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Penguins D Juuso Riikola Heads Back to Europe, Signs with SHL Team

After four seasons between the NHL and AHL, Juuso Riikola has ended his tenure with North American hockey.

Juuso Riikola was signed by the Pittsburgh Penguins prior to the 2018-19 NHL season, and his presence caused a log jam on the teams’ blue line.

Thanks to the surplus of defensemen in the Penguins organization, Riikola was never given a fair shake in showing what he can do as an NHL regular.

Over the past four seasons, he bounced between the NHL and AHL accumulating 138 games between the two leagues.

With an expiring contract, and extremely inconsistent playing time, Riikola opted for a new opportunity outside of North American hockey.

It was announced that Riikola has signed with IK Oskarshamn of the Swedish Hockey League.

In the release from Oskarshamn, Riikola said that his four years in North America were good but he needed a change.

Riikola also described himself as a puck-moving defenseman, which is exactly what the Penguins got from him over four years.

In 80 NHL games, Riikola scored three goals and picked up 10 assists for 13 career points.

The 2021-22 season Saw him play 53 games in the AHL with the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins and he was a solid contributor picking up 35 points (1-34).

Riikola will go down as a wildly under-appreciated defender who, if given more opportunities, could have carved a nice career in the NHL.

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