The Pittsburgh Penguins have convinced Kasper Bjorkqvist to forego his senior season at Providence College and join the professional ranks. The 21-year old forward has signed a two-year entry-level contract, ending his NCAA career. Pittsburgh assistant GM Bill Guerin released a statement on the organization’s newest player:
Kasper was able to produce in big games throughout his college career, and he was fortunate to play in a lot of them. Playing for an outstanding program in Providence allowed him to go far in the NCAA Tournament each season, so he received a lot of great experience.
We were very happy with the steady progression in Kasper’s production. I know Kasper expected that improvement in his personal numbers each season. He is also a very disciplined hockey player who plays a very team-oriented game.
Bjorkqvist comes to the Penguins as a polished two-way player after three years with Providence, his North American destination following a junior hockey career in Finland. The hard working forward finished with 17 goals and 30 points in his most recent season, but still brings some question marks offensively. Those questions don’t extend to his defensive game however, where he should provide a stabilizing presence for Wilkes-Barre/Scranton or even Pittsburgh in due time.
The college market has been good to the Penguins in recent years, and Bjorkqvist should be the latest product to help the NHL team eventually. Selected 61st overall in 2016 he may not have the highest ceiling but could offer some inexpensive depth for a club looking to make some major changes this summer.