With their first pick in the 2020 draft Wednesday, the Pittsburgh Penguins selected Finnish goaltender Joel Blomqvist in the second round, 52nd overall. If it comes as a surprise that the team had a second-round pick, it’s because they got that pick earlier in the day from Ottawa in the trade that sent goaltender Matt Murray to the Senators.
Blomqvist is 6 feet 1, 182 pounds. He has played in both games that Karpat of the top Finnish League has played so far this season (European leagues in general are playing on normal time this season), giving up three goals and winning both games. Last season, he was named the top goalie in the top Finnish junior league.
He was the first of five Penguins expected draft picks Wednesday.
In the third round, 77th overall, the Penguins picked another goalie, Calle Clang of Sweden. He’s 6-2, 194 pounds. With the Rogle junior club last season, he had a 2.64 goals-against average and a .913 save percentage. That save percentage ranked fifth among Swedish junior goalies. He has yet to play this season.
With the 108th overall pick, in the fourth round, the Penguins selected Lukas Svejkovsky, a center from Point Roberts, Wash. He is 5-10, 165 (but could fill out). After two seasons with the Vancouver Giants of the Western Hockey League, he had 13 goals, 15 assists in 34 games with the WHL’s Medicine Hat Tigers last season.
The Penguins did not have a first-round pick, or one in the seventh round, as those and their original second-rounder had previously been traded away. The first-rounder went to Toronto in August as part of the trade that brought in Kasperi Kapanen, Pontus Aberg and Jesper Lindgren. The second-rounder went to Vegas in June 2017 for expansion draft considerations to facilitate the Marc-Andre Fleury situation — something that is being revisited heavily in the wake of the Murray trade. The seventh-rounder went to San Jose during the 2019 draft in a swap for the Sharks’ seventh-round pick that year, used to take Santeri Airola.
Barring trades and developments, the Penguins have two more picks Wednesday: a fifth-rounder (139th overall) and a sixth-rounder (170th overall).