The Pittsburgh Penguins are stirring the pot today, announcing a new face in the locker room: Jesse Puljujarvi, snatched up on a tryout contract. Remember him? The guy who was the fourth overall pick back in 2016 by the Oilers, and most recently with the Hurricanes in 2023. And yep, he’s the one who just had hip surgery in the off-season.
Now, for the nitty-gritty. The Penguins, in a bit of a jam with their powerplay (honestly, it’s been rough, almost scraping the bottom of the league), seem to be eyeing Puljujarvi for his defensive chops more than his scoring. Not the news to make Penguins fans jump for joy, but there’s a silver lining.
Shoring up our defense is never a bad idea, and this could be Puljujarvi’s chance to strut his stuff. Plus, getting to skate alongside a legend like Sidney Crosby? That might just be what he needs to tap into that first-round potential. Speaking of skating alongside Crosby, here’s a nugget from Pens Inside Scoop: Puljujarvi got his chance to rotate in on the top line with Sidney Crosby and Drew O’Connor.
Crosby weighed in on Puljujarvi’s first practice with the team, offering his take:
It’s an intriguing move, showing the team might be testing the waters for something more significant with him. Maybe not immediately, but if he can show out going forward, he could find himself in a starting lineup.
Puljujarvi Sounded Motivated Following His Debut Practice
After wrapping up his first practice with the Penguins, Puljujarvi came across as highly motivated to get back in the game and demonstrate his worth to the league. The media asked him about his level of motivation, and here’s what he had to say.
Penguins Head Coach Mike Sullivan didn’t mince words with Puljujarvi: show your worth, and there’s a jersey with your name on it. Talk about a wake-up call, especially for a guy coming off hip surgery and looking to rebound after a less-than-stellar run with other NHL outfits.
It’s crunch time for Puljujarvi. The puck’s on his stick – this is his shot at proving he’s not just another draft-day hope that fizzled out. It’s his play to make, and the world is watching.