The Penguins have signed Finnish D Juuso Riikola to a 1 year Entry Level Contract.
The 24 year old measures in at 6’0 and 190 pounds, and possesses strong leadership ability as he has served as an alternate captain for KalPa since he was 21 years old. In his previous 3 seasons while serving as an alternate, he has skated the most time on ice per game of all KalPa’s D. In 17-18, he averaged a career high 23:41 a night, while adding 8 goals and 16 assists while only having the 5th highest offensive zone starts percentage.
While his puck possession numbers are not particularly stellar, given his deployment and significant portion of time spent on the ice, the concern should be tempered.
Given the lack of prospects on D for the Penguins, this is a very good signing for the team and it is certainly possible for Riikola to make the NHL out of training camp. According to Twitter account FinnProspects, Riikola is “A very good, modern defenseman. High mobility, very good gap control, can play physical, very efficient with the stick. Also decent offensive game”.