PITTSBURGH — Mike Sullivan had to alter his comments midstream after admitting defenseman Juuso Riikola is a player who could help the Penguins. To keep Riikola on the NHL roster would almost certainly require trying to slip an NHL defenseman through waivers and so it would not be an easy decision for the Penguins. However, Sullivan’s present tense comments belied the difficult decision Riikola is forcing upon the team.
Keep Riikola on the NHL roster? His play is making a lot of noise, literally and figuratively.
After a training camp of impressive play and increasingly solid play in the preseason games, the notion to keep Riikola in the NHL no longer seems absurd or in the distant future. The smooth-skating defenseman is turning more heads with each passing day.
The Penguins coaches must have been curious, too.