The Pittsburgh Penguins have re-signed defenseman Juuso Riikola to a one-year contract, it was announced today by executive vice president and general manager Jim Rutherford.
The one-way contract has an average annual value of $850,000.
"Juuso has adjusted to the North American style of hockey seamlessly," said assistant general manager Bill Guerin. "He's a very confident guy, and he's also a great skater that moves the puck really well. We expect him to make an even bigger impact this year."
Riikola made his NHL debut during the 2018-19 season on Oct. 11 against Vegas and played 37 games for Pittsburgh last season. During his rookie campaign he collected two goals, three assists and five points with a plus-three. His two goals were scored on the power play, with his first NHL goal standing as the game-winner on Dec. 29 in St. Louis. Pittsburgh went 22-10-5 with Riikola in the lineup last season.
The 6-foot, 189-pound Riikola also played five games with the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins of the American Hockey League last season, collecting two assists.
Before debuting in North America, the 25-year old 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).
Riikola, who went undrafted in the NHL Draft, also recorded 10 points (2G-8A) in 31 playoff games for KalPa. In 2017 he helped his club advance to Finland's championship series after notching seven points (1G-6A) and a plus-7 in 18 postseason contests.
The Joensuu, Finland native was teammates with Olli Maatta on the Finn's 2013 World Junior Championship squad. Riikola also represented Finland internationally at the 2018 World Championship, where he had two assists and a plus-four in eight contests.