When Florida acquired defenseman Olli Juolevi from Vancouver at the beginning of the season in exchange for defenseman Noah Juulsen and center Juho Lammikko, they were hoping they’d be able to unlock some of the potential that made him the fifth-overall pick in 2016. That hasn’t happened and they’ve decided to try someone else in that roster spot as Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman reports (Twitter link) that the Panthers have placed the 23-year-old on waivers.
Juolevi has been limited to just 10 NHL games this season, only one of which has come in the last six weeks. As has often been the case throughout his career, injuries have been an issue as he has missed 29 games due to injury plus three more for a stint in COVID protocol. When he has been in Florida’s lineup, he hasn’t done a whole lot, averaging just 12:27 per game while not recording any points.
The Panthers recently signed Petteri Lindbohm after his deal overseas ended when Jokerit pulled out of the KHL and it’s likely that he will get a look in that seventh defenseman role in the short term while Florida has been looking to add to their back end between now and the trade deadline.
As for Juolevi, it’s certainly possible he gets claimed. With a league-minimum contract, it’s one that most teams would be able to afford and a rebuilding team may be inclined to take a look at him with the pressure off. He’s set to become a restricted free agent this summer with arbitration eligibility.