Pittsburgh Penguins General Manager Jim Rutherford announced today that the Penguins have extended defenceman Juuso Riikola. The deal is a two-year deal that will carry him through the 2021-22 season. It carries an annual value of 1.5 million dollars.
The Penguins have re-signed defenseman Juuso Riikola to a two-year contract.
The deal runs through the 2021.22 campaign and carries an average annual value of $1.15 million.
— Pittsburgh Penguins (@penguins) September 5, 2020
Juuso Riikola Staying With Penguins
The NHL Playoffs have not yet ended, however, the Penguins are staying very busy. Regardless of the timeframe, Rutherford is making sure he gets an early start on a short offseason. It started with a trade for Kasperi Kapanen and now continues with re-signing Riikola to a two-year deal.
Riikola is a 26-year-old who comes from Finland. He went undrafted in the NHL, however, his improvement in the SM-Liiga showed Pittsburgh there was potential. Now, over his two seasons currently in the NHL, he has 73 games played. In those games, he has posted three goals, nine assists, and 12 points. He has also added 16 penalty minutes in those games.
Despite this, Rutherford felt very strongly about him, saying “When he is on his game, Juuso has shown the ability to be a solid contributor for our team. We feel he is going to take the next step forward in his development.”
Riikola will obviously be a depth player for the Penguins going forward. However, at the price tag, it could be a very solid deal. With a flat cap over the next couple of seasons, it is important for teams to have lots of depth and for cheap. Especially a team like Pittsburgh that is always close to the salary cap.
Justin Schultz is likely gone this season so there will certainly be some more minutes available for every other defenceman. Pittsburgh has also talked about how they want to make changes after being upset in the qualifying round of the NHL’s Return To Play this year. It’s possible other defencemen could be on the move eventually, which would open up more time for Riikola.