Not every player drafted is destined for the NHL, and sometimes a late bloomer surprises everyone and makes the show. The Pittsburgh Penguins have hit on a few undrafted free agents and mid-round picks. Zach Aston-Reese and Conor Sheary were undrafted free agents who worked their way through Wilkes-Barre/Scranton to the NHL. Matt Murray was once a fourth-round pick not so long ago. And a few more darkhorse Penguins prospects have NHL aspirations, too.
The Penguins prospects pool can appear like a shallow mud puddle after GM Jim Rutherford dealt 2018 second-round pick, Calen Addison, to the Minnesota Wild as part of the Jason Zucker trade and has traded away four of his five first round picks. The Penguins have been forced to rely on college free agents like recent signee Cam Lee.
As part of WBS Penguins head coach Mike Vellucci’s chat with Pittsburgh Hockey Now, the coach discussed a few of the Penguins professional rookies and their shot at NHL ice. The Penguins prospect may appear thin, but bubbling beneath the surface is a handful of kids who haven’t received much ink in national publications, but showed growth and potential in their first professional season.
Including one smooth, poised Finnish defenseman.