Justin Almeida is an offensive star in the Western Hockey League. The Moose Jaw Warrior winger leads the WHL with 65 assists and is fourth in the league with 95 points. Saturday, Pittsburgh Penguins GM Jim Rutherford announced they signed the speedy forward to a three-year entry-level contract, which begins when he turns pro next season.
Almeida, 20, was the Penguins 2018 fifth-round selection (129th overall). He participated in the early stages of the Team Canada selection stages for the World Junior Championships but was not a finalist for the team.
Almeida, 5-foot-11, 160 pounds has been named the WHL players of the week several times this season. He receives glowing reports on his offensive creativity, speed, and a good shot. However, the knock on Almeida is his size. He did participate in the Penguins prospect camp in June and their Rookie Tournament in June.
The Penguins list Almeida’s size at only 5-foot-9, 158 pounds.
Almeida had a breakout season, last year. He posted 43 goals and 55 assists and has continued that level of offensive explosion this season. The Vancouver, BC native has played four-plus seasons for the Moose Jaw Warriors and has 227 points in 250 games.