The Pittsburgh Penguins have signed one of their recent draft picks, inking Nathan Legare to a three-year entry-level contract. Legare was selected 74th overall in June after the Penguins traded up. GM Jim Rutherford explained just why the team already signed the young forward:
Nathan has had a really strong training camp thus far. We’ve been impressed with his offensive instincts and his overall approach to the game. We’re thrilled to get him signed.
While third-round picks don’t often crack an NHL roster right away, Legare is doing everything he can to change that this summer. After starring at the prospect tournament, Legare has been one of the Penguins’ best forwards through the first part of the preseason—even scoring two goals 23 seconds apart yesterday—and Josh Yohe of The Athletic tweets that keeping him around for the start of the season “hasn’t been ruled out.” That would be an incredible accomplishment for a player who didn’t even crack the top-50 among North American skaters in the NHL Central Scouting pre-draft ranking.
The Montreal native exploded onto the junior scene last year with 45 goals and 87 points in 68 games for Baie-Comeau and has certainly made a good impression on the Penguins staff. Even if he is sent back to the QMJHL for the year, you can bet Legare has shot up the depth chart already and should be in the plans down the line.