CRANBERRY — Perhaps the Pittsburgh Penguins and Jesse Puljujarvi will need a little more time to figure things out.
Puljujarvi, 25, signed a free-agent tryout agreement with the Penguins eight days ago. The tryout does not have a deadline, but the team pays the player’s expenses for only the first 10 days. After that, the player may continue but at his own expense.
The right-winger had double hip resurfacing surgery last summer. His procedure was performed by the surgeon also who completed the same surgery on Patrick Kane last summer. A few weeks ago, Kane signed with the Detroit Red Wings, but it doesn’t appear Puljujarvi is as far along.
Unfortunately, for both the player and team, Puljujarvi has not skated since his first practice, and coach Mike Sullivan implied that Puljujarvi has more work to do before being ready for more on-ice workouts.
“He has been working with our strength and conditioning guys. He has not been on the ice for the last little while,” Sullivan said. “Obviously, he went through major surgery and is trying to work through that process. We had anticipated that when he (signed). So there’s going to be a process where he’s going to be on the ice, off the ice, that type of thing. He’s been working with our medical team and our strength and conditioning guys with respect to that.”
In 75 games split between Edmonton (58) and Carolina (17) last season season, Puljujarvi had 16 points (5-11-16). The 2016 fourth-overall pick has struggled to firmly establish himself in Edmonton’s lineup and had a standing trade request for a couple of seasons before joining the club for the last few campaigns.
Without skating, Puljujarvi is unlikely to get a contract but may continue until able to participate in practices and both sides are able to make a decision. The NHL holiday roster freeze begins on Dec. 20, and no player transactions may take place until Dec. 27.