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Prospects of note for this weekend's tournament

September 15, 2023, 2:53 PM ET [84 Comments]
Ryan Wilson
Pittsburgh Penguins Blogger • RSSArchiveCONTACT
Today will kick off the prospect tournament in Buffalo where Pittsburgh’s up and coming players will be competing. This is a good look for the coaching staff to get a look at the prospects in game settings before some of them are invited to actual training camp. The Penguins prospect pool is low ranked so there aren’t a ton of players of note, but there are some.

Pittsburgh will open its play against the Bruins on Friday, September 15 at 3:30 PM. Following that, the Penguins will take on the Senators on Saturday, September 16 at 12:00 PM, and then conclude the tournament with a tilt against the host Sabres on Monday, September 18 at 5:00 PM.

Sam Poulin, in what I assume is his last year eligible, will be in action. He had to take some time away from the rink last season and this is getting close to a make or break year for him. A very strong year in WB/S could put him on track to a regular gig in the NHL. A run of the mill season probably tests the Penguins patience and his path to the NHL in Pittsburgh gets a lot tougher to navigate.

Brayden Yager will be in action. He is the most recent first round selection for the Penguins. For me, he is the most interesting player at this event. Positive signs other than tangible points would be his ability to create time and space and put defenders on their heels. His shot is noteworthy and if he can create time and space he will have the opportunity to use his impressive shot. Nathan Legare had/has a great shot, but can’t find the space to use it at higher levels.

Evan Vierling isn’t a name that pops off the page to most. He is someone of interest to me due to the fact he had 35 goals and 90 points in only 60 games for the Barrie Colts in the OHL last year. Yes, it was his overage season, but I always have time for players who put up significant offense in the lower levels. If you can put up big numbers in lower levels it bodes better for being able to compete at the higher levels. In an organization without many sure fire prospects Vierling’s production stuck out to me. We’ll see if it can translate to the AHL level this season. If it does then it would be a great development.

Owen Pickering is currently injured and won’t be playing at the tournament. Prior to Brayden Yager he was the top prospect in the Penguins pool. He is eligible to return to the WHL this year for his final junior season. Last year he was able to sneak in eight games in WB/S. With Graves and Pettersson locking down the top four Pickering has some time to develop before they really need him to give them NHL minutes.

Joel Blomqvist is the Penguins most interesting goalie prospect. He’s a 2020 second round pick and will be joining the WB/S Penguins this season after spending time in the Liiga league in Finland. I thought when the Penguins signed Filip Lindberg there was potential for him to rise the ranks after a solid campaign in the AHL. It wasn’t to be due to injuries. Blomqvist is going to have to fill the void as the next up and coming goaltender for the organization. It would be an incredibly helpful development considering the current goaltending situation. Even if Jarry plays at an all star level they are still in the market for a reliable goalie to back him up. Big year for Blomqvist in the AHL.

Thanks for reading!
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