Pittsburgh Penguins 2018 Draft Review and Development Camp Updates

Mark Allan


Pittsburgh Penguins logo courtesy of 1000logos.net

31 in 31 Series, July: Pittsburgh Penguins


Squeezed hard even against the increased $79.5-million salary cap limit, GM Jim Rutherford has had a hectic off-season. So far, he’s drafted four hopefuls, dealt Conor Sheary, Matt Hunwick, Carter Rowney and Jarred Tinordi, and signed UFAs who include Jack Johnson and Matt Cullen – as well as retaining numerous prospects led by Daniel Sprong and Dominik Simon – and making at least a dozen other transactions.


Unless he indulges in one or more of the intriguing rumors making the rounds (i.e. trading Phil Kessel), Rutherford’s lone remaining preseason challenge is extending top netminding prospect Tristan Jarry. According to CapFriendly, the Pens have 23 roster players under contract, another 21 signed and just a projected $745,000 left to retain RFA Jarry, whose previous AAV was $905,000. He’ll expect a modest raise at the least.


Draft Review


2nd Round: 53rd Overall – Calen Addison, D

Compared to Kris Letang should he reach his potential, the 5-10, 180-pounder used keen offensive instincts and oodles of PP time to rack up 65 points in 68 WHL games for Lethbridge. That included 54 assists, underscoring his ability as a man-advantage QB, not a triggerman. Minus-18 with the Hurricanes, though, raises questions about defensive commitment. Unless he addresses this side of his game, Addison might top out as a bottom-four blueliner/power-play specialist.


2nd Round: 58th Overall – Filip Hållander, C/W

Pittsburgh liked the determined Swede enough to move up to draft him. The competitive, versatile youngster plays a mature, two-way game that includes diligent forechecking and backchecking. He shoots and passes equally well, although some scouts want more offense, physicality and better skating. He had just 20 points in 40 Swedish second-tier games, but impressed by playing through an injury. Signed to a three-year, entry-level deal, he projects as a pro third-liner with second-line upside. He’s on loan to a Swedish Hockey League team.


5th Round: 129th Overall – Justin Almeida, LW

The pint-sized sparkplug erupted for 98 points (including 43 goals) in 72 games for Moose Jaw, almost three times the production of his previous 120 WHL games. Almeida ensured he wouldn’t be overlooked in a second straight NHL draft by using superior skating and highlight-reel playmaking. Creativity, a quick release and silky hands are in his toolkit. His size undoubtedly was a factor in his draft position and he will have to prove himself against minor-pro men before getting an NHL shot.


6th Round: 177th Overall – Liam Gorman, C

The Penguins rolled the dice late in the