On Sunday, February 4, the Pittsburgh Penguins signed Jesse Puljujarvi to a two-year deal worth 1.6 million dollars. At just 25 years old, this is already his third NHL team after spending his first five and a half seasons with the team that drafted him in the Edmonton Oilers and the last half season with the Carolina Hurricanes.
Puljujarvi was a former fourth-overall pick back in 2016. However, he has not been worthy of that selection as his best season was the 2021-2022 season where he had 14 goals and 22 assists for a total of 36 points. He was also a +22. He was drafted ahead of franchise-caliber players such as Adam Fox, Matthew Tkachuk, Charlie McAvoy, Tage Thompson, Clayton Keller, Carter Hart, Jordan Kyrou, and Alex DeBrincat.
After spending some time with the Scranton Wilkes-Barre Penguins (the AHL team of the Pittsburgh Penguins) when he signed on December 10. In 13 games, he had four goals and five assists for a total of nine points. He also had a +/- of -8. However, after almost two months in the AHL, he gets back to the NHL and hopes to stay there for the foreseeable future.
Jesse Puljujarvi is a solid addition to the Pittsburgh Penguins
This is a no-risk, high-reward move for the Penguins as he was given a two-year deal on a team-friendly contract. If he succeeds and can show off the talent he possessed back in 2016, then the Penguins have a solid bottom-six winger who can be a solid net presence at 6'4.
A change of scenery for Puljujarvi could be the best thing for his career after a nearly two-month hiatus in the AHL. His time in the minors hopefully allowed him to reset and gain his confidence back.
Penguins fans are hoping Puljujarvi can make an impact on a rather lacking bottom-six as of late. However, that has also been due to Penguins players dealing with injuries. Penguins fans would be even more ecstatic if he could contribute to their lackluster powerplay that is ranked second to last in the league.
The Penguins' powerplay has been abysmal as they are second to last in the league at 13.07%. That is embarrassing for a powerplay unit containing guys such as Sidney Crosby, Jake Guentzel, Evgeni Malkin, Kris Letang, and Erik Karlsson.
The main issue with their powerplay besides scoring is having a net presence in front to either screen the goalie and/or be in front of the net for a deflection. Once acclimated and if playing well, Puljujarvi could be a nice addition to the second powerplay unit due to his 6'4 frame.