Organizational Rankings 27. Pittsburgh Penguins

Hayden Soboleski

2024-04-11

Pittsburgh – 64.3

Top 15 Prospects

Rank Player Position Score Fantrax Roster %
1. Brayden Yager C 7.4 23%
2. Owen Pickering D 6.2 16%
3. Joel Blomqvist G 6.1 11%
4. Valtteri Puustinen RW/LW 5.0 9%
5. Samuel Poulin C/LW 4.9 11%
6. Matthew Phillips* C 3.9 6%
7. Mikhail Ilyin LW/RW 3.7 2%
8. Filip Hallander C 3.5 2%
9. Sergey Murashov G 3.2 4%
10. Jack Rathbone D 2.7 6%
11. Tristan Broz C 2.6 3%
12. Zam Plante C 2.2 1%
13. John Ludvig D 1.7 4%
14. Lukas Svejkovsky C 1.5 1%
15. Jonathan Gruden LW 1.5 1%

*Has been claimed off waivers by Washington since ranking took place

 

Individual Breakdown:

It’s been 7 years since Pittsburgh’s back-to-back Cup wins, and very little effort has been made in that time to reload the organization with young talent. You certainly can’t blame the Penguins to go all-in while Crosby continues to be a superstar, but the results are starting to speak for themselves.

The team’s most recent 1st-round pick Brayden Yager was the consensus top prospect from all participants, followed by Pickering and Blomqvist in a dead heat. With a F, D, and G going 1, 2, 3, the top prospect at each position seems to be in agreement for any drafters who like prioritizing their picks that way. 

After the top 3, the average scores drop off noticeably and the list features a mix of fringe NHLers who may contribute in a few stat categories, some prospects who have taken longer than expected to start contributing, and some longshots:

Looking at my fellow writers’ scores, I have likely personally been too low on Pickering. As a general rule, I try not to over-rate 20-year-olds (especially 6-03 ones) in Junior leagues, given the advantage their maturity and size gives them in those leagues. He also didn’t hit the point-per-game mark, but offense certainly isn’t the only tool in his utility belt so I will defer to the others who likely watched him more than me. I was also lower on Blomqvist than my peers – this is purely due to the typical wait time on goaltenders and my assumption that Pittsburgh will prefer to rely on more veteran netminders while Crosby is in the league and pushing for competitiveness.

Other than that, the main discrepancies in the ranking seem to come from differences in preference between upside and NHL-likelihood. Names like Ludvig, Gruden, Puustinen, Hallander, and Phillips (who has moved yet again) got a wide range of scores despite having relatively low upsides given that they are likely to at least provide a few spot starts for lineups in the next year. Names like Ilyin and Murashov got some decent scores for their upside, despite not having as clear of a path forward. This will show up in every ranking, which is why this activity included so many participants!

The Fantrax ownership for the entire list reflects the scores fairly well – Blomqvist may be under-owned based on our scores, and those Rathbone owners still hanging on may want to upgrade to a higher-upside prospect.

The Penguins have no 1st- or 3rd-round picks in the 2024 draft* to start stocking the cupboards but have two 2nds and their future 1sts so fans will have some new names to start following soon. The squad also picked up a handful of prospects in the Carolina Guentzel trade, which will definitely freshen up the next iteration of this list!

*If Pittsburgh ends up with a top-10 pick after the draft lottery, they can keep their 2024 1st and give their 2025 1st to San Jose instead in the Karlsson deal)

LATEST PROFILE UPDATES

Name Fantasy Upside NHL Certainty
Tristan Luneau 7.5 8.0
Zachary Nehring 4.5 5.0
Jacob Julien 5.5 5.0
Antti Tuomisto 4.5 6.0
Aku Räty 5.8 5.0
Miko Matikka 6.5 6.5
Nathan Smith 6.2 6.0
Jan Jenik 7.2 6.5
Ilya Fedotov 6.0 3.0
Noel Nordh 6.5 7.0

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