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WBS Penguins Signs 2020 2nd Round Pick, Goalie Joel Blomqvist to ATO



Pittsburgh Penguins, Joel Blomqvist

It is a well-timed coincidence. The WBS Penguins, the AHL affiliate of the Pittsburgh Penguins, signed Joel Blomqvist to an ATO (amateur tryout agreement). The organization also reassigned Niclas Almari to WBS from his Finnish team.

The WBS Penguins announced the moves before noon on Friday. By mid-afternoon on Friday, Pittsburgh Penguins head coach Mike Sullivan announced that the team was evaluating starting goalie Tristan Jarry for a lower-body injury, and Jarry would not travel with the team to Boston for their Saturday afternoon game with the Boston Bruins.

Typically, ATOs are a way to introduce young players to professional life without signing them to an entry-level contract or SPC (standard professional contract). The Pittsburgh Penguins have not yet signed Blomqvist to an ELC, but they retain his rights.

Blomqvist, 20, has 44 games of pro experience over three seasons in Finland’s top two leagues. The Penguins 2020 second-round pick (52nd overall) appeared in 20 games this season for Kärpät and topped all Liiga goalies with a 1.32 goals against average and a .940 save percentage.

His five shutouts also ranked tied for fourth overall.

Joel Blomqvist also appeared in seven playoff games for Kärpät, going 3-3-0 while posting an even more impressive 1.10 goals against average and .950 save percentage.

In 24 career Liiga games, Blomqvist has an 8-4-5 record, 1.53 goals against average, a .930 save percentage, and five shutouts.

The WBS Penguins figure to need another goalie, at least in the short-term, as starter Louis Domingue is likely on his way to the NHL club to backup Casey DeSmith while Jarry is evaluated.

Almari was the Pittsburgh Penguins fifth-round pick in 2016 (151st overall). He was reassigned by the Penguins from Wilkes-Barre/Scranton to Lukko on Feb. 9 after starting the season in the AHL.

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Pittsburgh Hockey Now Editor-in-Chief, formerly 93.7 The Fan, Sportsnet Hockey Tonight, NHL Home Ice. Catch Dan tweeting @theDanKingerski and the official @pghhockeynow account.

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