UPDATE: Enjoy some GIF's from our friend Pat
The Pittsburgh Swedish mob, like Carl Hagelin's flow, is growing stronger by the day. The Penguins have added another, according to Craig Custance.
Penguins have signed undrafted free agent D Lukas Bengtsson to ELC. Big playoff w/Frolunda, lots of interest. Great skater. High hockey IQ.— Craig Custance (@CraigCustance) April 27, 2016
Gotta like the sounds of that. Bengtsson just turned 22 years old 2 weeks ago.
Elite Prospects also described him as:
Bengtsson is a defenseman who stands out with his terrific skating ability and offensive instincts. Owns excellent acceleration and agility, allowing him to rush the puck up the ice. Of below-average size, he still protects the puck well when skating. Manning the point on the powerplay, he has a great one-timer and quick decision-making ability. Always gets back defensively, but could certainly improve his overall game, given his hockey smarts.
The better news? Bengtsson appeared as an invite with the New York Rangers prospect camp last summer, but it appears has elected not to sign with them. We'll see if he amounts to anything in the NHL, but it's another add of talent to the organization. A skilled defenseman who is right-handed and still fairly young? Any day of the week.
Rangers fans, as typical, are handling this in a very even-handed manner on twitter.
A Pensburgh reader from Sweden named Patrik was nice enough to email me his impressions from watching Bengtsson this year:
Lukas Bengtsson came in to Frölunda's team in last years playoff, after having spent the regular season with Mora in Allsvenskan. Everyone- pundits, commentators and hockey fans- were shocked to see him come in and absolutely dominate Frölunda's blueline with great skating and playmaking abilities. This year he started the season even better, unfortunately a knee injury cut the season in two halves. During the time Bengtsson was out it was obvious to see what Lukas Bengtsson meant for Frölunda both in 5-on-5 and power play situations, his read of the game and playmaking abilities are the strength which he and the team relied up on. His knee seems to have healed up and there was no evidence of the injury in the playoffs. Bengtsson was a huge part of the championship build that made Frölunda grab the Le Mat trophy for the first time in 11 years.
I would say he has gotten better in the corners and a long the boards but his strength is in what has become the staple of Swedish defensemen, he is strong on the skates, has a very strong shot, and his vision and understanding of the game is what makes him take the step to NHL.
Sounds promising. Bengtsson will be on a 2 year entry level contract starting in 2016-17. By signing with Pittsburgh, with the interest he had around the league, one would have to assume the Pens have promised him a very realistic chance to compete for a roster spot out of training camp. The Pens currently have 6 defensemen under contract for next season with Justin Schultz a potential restricted free agent and Ben Lovejoy a pending unrestricted free agent.