Pittsburgh Penguins prospect Filip Hållander has signed a five-year contract with the SHL’s Timrå IK, the Swedish club announced Friday morning.
This is a striking and likely unexpected move for the Penguins organization. While it’s common to see players older in age opt to return to Europe after not developing into higher-end NHLers, Hållander is still just 22 years old and was a candidate to make the Penguins out of training camp next season.
Pittsburgh can still retain Hållander’s NHL rights by issuing him a qualifying offer this summer, as he’s a pending restricted free agent. At the conclusion of his new SHL contract in 2028, he would then have to sign with Pittsburgh if he wanted to return to the NHL.
Nevertheless, it’s a tough blow for an organization already low on talented prospects. Hållander was one of the organization’s best, especially at center, and took huge steps forward this season with 33 points in 44 games for the AHL’s Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins.
Drafted 58th overall in 2018, Hållander was traded away and re-acquired in two separate transactions with the Toronto Maple Leafs.
It does mark a homecoming for the Swedish forward, who was developed in Timrå’s system all the way from U16 play to his professional debut. During his draft year (2017-18), he played an important role in earning Timrå promotion from the second-tier Allsvenskan, notching 20 points in 40 games.
When Timrå failed to avoid relegation back to the Allsvenskan the next season, however, Pittsburgh loaned him to a different SHL club, Luleå HF, for the 2019-20 and 2020-21 seasons before Hållander arrived in North America.