Call if the rookie tournament or prospect challenge, the Pittsburgh Penguins growing prospect pool will be showcased against the best of other teams before training camp in September. The Penguins prospects will again compete against the Buffalo Sabres prospects at the Harbor Center in Buffalo, Sept. 6-9. The New Jersey Devils and Boston Bruins will also send the kids, per NHL.com.
The Penguins prospects had a miserable go last year and did not win a game. In a couple of games, they weren’t even competitive. However, that should change this season as top defenseman prospect Calen Addison, 19, is a year older and more physically mature. Pierre Oliver Joseph, 20, who was acquired with Alex Galchenyuk in the Phil Kessel trade, was the Arizona 2017 first-round choice (23rd overall).
In addition to a greater depth of defensemen prospects, the Penguins also snagged a pair of highly touted forwards in the 2019 NHL Draft. In the first round, the Penguins drafted Sam Poulin. Then in the third round, the Penguins traded back into the round to pick Nathan Legare, who had a first-round grade according to several scouting services.
The Penguins goaltending prospect pool was so shallow last September, they signed two players to ATO contracts to backup depth prospect Alex D’Orio. This season, Finnish rookie Emil Larmi, 22, could be the Penguins Prospect Challenge starter.
Poulin, Legare, and Larmi performed well in the Penguins Development Camp in June. Penguins prospect and former Providence College forward Kasper Bjorkqvist may be able to participate this year. He could not last year because of college eligibility rules.
In addition the Penguins top picks, they will most likely face 2019 top overall draft choice, Jack Hughes with the New Jersey Devils.
Each team will play three games in the round-robin tournament. Rosters have not yet been announced but the only player from the Penguins 2018 squad to play in the NHL was forward Adam Johnson, who played just five NHL games last season.
Pittsburgh Penguins Prospects Schedule
Friday, Sept. 6 (Harbor Center, Buffalo)
–Penguins vs. Boston, 3:30 p.m.
Saturday, Sept. 7
–New Jersey vs. Penguins, 3:30 p.m.
Monday, Sept. 9
–Buffalo vs. Penguins, 12:30 p.m.
Pittsburgh Hockey Now will have full coverage of the event and prospect analysis.