The 31-in-31 Offseason Series is an annual event here at DobberProspects! Every day in December we will be bringing you a complete breakdown of a team’s prospect depth chart, riser & fallers, and top prospect ranking.
As Jim Rutherford and the rest of the Penguins front office continues to try and squeeze another Stanley Cup or two out of Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin, the prospect cupboard remains pretty empty.
Prior to the 2020 NHL Draft, the Penguins once again traded away their first-round pick. This time, they also gave up promising centreman Filip Hallander, acquiring Kaspari Kapapen from the Maple Leafs in return.
The Penguins 2019 21st overall pick, Sam Poulin, remains the only blue-chip prospect in the organization, amongst a few pieces that could see some usage at the bottom of the lineup soon. As the team continues to fight for another cup, they also seem to be trying to fight for the worst prospect pool in the league.
The second goaltender off the board at the 2020 Draft, following Yaroslav Askarov, Blomqvist immediately became the best goaltender in the Penguins pipeline.
He has already drawn comparisons to the team’s new starter, Tristan Jarry. They both play a strong positional game, staying poised in the net so they don’t have to make any desperation saves.
The 18-year-old has played with the Karpat U20 team for two seasons. This season, he has made the full transition to the pros, splitting time between the Liiga and the Mestis, on loan to Hermes.
Having represented the Finnish National team his whole junior career, he will again backstop them at this year’s World Junior Championships.
The wonderfully-named goaltender has been loaned to Kristianstads IK of the Allsvenskan league, after coming through the ranks at Rogle BK. Clang has a .939 save percentage and a 1.81 goals-against average in eight starts in Sweden’s second-tier this season.
Pittsburgh’s scouts seem to know what they want in a goaltender: their third-round pick from this year’s draft plays deep in his crease just like Blomqvist and Jarry.
Clang will start the World Juniors as the third-string netminder for Sweden behind Hugo Alnefelt and Jesper Wallstedt.
The Pens signed the defenseman this summer, after two impressive seasons with Arizona State. He will join Wilkes-Barre when the AHL season and could very well join Pierre-Olivier Joseph on the top pairing.
Another signing out of college, O’Connor will join Maniscalco on the farm team. Standing at six-foot-three, 190 lbs, the winger has a nose for a net. He lit the lamp 21 times in 31 games for Dartmouth College last year and has six more in seven games with Manglerud in Norway, so far this season.
After trading away so many picks, it’s clear the Penguins are working hard to find and poach talent from the NCAA. Lee is the third free-agent Pittsburgh has nabbed out of Division one during the off-season. Playing with HC Slovan Bratislava of the Slovak first division at the moment, the smooth-skating defenseman will join Wilkes-Barre when his loan is over.
The Penguins’ seventh-round pick from 2017 will join the Wilkes-Barre blueline after four seasons with Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute.
After losing Calen Addison, Filip Hallander, and their 2020 first-round pick through trades this season, Penguins fans are desperate to hold onto their crown jewel prospect.