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Penguins targeting AHL offensive success in latest trade

February 23, 2024, 7:17 PM ET [145 Comments]
Ryan Wilson
Pittsburgh Penguins Blogger • RSSArchiveCONTACT
Kyle Dubas spoke about not using draft capital on Wednesday and on Thursday he was putting stipulations on trades opening up the possibility of spending a 2026 3rd round pick.

The Penguins traded for Emil Bemstrom in exchange for Alex Nylander and a conditional sixth round pick. The condition being if Bemstrom scores six more times this year in the NHL for the Penguins the pick will turn into a 2026 3rd round pick.

Bemstrom scoring six goals in 2024 is likely not going to do anything for the Penguins in the short or long term outside of costing the Penguins the 3rd round compensation. Bemstrom currently has six goals in 32 games with the Blue Jackets and has only hit the six-goal total once in his career in 2021-22 when he had six in 41 games. Based on previous results it seems the six goals are unlikely.

However, given how this Penguins season has gone he’s going to hit the mark somehow someway. He’ll have three goals and then blow up for a hat trick or something like that before they can stash him in WB/S to avoid the sixth goal.

While at first glance I am annoyed with the six goal stipulation I do understand the logic of targeting Bemstrom. He’s a 24 year old player who has strong AHL numbers. In 33 career AHL games he has 26 goals and 47 points. His NHL numbers are obviously not as strong. In 204 games he has 31 goals and 69 points. Given where Columbus is as a franchise I can see how it would be tough sledding for a younger player in a directionless franchise. I can’t sit here and say the Penguins are destined for great things at the moment, but they still have the guts of a better team and a better leadership group.

Targeting early to mid-twenties players who have strong offensive numbers in the AHL isn’t a terrible strategy. Conor Sheary was a very useful player for the Penguins and is someone who fit this bill. The Penguins could use some cheaper players with an offensive pulse. This is another bet, like Matthew Phillips, of trying to hit on some of the offensive potential. You’ll miss on some of these, but I’d also like to think you’ll hit on some of them as well. Bemstrom’s AHL numbers are strong enough to where it is a reasonable bet on it being a classic change of scenery trade which might lead to better NHL results.

Given the cap situation and their prospect situation I imagine we’ll see some more bets lke this one.

Thanks for reading!
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