After the rumor broke late last week that the Pittsburgh Penguins were in contract negotiations with Janne Pesonen, the majority of Pens' fans were left wondering... who?
I had never heard the name before but, thanks to a little research, I came to find that Pesonen led the Finnish Elite League with 78 points in 56 games last season.
Pesonen also led his team, Oulu Karpat, to its fifth league championship by tallying 16 points (seven goals) in the playoffs.
The Penguins have signed Pesonen to a one-year, two-way contract, as mandated by the NHL's transfer agreement with Finland.
The 5-11, 180-pound former ninth round draft pick of the Anaheim Ducks in 2004 has spent his entire career in the Finnish Elite League, where he was named Rookie of the Year in 2004 and playoff MVP in 2007.
Pesonen's speed and stick-handling ability suggest that he could become a legitimate scoring threat in the NHL, on one condition.
That condition is whether or not Pesonen can quickly adapt to the much more physical nature of North American hockey as opposed to the run-and-gun freewheeling style which is played in Europe.
Although this signing is good news for the Pens, there is no guarantee that Pesonen will even be in the opening night lineup. He must attend training camp and make a good impression, like any other first-year player, whose name isn't Crosby or Malkin, would.
Source: Pittsburgh Post-Gazette website, July 7