Photo credit:Pittsburgh Penguins
Pittsburgh Penguins sign Jesse Puljujarvi to free agent tryout
By Zach Laing2 months ago
Jesse Puljujarvi is vying for a return to the National Hockey League, and the Pittsburgh Penguins are giving him a chance.
The club announced Sunday morning that Puljujarvi would join the team on a free-agent tryout, which operates like a professional tryout.
Puljujarvi, 25, underwent double hip surgery this past offseason, and was recently cleared for contact, saying his motivation level is “really, really high.”
“Coming back here, show everyone I’m a good player for this league,” Puljujarvi told Penguins team reporter Michelle Crechiolo. “I’m looking forward to it.”
Under the terms of the tryout, the Penguins cover all of Puljujarvi’s expenses for 10 days, before the player accounts for them. There’s no limit of how many days a player can be on a professional tryout for, but on Sunday, Penguins management was on hand to watch Puljujarvi practice with the team.
There, as noted by the Tribune-Review’s Seth Rorabaugh, Puljujarvi skated on the Penguins’ top line alongside Sidney Crosby and Jake Guentzel, rotating in with winger Drew O’Connor. The Penguins, who have gotten off to a sluggish start this season, going 11-12-3 with just two standings points more than the lowly Columbus Blue Jackets, are without their two top-six right-wingers. Rickard Rakell landed on the long-term injured reserve on Nov. 21 with an upper-body injury keeping him out on a week-to-week basis, while Bryan Rust is dealing with an upper-body injury of his own.
Drafted by the Oilers fourth overall in the 2016 draft, few players were more maligned in Edmonton than Puljujarvi was over his six years with the team. Despite some offensive shortcomings over time, he still scored 51 goals and 112 points in 317 games, but where he shined was his play without the puck. A tenacious forechecker who consistently drove play in the right direction, over his full tenure with the Oilers at 5v5, Edmonton controlled 53.1 percent of the shot attempt share, 51.5 percent of the goals scored, 54.2 percent of the expected goal share, and 53.2 percent of the scoring chances.
Now, Puljujarvi will look to revive his NHL career.
Zach Laing is the Nation Network’s news director and senior columnist. He can be followed on Twitter at @zjlaing, or reached by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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