The Pittsburgh Penguins will not be flush with prospects until they exit their current “win now” mode. Until the Penguins win their last Stanley Cup as a group or give up that ghost, the prospect pool will be little more than a shallow group used as much for trade bait as it will be to transition to the future.
Check out the bottom half of the Penguins prospect pool, No. 6 through 10, here.
PHN will admit to leaving one prospect dangle; Kasper Bjorkqvist did not make the top-10. By reputation, he easily slides into the back half of the list but his vanilla training camp and early season knee injury, which robbed him of his first professional season, leave his standing nebulous.
The Penguins loaned their 2016 second-round pick to the Finnish SM-Liiga league this fall. A severe knee injury that required surgery and months of rehab to a prospect who was already not a great skater could be the kiss of death. So, we’ll simply give Bjorkqvist an “Incomplete,” give him an honorable mention and watch him in Finland to gauge his game.
A couple of mid-round picks could deepen the Penguins prospect pool, which is suddenly blueline heavy. However, the Penguins defenseman prospects have an equal chance of falling short as they do succeeding. The top of the Penguins prospect pool may be high risk, high reward, just as the defenseman who will lead the blueline.
The COVID-19 pandemic also means we will not be able to put live eyes on the prospects this fall. It also means the kids aren’t working their craft and could be set back by a half-season or more.
All right, enough set up. Here we go.