Pittsburgh Penguins defensive prospect Niclas Almari has headed overseas. The 24-year-old defenseman signed a two-year contract with Lukko in Finland, sending him back to his native country for the time being.
Almari just completed the final year of his three-year entry-level contract. If the Penguins issue him a qualifying offer, they will retain his rights and he will remain a restricted free agent on their reserve list. He could theoretically return to the organization when his contract in Finland is done.
The Penguins actually had sent Almari to Lukko on loan for most of last season. Almari spent 13 games with AHL Wilkes-Barre/Scranton, tallying just two points, and he also had four assists in six games with the ECHL’s Wheeling Nailers. He then spent 15 games back with Lukko, recording two assists. He went pointless in seven playoff games there.
A fifth-round pick in 2016, Almari has yet to solidify any role within the Penguins organization. Barring a gigantic jump in his development overseas, it’s likely the end of Almari’s North American career.