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Pittsburgh Penguins Lose Marcus Pettersson and Juuso Riikola to Injury

Marcus Pettersson

Pittsburgh Penguins head coach, Mike Sullivan, announced today that two of the team’s defencemen, Marcus Pettersson and Juuso Riikola will be out for an extended period due to injury. Sullivan anticipates Pettersson to be week-to-week, while Riikola is likely to be out of the lineup long term.

Penguins’ Marcus Pettersson and Juuso Riikola Injured

Both players sustained injuries during their 5-4 overtime loss to the Washington Capitals on January 20. Pettersson left the ice during the second period of the game after taking an open-ice hit from Capitals forward T.J. Oshie. Riikola played through two periods of the game, but never returned to the bench for the third period. Both players are listed as having upper-body injuries and will both miss some time

Petterson, a second-round pick from the 2014 NHL Entry Draft, has appeared in all four of Pittsburgh’s games this year. He has notched one assist so far. Last season he put up his second-best season statistically, scoring two goals and 20 assists for 22 total points. Riikola was a European signing for the club ahead of the 2018-19 season. He has played in 75 games with the Penguins in which he has notched three goals and nine assists for 12 points on his short NHL career.

What This Means for the Future

Both players are depth defenders for the ageing Penguins. Pettersson established himself last season as a valuable left-handed option last season and was looking to continue that trend. With both players being out, this likely leaves room for top Penguins defence prospect Pierre-Oliver Joseph. Drafted as the 23rd pick in the 2017 NHL Entry Draft, he was a key return for the penguins in the Phil Kessel deal two summers ago. Lasts season with the team’s AHL affiliate he played 52 games and put up three goals and 14 assists. He is a bright spot in the Penguins shallow prospect pool, and his debut has been a few seasons in the making.

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