Our countdown of the top Pittsburgh Penguins prospects continues with No. 9 Filip Hallander and No. 8 Jordy Bellerive.
The 19-year-old Hallander isn’t the type of player that’s going to wow you with huge offensive numbers.
But he’s a player that will endear himself to Pittsburgh fans because of his hard work on the ice.
His Elite Prospects breakdown reflects that: a strong two-way player that forechecks and backchecks hard and has some offensive skill left over.
One of his main player comparisons has been Patric Hornqvist, and we know what he has meant to Pittsburgh the last few years. If he ends up being anything close, the Penguins will be happy.
He is only 19 and figures to have room for growth as well. That said, he is recovering from a recent leg fracture with the Swedish Lulea team. It will be interesting to see how quickly he can recover and make up for that lost time.
I’d expect him to need a couple years before he is truly NHL ready.
The two current Wilkes-Barre/Scranton players on the list so far have impressed in the preseason, with No. 10 Emil Larmi posting a shutout Friday and Bellerive scoring a goal on Wednesday.
Bellerive immediately developed a reputation as an offensive juggernaut based on his emergence during Pittsburgh rookie activities in 2017, and he has the ability to score (175 points his last two seasons in juniors).
Earlier this week at training camp, he said this is the best he has felt since he suffered burns in a bonfire accident last year and he’s ready to move on from that narrative.
He admits he’s a little undersized, so he prides himself on being a tough, pesky player in the way he battles around the net and is able to finish his checks.
Many assumed he’d immediately step into a major role with Wilkes-Barre/Scranton, and I’m not so sure that’s the case. He’s spent training camp with the second practice group, which has primarily featured players ticketed for Wheeling. However, he should get his chances to contribute throughout the year.
He said he still plays with a chip after going undrafted, and if he continues to be that driven he should find his routine in the AHL fairly quickly.
Tyler Piccotti has covered the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins for Times-Shamrock newspapers since 2017. In the Penguins Insider blog, he provides a look at NEPA’s only professional hockey team, sharing analysis and insights that go beyond the game sheet. A 2015 graduate of Syracuse University, he also has written for Bleacher Report, The Post-Standard and Lacrosse Magazine. Contact: email@example.com; 570-821-2000; @CVPiccotti