The Pittsburgh Penguins don’t have a big prospect pool because they have traded away draft picks over the years for chances to win Stanley Cup titles. Pittsburgh needs to reload its cupboard and that is what general manager Ron Hextall and president of hockey operations Brian Burke are trying to do. The Penguins have a lot of older legs and will have a lot of decisions to make this offseason.
Pittsburgh is currently in third place in the Metropolitan Division so far this season with a 43-23-11 record with 97 points. Who are some of the top prospects in their farm system?
1.Valterri Puustinen, RW
Valterri Puustinen is currently 22 years old and playing with the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins in the AHL. He is his first season playing in North America after playing the last three seasons for HPK Hameenlinna in the SM-Liga league. Puustinen is from Kuopio, Finland, and was a seventh-round pick (203rd overall selection) in the 2019 NHL Entry Draft. He was drafted by Jim Rutherford.
Puustinen is going to potentially be on the Pittsburgh Penguins’ opening night roster in 2022-2023. He has the potential to be a top-six forward. Valterri Puustinen has the potential to be on the right-wing on the number one power-play unit. He is also going to be a sniper in the NHL. In one NHL game this year, he recorded one assist with recording a goal and also had a plus/minus rating of 2.
In 68 games with the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins so far this season, Valterri Puustinen has scored 20 goals and has recorded 20 assists. His plus/minus rating is -11. He is by far their top prospect in the minor leagues and in juniors.
2. Sam Poulin, RW/C
Sam Poulin is only 21 years old. He was a first-round pick (21st overall selection) in the 2019 NHL Draft. A lot of people thought Poulin was going to crack the NHL already but it hasn’t appeared to be the case as of yet. He is from Blainville, PQ (Canada). Sam Poulin got off to a very slow start with the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins in the AHL, but he has been on a tear as of late.
Poulin has scored 16 goals and has recorded 20 assists, in 66 games so far this season, along with a plus/minus rating of -5. He was also drafted by Jim Rutherford. Sam Poulin has yet to appear in an NHL game for the Pittsburgh Penguins. He will probably not start on the roster next year, but could be a viable call-up option on a two-way deal in 2022-2023 for them.
A lot of people thought Poulin would be a bust but could be an effective third or fourth liner in the NHL, but has more potential than that also. He also played in the QMJHL with the Sherbrooke Phoenix and the Val d’Or Foreurs from 2017-2021.
3. Joel Blomqvist, G
Joel Blomqvist is only 20 years old. He was a second-round pick (52nd overall selection) in the 2022 NHL Draft. Jim Rutherford also drafted this goalie. Blomqvist is probably the best goalie in the Pittsburgh Penguins farm system. They are deep in this position once again. Tristan Jarry will be the starting goalie for the foreseeable future, but Pittsburgh could have Blomqvist having him backup Jarry a couple of years from now.
He is very athletic and makes timely saves. Joel Blomqvist is from Uusikaarlepyy, Finland. He was the backup goalie for Karpat in the SM-Liga league. Blomqvist is going to be in the starter’s crease next year and then he could potentially report to the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins in the (AHL) after the fact, despite being on a PTO right now with them.
Blomqvist played in 20 games this year for Karpat. His record was 6-3-5 with a .940 save percentage and a 1.32 GAA, along with five shutouts. In seven postseason games in the SM-Liga league for team Karpat, his record was 3-3 with a .940 save percentage and a 1.10 GAA.