Pittsburgh Penguins second-round pick Tristan Broz was all smiles on Saturday afternoon. Perhaps from his bedroom in Minnesota or a remote part of his family home, the WiFi connection for his Zoom chat wasn’t perfect, but his reaction was everything you’d hope for a kid being handed the opportunity of a lifetime. Broz will attend the University of Minnesota in the fall.
But when PHN asked the LW about his plans in college or if the NHL could lure him away sooner than later, he was definitive. Broz didn’t mention a major or University goals.
“I want to play the NHL. That’s been my dream since I was a little…(When) I’m ready to do that, and the Penguins feel I’m ready to do that, then I’m definitely going to take that opportunity,” Broz admitted. “I haven’t really thought about it too much…I’ve always wanted to play in the NHL, and I think whenever I get an opportunity to do that, I’m definitely going to want to take it.”
As soon as the Pittsburgh Penguins say he’s ready. He left no doubt he’ll sign his entry-level contract and join the Penguins organization. The winger, who played center early in his juniors career, hits the scales at 6-foot, 179-pounds, unofficially. He projects on the wing in the NHL, but he’s not picky.
“I’ve played center for most of my life growing up, but kind of the last two years, I’ve been transitioned the left-wing there in Fargo,” Broz said. “So, I don’t really have a preference. I’m pretty comfortable with either. So kind of whatever the team needs.”
He’ll hit the weight room in Minnesota, too.
It seems every prospect knows enough to cite Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin when asked about influences, though Broz also mentioned Patrick Kane and Nikita Kucherov. But the newest Penguins prospect also grew up a Pittsburgh Penguins fan.
The Minnesota native was unvarnished and amusing when he explained why.
“The Wild were kind of a boring team, a boring team to watch,” he smiled. “I had to take my fandom elsewhere.”
Never change, kid.
Broz, 18, played at Sidney Crosby’s alma matter, Shattuck-St. Mary until he was 14, but then he played Minnesota High School hockey before being drafted by the Fargo Force in 2018.
He was the Fargo leading scorer this season. He poped 19 goals and 51 points in 54 games. A year prior, he scored 35 points, including 14 goals in 48 games.
“I’d say I’m pretty skilled kind of playmaking forward, I like to use my creativity and then kind of my hands and my stickhandling ability to set up chances and create offense for my team and my teammates,” Broz said. “I think over the next couple of years, the biggest thing for me is just going to be continuing to get in the weight room and try to build strength and. Really just kind of grow my body and grow into it, so I think Minnesota has a good training program that can help me do that. So I’m excited.”
Elite Prospects had the most colorful description of his game. And they didn’t mince words.
“Broz is a player with an attacking mentality. He’s like a shark sniffing out blood in the water when he’s off-the-puck in the offensive zone, circling the perimeter, waiting for soft ice to emerge, or charging headlong to the net-front as low-to-high passing plays develop…”
And our new friends at Smaht Scouting in Boston also offered praise.
“Broz also has a significant amount of patience with the puck and can wait out defenders and goalies to pick the perfect time to pass and/or shoot. He is also able to pick out a corner and hit it with moderate success. Speaking of Broz’s hands, they’re sneaky good. He can confuse defenders with a simple deke, giving him space and time to make a decision with the puck.”