The Florida Panthers waived Olli Juolevi on Saturday to make room for the newly-signed Petteri Lindbohm. Coach Andrew Brunette said he hoped Juolevi passed through waivers and would remain with the team.
“Hopefully, OJ clears waivers for four sake, selfishly,” Brunette said on Saturday afternoon. “I would like to see him get playing in Charlotte and building his game.”
It is not going to work out that way.
On Sunday, the Detroit Red Wings claimed Juolevi off of waivers after he played just 10 games in South Florida.
The 23-year-old did not register a point in his brief time with the Panthers.
Juolevi was acquired by Florida in a trade that sent Juho Lammikko and Noah Juulsen to the Vancouver Canucks in October.
After being selected fifth overall in 2016 by the Canucks, his time there resulted in just three points in 23 games.
Florida saw the trade as an opportunity to give Juolevi a fresh start, but it never materialized.
After being traded to Florida, Juolevi missed the first two months of the season with a groin pull. Hd did not play in his first game until Dec. 10.
“This is a really good chance and I am really happy to be here,” Juolevi said. “This is a good team and it feels like a really good place to play hockey right now.”
By the time he got back in the lineup, however, Lucas Carlsson established himself as a consistent option on the bottom pairing next to Brandon Montour.
He played in Florida’s next five games, including their Dec. 16 clash with the Los Angeles Kings where they only played with five defensemen.
Juolevi got the least amount of minutes by a defenseman in that game by a wide margin, skating just 12:01 with each of the other four defensemen skating at least 20 minutes.
After that, Juolevi did not see the lineup again until Jan. 6.
He had another chance to platoon with Carlsson, getting a bigger opportunity when Gus Forsling was placed on the Covid protocol list on Jan. 19, but it did not last long.
The next day, a lower-body injury he sustained in a loss to Calgary flared up and he was placed on injured reserve.
He played just one more game after that, with Carlsson winning the battle for that last spot on the blue line.
Now, Lindbohm takes his spot in the competition for Florida’s sixth defenseman.
FLORIDA PANTHERS ON DECK
FLORIDA PANTHERS AT BUFFALO SABRES
- When: Monday, 7 p.m.
- Where: Key Bank Center, Buffalo
- Tickets: CLICK HERE
- TV/Streaming: Bally Sports Florida
- Radio: WQAM 560-AM, SiriusXM
- 2021 regular season series: Did not play
- Season Series — Florida leads 1-0: @Florida 7, Sabres 4 (Dec. 2)
- All-time regular season series: Buffalo leads 52-43-5, 4 ties