Panthers acquire defenseman Olli Juolevi from Canucks

Cats send Lammikko and Juulsen west to Vancouver

The Florida Panthers have acquired 23-year-old defenseman Olli Juolevi from the Vancouver Canucks with center Juho Lammikko and prospect Noah Juulsen going back the other way.

Juolevi was taken fifth overall in the 2016 NHL Entry Draft and played a total of 23 games for the Canucks, all during the 2020-21 season. He produced two goals and an assist and finished the campaign with a -1 rating.

Vancouver hoped that Juolevi would eventually become a Top 4 defenseman for the club, but it looked like he was heading back to the minors after losing a roster battle with Jack Rathbone, so the Canucks decided to add depth in spark plug Lammikko and Juulsen, who is another defenseman who hasn’t panned out yet.

Lammikko, 25, returned from Europe and appeared in 44 games with the Cats last season, producing four goals and one assist. He did not play in Florida’s playoff loss to the Tampa Bay Lightning.

Juulsen played four games for the Panthers, who claimed him off waivers from the Montreal Canadiens on January 11, and another five AHL games for the Syracuse Crunch.

Juolevi’s best attribute is his sound defensive game which combines a good hockey IQ with the ability to make a solid first pass. He signed a one-year, one-way deal at the league minimum on August 9, and will be a restricted free agent after this season.