The Pittsburgh Penguins added another prospect to the organization Wednesday as GM Jim Rutherford announced the club signed former second-round pick Kasper Bjorkqvist to a two-year entry-level contract.
Bjorkqvist, 21, played the previous three seasons at Providence College and improved his offensive totals each season. This season, Bjorkqvist scored 30 points (17g, 13a) in 42 games for Providence and was a tri-captain. The offensive totals each represent a personal best. Bjorkqvist also scored two points (1g, 1a) to help Providence advance to the Frozen Four.
Six of Bjorkqvist’s goals in the last two seasons were game-winning goals.
The Penguins selected the Espoo, Finland native with the final pick in the second round of the 2016 NHL Draft. In three seasons at Providence with 62 points (36g, 26a) in 112 games.
“Kasper was able to produce in big games throughout his college career, and he was fortunate to play in a lot of them,” assistant general manager Bill Guerin said. “Playing for an outstanding program in Providence allowed him to go far in the NCAA Tournament each season, so he received a lot of great experience.”
Pittsburgh Hockey Now profiled Bjorkqvist and provided a full scouting report with the help of Providence head coach Nate Leaman last summer. Read that here.
Bjorkqvist is 6-foot-1, 207 pounds and has been compared to Patric Hornqvist, though Leaman tempered those expectations when he spoke with PHN last summer.
“We were very happy with the steady progression in Kasper’s production,” Guerin said. “I know Kasper expected that improvement in his personal numbers each season. He is also a very disciplined hockey player who plays a very team-oriented game.”
Bjorkqvist suffered a late-season injury which will keep him out of the Penguins Development Camp. The forward won a gold medal with Team Finland in the 2016 World Junior Championship and captained Team Finland in 2017.
The Pittsburgh Penguins also signed fellow Finnish prospect Nicholas Almari on May 9.