong play may result in him being selected to Finland’s roster for the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi.