The Pittsburgh Penguins have claimed winger Jansen Harkins off waivers from the Winnipeg Jets, Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman reports Monday. All other players placed on waivers yesterday, aside from new Nashville Predators forward Samuel Fagemo, cleared.
Harkins, 26, had spent his entire NHL career in the Jets organization after they drafted him with the 47th overall pick in the 2015 NHL Draft. He’s only logged one true season as a full-time NHLer, suiting up in 77 games for Winnipeg in 2021-22, but the Penguins will bank on him being a solid depth contributor signed to a cheap cap hit (but not league minimum) of $850K. It’s worth noting Harkins is due slightly more actual salary than cap hit this season – $875K, to be exact.
In 154 NHL games dating back to 2019, Harkins has 13 goals, 14 assists and 27 points – not awful totals for a player that’s averaged under ten minutes per game. Assigned to the AHL’s Manitoba Moose for the first time since 2020 last season, Harkins recorded well over a point per game, notching 25 goals and 50 points in 44 games. That production is what’s bumped his stock coming into this season and, evidently, influenced Penguins management to take a flyer on the 6-foot-2 winger with strong two-way instincts.
With trade acquisition Rem Pitlick having already cleared waivers and been assigned to AHL Wilkes-Barre/Scranton, Pittsburgh has some competition to lock down depth forward spots, especially with Jake Guentzel out for the first few games of the season. Harkins will now compete for a spot on the Penguins’ opening night lineup alongside depth forwards like Vinnie Hinostroza, Alexander Nylander and Radim Zohorna.