The Pittsburgh Penguins, who played with just 11 true forwards Friday, on Saturday afternoon recalled Kasper Bjorkqvist on an emergency basis from Wilkes-Barre/Scranton of the American Hockey League.
The move presumably is related to the status of center Evgeni Malkin. He missed Friday’s 5-1 loss against the Rangers in New York as a late scratch because of a non-COVID illness and did not practice Saturday. Coach Mike Sullivan said Malkin was still feeling ill Saturday and that he is expected to be a game-time decision for Sunday’s home game against Detroit depending on how he feels.
The Penguins, while having to to with 11 forwards Friday, dressed defenseman Mark Friedman, who played limited minutes.
Here is the full news release from the Penguins:
The Pittsburgh Penguins have recalled forward Kasper Bjorkqvist on an emergency basis from the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins of the American Hockey League, it was announced today by general manager Ron Hextall.
Bjorkqvist, 24, has played in six games with Pittsburgh this season from Jan. 2-13. He scored his first NHL goal in his NHL debut on Jan. 2 against San Jose becoming the sixth current Penguin to score in his first career game, joining Brian Boyle, Jake Guentzel, Evgeni Malkin, Brock McGinn and Radim Zohorna.
The 6-foot-1, 198-pound forward has also appeared in 41 games for the WBS Penguins this season, recording six goals, two assists and eight points. The native of Espoo, Finland has played parts of the last three seasons with WBS, suiting up for 52 career AHL games and recording 10 points (8G-2A).
Bjorkqvist spent the majority of last season on a loan with KooKoo of Liiga, Finland’s top professional league, recording 11 goals, 15 assists, 26 points with a plus-14 in 44 games. His 26 points ranked fourth (tied) on the team and the most among all league rookies, earning him Rookie of the Year honors.
The Penguins return home to PPG Paints Arena tomorrow, March 27 for a matchup against the Detroit Red Wings at 5:00 PM.