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Puljujarvi joins Penguins on professional tryout

Rich Graessle / National Hockey League / Getty

Unrestricted free-agent forward Jesse Puljujarvi joined the Pittsburgh Penguins on a professional tryout, the team announced Sunday.

Puljujarvi tallied five goals and 16 points in 75 games last season with the Edmonton Oilers and Carolina Hurricanes. The 25-year-old underwent double hip surgery in the summer and was recently cleared to return to full contact training.

"Jesse's a guy that has played in the league and had some success and could potentially help us in some capacity," head coach Mike Sullivan said after Sunday's practice.

Puljujarvi alternated with Drew O'Connor on the Penguins' top line alongside Jake Guentzel and Sidney Crosby during his first reps with the team, according to the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review's Seth Rorabaugh.

Taken fourth overall by the Oilers in 2016, Puljujarvi struggled to live up to the hype of his draft pedigree. He went back to Finland after three seasons with the Oilers and returned to Edmonton in 2020.

His second stint with the Oilers was more successful, recording a career-high 15 goals in 55 games during 2020-21. Puljujarvi tallied a career-best 36 points in 65 contests the following campaign.

Amid scoring struggles last season, Edmonton traded Puljujarvi and his $3-million cap hit to the Hurricanes. The Finn failed to register a goal in 17 regular-season and seven playoff games with Carolina, posting just three assists. The Hurricanes didn't tender a qualifying offer to Puljujarvi, making him an unrestricted free agent.

Puljujarvi can't play games with the Penguins until he signs a standard player contract. He remains eligible to ink a deal with any team, and Pittsburgh has no obligation to sign him.

The Penguins have only $17,351 of cap space with its current roster, according to CapFriendly.

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