The Pittsburgh Penguins were wheeling and dealing in the seventh round of the 2019 NHL Draft. The Penguins had their eyes on a couple of Finnish prospects, and it appears one of those late-rounders could pay off with Valtteri Puustinen.
On Thursday afternoon, the Penguins signed Puustinen to a two-year entry-level contract. Pusstinen, 21, was the Penguins’ first of two seventh-rounders (203rd overall) and his contract will begin next season.
“Valtteri is a skilled forward with a great shot who utilizes his speed to play the style of game that we want to play here in Pittsburgh,” said assistant general manager Patrik Allvin. “He’s really matured as a player over the last couple of years playing with HPK and the Finnish national team, which is really exciting for us.”
The Penguins could add several prospects to the WBS Penguins roster next season as Sam Poulin and Nathan Legare will be eligible to play professional hockey, too.
From the Pittsburgh Penguins release:
The 5-foot-9, 183-pound Puustinen spent the 2020-21 season with HPK of Liiga, Finland’s top professional league, recording 41 points (21G-20A) in 51 games. His 21 goals led all HPK skaters and were tied for eighth in the league, while his 41 points were second-most on HPK. He was one of just four skaters in Liiga to record 20 or more goals and assists this season.
Puustinen has spent the last three seasons with HPK, registering 94 points (48G-46A) in 152 games. Puustinen helped HPK win the Liiga Championship in 2019, notching five points (2G-3A) in 16 playoff games, where he was teammates with current Penguins’ prospects Niclas Almari, Emil Larmi, and Jesper Lindgren.
A native of Kuopio, Finland, Puustinen won a gold medal with Team Finland at the 2019 IIHF World Junior Championships, where he suited up for six games and had three assists. He is currently at Team Finland’s 2021 World Championship camp, vying for a spot on the team.
The video package below is not from the Pittsburgh Penguins.