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Two Penguins Prospects Soon Ready, One Is Not; WBS Screwed (+)



Pittsburgh Penguins prospects, Tristan Broz
Tristan Broz: Photo Courtesy of WBS Penguins

The Pittsburgh Penguins will have approximately $10 million to spend on free agents this summer after they take care of pending restricted free agents and possibly round out their projected lineup with cheap options already on hand. However, they may also have a couple of prospects who unexpectedly push for a spot in October.

Just a few months ago, the Penguins’ prospect pool of skaters was mud-puddle-deep and barely worth discussing. Only 2022 first-round pick Owen Pickering and 2023 first-rounder Brayden Yager were even remotely worthy of consideration for inclusion on top-50 affiliated prospects lists.

However, when the Penguins traded Jake Guentzel to the Carolina Hurricanes just before the NHL trade deadline, they received a trio of prospects, one of whom was already in TSN analyst Craig Button’s top-50 list: Ville Koivunen.f

Koivunen, 20, had a monster season with Karpat in the Finnish Liga. He had 22 goals with 56 points in 59 games, and his inclusion in the trade was the saving grace among the second-tier prospects received.

The 6-foot, 167-pound forward arrived this week to play in the AHL playoffs with the WBS Penguins, his first appearance with the Penguins organization.

The other first late entry into the Penguins prospect pool is Tristan Broz (pronounced Broes), who signed his entry-level deal last week, allowing him to forgo his senior season after winning the NCAA national championship with the University of Denver earlier this month.

If you haven’t followed along, Pittsburgh Hockey Now spent the week covering the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins after Pittsburgh Penguins president of hockey operations/GM Kyle Dubas swung open the door wide for goalie Joel Blomqvist to presumptively earn an NHL spot with an assertive performance in the AHL playoffs.

Read More: Full Scouting Report of Joel Blomqvist.

With Broz and Koivunen in the WBS Penguins lineup, we ate a lot of Sheetz hot dogs and nearby fast food in Wilkes-Barre, covering practice and both games (in Wilkes-Barre and Allentown) in the Opening Round of the AHL playoffs.

We got a good look at the new prospects, an in-depth look at Joel Blomqvist and his readiness, as well as a surprise prospect who could, nay, should push for an NHL sweater next season.

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