Another rookie from the farm team will get a chance. The Pittsburgh Penguins swapped fourth line forwards Wednesday with the recall of speedy winger Adam Johnson. To make room for Johnson, the Penguins re-assigned both defenseman Juuso Riikola and forward Joseph Blandisi to Wilkes-Barre/Scranton of the AHL.
Johnson will likely make his NHL debut Thursday night as the Penguins are in Nashville.
Johnson, 24, is in his second professional season. He ranks second on the team with 40 points (18g, 22a) in 63 games. He has points in eight of his last 11 games (4g, 5a).
The winger was one of the few standouts for the Penguins rookie tournament team in September. After three seasons in the USHL, Johnson played two years collegiately for the University of Minnesota-Duluth. The Penguins signed Johnson as an undrafted free agent after he attended their 2017 development camp.
Johnson is 6-foot tall and 175 pounds, but his speed is his best asset. He had 31 points (11g, 20a) as a rookie last season.
Blandisi was acquired by the Penguins for forward Derek Grant in January. He played six games for the Penguins in two NHL stints without recording a point.
Riikola was a European signing surprise who made the team in training camp. This season, he played 37 games with five points (2g, 3a) and 10 penalty minutes. Riikola figured to be a casualty of the Penguins depth of defenseman. Olli Maatta will likely return soon and the Penguins would have nine healthy defensemen.
Riikola was assigned to WBS Penguins as a paper transaction on Feb. 26. He is eligible for the AHL playoffs.
Because Riikola is on his entry-level contract, he does not have to clear waivers. Penguins defenseman Zach Trotman is not waiver exempt and could have been claimed had the Penguins attempted to demote him.