Top prospect Kasper Bjorkqvist leaves Providence, signs with Penguins
The Pittsburgh Penguins signed their top prospect Wednesday, agreeing with winger Kasper Bjorkqvist on a two-year, entry-level contract.
Bjorkqvist, a second-round pick in the 2016 draft, had 17 goals and 30 points in 42 games as a junior this season for Providence, helping the team advance to the NCAA Frozen Four.
Getting Bjorkqvist under contract this offseason was a priority for the Penguins because of CBA rules regarding college players. If Bjorkqvist had completed his fourth year of eligibility, he could have become an unrestricted free agent Aug. 15, 2020.
Instead, he will slot into a prominent spot on the Penguins depth chart. There’s a good chance he will play in the NHL at some point next season.
“He’s a physical specimen,” assistant general manager Bill Guerin said earlier this season. “He’s tops in every category that we could possibly test for. Personality-wise, he’s a guy we’re all looking forward to getting in the organization because he’s really outgoing.”
A 6-foot-1, 198-pound Finn, Bjorkqvist is known as a strong two-way player who skated well and has some physical bite to his game. His offensive upside was a question mark when the Penguins drafted him, but those concerns seem to be fading because his production increased with each season at Providence.
Bjorkqvist will not take part in the Penguins’ development camp next month because he is recovering from surgery to repair a shoulder injury suffered late in the season.
Jonathan Bombulie is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Jonathan by email at [email protected] or via Twitter .