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Is Pittsburgh Penguins’ Prospect Filip Hallander Ready for NHL?

Filip Hallander is one of the biggest names on the Pittsburgh Penguins development camp roster, and he thinks he's ready for North American hockey.

On the list of notable players entering the Pittsburgh Penguins’ development camp, Filip Hallander was high up there. There are plenty of prospects that can crack the NHL lineup soon, but Hallander seems ready to make an impact now. Just how ready is he, and can he actually do it?

Hallander’s Career So Far

Filip Hallander's play in the SHL was fantastic, and because of it he got drafted.
Image Courtesy of Bildbyrån-SHL

The Pittsburgh Penguins drafted Hallander 58th overall in the 2018 NHL entry draft. Prior to being drafted, he played in the SHL, or the Swedish Hockey League, for Timrå IK. In his draft year, Hallander put up nine goals and a modest total of 20 points. That doesn’t jump out and indicate superstar potential. However, he was only 18, and he played in Sweden’s top hockey league against former NHL players.

Since being drafted, his experience in the organization can only be classified as chaotic. On Aug. 25, 2020, he was traded alongside Evan Rodrigues and other assets to the Toronto Maple Leafs for Kasperi Kapanen. Not even one full year later, he was traded back to Pittsburgh for Jared McCann. Being traded multiple times before getting any NHL time could be huge demoralizing factor for him.

However, he seems to have only taken it in stride. Hallander has continued playing in the SHL, putting up a total of 59 points in 123 games. He also has experience competing on an international level. He’s played for Sweden’s national U20 World Junior Championship as well as Sweden’s World Championship team. Hallander has plenty of professional hockey experience, now he just needs to transition his game to the NHL.

Here To Stay?

Hallander was one of the bigger names on the development camp roster, and for good reason. To say his play is developing would be an understatement. Hallander said during development camp that he tends to play his game either in front of the net or around it, but his two-way play has improved. Not only that, but he also thinks of himself as a power-forward, using his size and speed to wear down the defense.

Hallander seems to think that he's ready for the NHL, or at least North American hockey.
Image Courtesy of Peter Diana/Post-Gazette

Hallander is certain that he’s ready for North American hockey. He said during the development camp that he is not going back to Sweden. What does that mean? Well, he says that he is at the camp to take a spot. General manager Ron Hextall had originally anticipated him to come in and take a spot on the roster, and that seems to be the only thing on Hallander’s mind.

His style of play is certainly going to play a factor in whether or not he makes the roster. Power-forwards that have the ability to consistently put up points are rare. The most recent power forward for the Penguins was Brandon Tanev. However, since he’s gone, Hallander now has a golden opportunity to fill that void. If he were to make the roster, he’d likely start off on the checking line with Teddy Blueger and Zach Aston-Reese, but there would be plenty of opportunities to earn a promotion. Only time will tell in the case of Hallander.

 

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