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Penguins Blog: No Effect on Nedeljkovic, Fans React to Streaming



Pittsburgh Penguins, Sidney Crosby, Alex Nedeljkovic. Stanley Cup playoffs await

The Pittsburgh Penguins kept 2019 first-round pick Sam Poulin in the fold for the next two seasons but also brought in a Swedish goalie who was a former Detroit Red Wings draft pick.

Immediately, more questions about Alex Nedeljkovic’s future arose.

Filip Larsson, 25, is the Swedish goalie about whom little is known. He was a sixth-round Red Wings pick in 2016 but has taken a circuitous route back to North America.

And that’s why fans shouldn’t read too much into the signing.

Penguins’ top goalie prospect Joel Bloomqvist decidedly did not perform well in the AHL playoffs, drawing a clear distinction between his playoff performance and his regular season dominance (I’m proud to tell you PHN was the only Pittsburgh outlet to get a first-hand look).

Must Read: Penguins Report Card, Scouting Joel Blomqvist (+).

Larsson’s path included a multi-season run in the lower Swedish league. He did not play in the Swedish Elite League until this season. He completed more games at the ECHL level (10) than the AHL (7) in 2019-20 before bolting home to Sweden.

After three seasons in the Swedish minors, he popped this season with Leksands, posting a .920 save percentage in 28 games. He’s 6-foot-2, 194 pounds, so he’s not a small goalie, and the Red Wings, once upon a time, saw potential.

However, it would be silly to think that one season at age 25 would qualify him as the No. 1 goalie with the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins. Nor would his recent pedigree even guarantee him an AHL spot. Recall that Penguins president of hockey operations/GM Kyle Dubas stocked the Penguins’ depth chart last summer.

Dubas signed Magnus Hellberg and Garret Sparks to keep prospects Blomqvist and Taylor Gauthier company. It’s a strategy to both support the team and push the prospects.

In Larsson, the Penguins both have a late-blooming prospect and depth. He could surprise, and that’s always the hope but it should not be the expectation.

Gauthier is a depth goalie who posted an .889 save percentage in only four AHL games this season. It would seem unlikely he would step into the No. 1 role with the WBS Penguins, at least without winning a battle. He’s more likely the ECHL’s Wheeling Nailers goalie or the WBS No. 2.

There was ample opportunity to get him more starts at the AHL level this season, but the Penguins largely kept him in the ECHL.

So, no, Larsson has no bearing on the future of Blomqvist or signifies any final decision on Alex Nedeljkovic. The Penguins organization has space for a goalie or two, and the players will determine who plays where.

Sam Poulin

Consider me surprised Poulin re-signed so quickly. He inked a two-year deal with a bare minimum NHL salary ($775,000), which represents a pay cut from his entry-level deal that carried an $863,000 salary. However, it’s a slight raise in the minors, from $70,000 to $100,00 in 2024-25 and $325,000 in 2025-26.

His skating is always going to be an issue that limits him with the Penguins. He awoke for a few good shifts in Game 1 of the AHL playoffs and was one of the better Penguins in Game 2, but he also appears to lack consistency. We noticed that issue in January when he was invisible for the first two periods and then played a heavy shutdown role in the third period.

Poulin has a few talents—such as the ability to be physical and smart in the defensive zone—but I’m not sure he’ll ever be a regular contributor in the NHL.

In 41 AHL games this season, he scored 16 goals and 31 points. Perhaps at the next level, he’ll adjust to being a net-front grinder, but that wasn’t his game at the AHL level. At this point, he projects as a fourth-line guy at the top level, but perhaps he could chip in limited offense with Lars Eller if a third-line spot opened?

I’d love to eat those negative words. It’s wonderful he overcame his personal issues, and there is every reason to root for him.

Fans React to Penguins Streaming Service

The new deal is this: A new streaming service with Penguins and Pittsburgh Pirates games, available only in the same areas as the former AT&T Sportsnet (now known as Sportsnet Pittsburgh) for an introductory rate of $17.99 per month.

The service is called SNP 360.

It won’t be available out of the market, and there were some signup issues and bugs on the app. There isn’t a Roku app, but social media users reported success with Apple TV.

You could hear the sound of cords being cut across western PA.

I, too, was one of those people who kept a cable-type subscription simply for Penguins/Pirates shows.

For once, the social media reaction was largely positive, though a few made some good points, too.

You don’t mess with the Jesus, but the price point was a common theme.