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Penguins Recall Juuso Riikola While Letang in Protocol

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Pittsburgh Penguins Juuso Riikola

On Saturday morning, Pittsburgh Penguins head coach Mike Sullivan admitted a call-up was likely on Saturday afternoon as the team received news Saturday morning that top defenseman Kris Letang tested positive for COVID and entered the NHL protocol.

Letang is out for Saturday night while Letang undergoes confirmation tests.

Saturday, the Penguins recalled defenseman Juuso Riikola from the WBS Penguins. Riikola is a fourth-year professional on an NHL-only deal. He did not make the roster out of training camp but has played 75 NHL games.

From the Pittsburgh Penguins release:

The Pittsburgh Penguins have recalled defenseman Juuso Riikola from the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins of the American Hockey League, it was announced today by general manager Ron Hextall.

Riikola, 27, attended Pittsburgh’s training camp and played in four preseason games with the Penguins. This season, the defenseman has played in three games with the WBS Penguins, recording two assists.

The 6-foot, 189-pound blueliner played in two games for the Penguins during the 2020-21 campaign and practiced with the team’s taxi squad for the majority of the year. 

The Joensuu, Finland native has dressed for 75 career NHL games, scoring three goals, nine assists and 12 points with a plus-6. In eight career AHL games, split between the 2018-19 and ’21-22 seasons, Riikola has tallied four assists.

Before debuting in North America, the blueliner played six seasons with KalPa in Finland’s top professional league. Riikola made his professional debut in Finland as a 19-year old in 2012-13. In 283 career games with KalPa, Riikola recorded 26 goals, 63 assists and 89 points. He served as an alternate captain for KalPa for three consecutive seasons (2015-18).

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