The Pittsburgh Penguins are not known for having a solid prospect pool. In seemingly every trade they make, the Penguins kiss at least one prospect goodbye. The same could be said about their draft picks. For example, in six draft classes the Penguins only had one pick in the first round. Although they haven’t drafted in the first round often, that doesn’t mean they don’t have a good prospect pool. There are three notable Pittsburgh Penguin prospects that fans should keep their eye on.
Pierre-Olivier Joseph was the silver lining of what ended up being a pretty bad trade for the Penguins. Pittsburgh was looking to trade Phil Kessel, now a two-time Stanley Cup champion. On Jun. 29, 2019, Kessel was traded to the Arizona Coyotes for Alex Galchenyuk and Joseph. Although Galchenyuk didn’t even finish a season in Pittsburgh before he was traded, Joseph is becoming the gem of that trade.
Joseph was drafted 23rd overall in the 2017 entry draft and made his NHL debut this past season. Thought of as a stop-gap for defense as seemingly every defenseman was injured. However, he left quite the impression. In 16 games, he accumulated five points which isn’t bad in the slightest. His style of play was more offensive so it will be interesting to see how he pans out in Pittsburgh.
When the Penguins finally used their first round draft pick, fans were ecstatic. Finally, Pittsburgh was building a prospect pool. With the 21st overall pick in the 2019 draft, the Penguins selected Samuel Poulin. They undoubtedly made the correct choice. In his draft year, he put up 76 points in 67 games with the Sherbrooke Phoenix in the QMJHL. After being drafted, he put up a whopping 77 points in only 46 games. Because of this, Poulin is regarded as one of, if not the, the top prospect for the Penguins.
When Poulin made his NHL preseason debut in 2019, he was incredibly impressive. He was able to hold his own in the first game against the Buffalo Sabres. Albeit, the Penguins lost, but the Sabres fielded superstars like Jack Eichel and Rasmus Dahlin against guys who haven’t seen any NHL time. The Penguins only lost by one goal in overtime. This showed that Poulin was the right choice for Pittsburgh as he is nearly ready for his NHL debut.
Not only was Nathan Legare drafted in the same year as Poulin, but the two are actually longtime friends as they’ve been pals since they were seven years old. Pittsburgh traded up in the draft in order to snag Legare, meaning they’ve had their eye on him and wanted him bad. This is for good reason as he may be looking like a steal as of right now.
Legare looks like a goal-scorer. His shot has been his main asset as he can really put the puck in the back of the net. For example, in his draft year he put up 45 goals and 87 points in 68 games with the Baie-Comeau Drakkar in the QMJHL. In his most recent year in that league, he nearly scored a goal per game in the playoffs. Legare has a bit more developing to do, but he could end up being an absolute steal.
These are only three of many prospects the Penguins have as of right now. Poulin could definitely be making his NHL debut soon and Joseph could end up being a regular in the near future. Legare definitely has some developing to do as he needs to improve his skating, but otherwise he is also looking very solid. The Penguins could actually have a solid future with prospects like these guys.
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