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2016 NHL Draft: Penguins select goalie Filip Gustavsson 55th overall

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With their first pick in the 2016 NHL draft, the Pittsburgh Penguins select goaltender Filip Gustavsson from Sweden

Yesterday Penguins GM Jim Rutherford flat out said the team was going to prioritize defense with their first two picks of the 2016 draft (both in the second round). However, with the first pick of the weekend the Penguins took Swedish goaltender Filip Gustavsson.

Here's a write-up from our friends at Jackets Cannon on Gustavsson:

Current team: Luleå HF

Date of birth: June 7, 1998

Place of birth: Skellefteå, SWE

Height: 6’2"

Weight: 185 lbs

Catches: Left

Filip Gustavsson is considered by some to be one of the finest goaltending prospects in the upcoming draft. He is noted for being positionally strong, letting the play come to him, and for having smooth movement from side to side across the face of the goal. He has issues overcommitting to a play sometimes, though, and would likely need several years of seasoning before he could play in the NHL. Being one of the top goalie prospects though, expect to see numerous teams with interest in Gustavsson.

An from Hockey Writers:

Strengths:

  • Good Vision and tracking ability
  • Technically sound
  • Positioning
  • Square to the shot
  • Size

Under Construction (Improvements to Make):

  • Fill out his frame
  • Athleticism
  • Stays deep in his net
  • Consistency

NHL Potential:

Gustavsson certainly has the ability to play at all levels as he showed with his brief stint in the SHL. He’s going to have to learn to play at the top of his crease if he wants to fully adapt to the North American game and add consistency to his game. He’s fundamentally sound as a goaltender and has a lot of upside to his game. He won’t be a starter in the next few years, but could bloom into a solid starting goalie at the NHL level.

NHL Player(s) ComparisonHenrik Lundqvist

The Lundqvist comparison is a little far-fetching, it would seem, but there are certainly worse players to be compared to.

This is a curious pick for the Penguins, they had more pressing needs, but NHL teams can't draft for needs right now, they have to select the best player that they believe is available. Drafting goalies is always a risky proposition but from what's on the internet this is about where Gustavsson was expected to be drafted. Now we'll wait a bunch of years and see how he pans out.