The Pittsburgh Penguins had some good news to release on Tuesday morning. When their rookies head up to the Prospect Challenge in Buffalo, one of the top prospects (and #5 in the organization of all under 25 players according to us) Jordy Bellerive, will be playing.
From the team:
Pittsburgh Penguins prospect forward Jordy Bellerive will be in the lineup for the Pens this weekend when the club participates in the Prospects Challenge in Buffalo, New York from September 7-10.
Bellerive, 19, suffered severe burns to his hands in a June campfire incident. Following extensive rehabilitation, including a 12-day hospital stay, Bellerive is now close to 100 percent recovered. This month, Bellerive has skated in practices and scrimmages during training camp for his junior team, the Lethbridge Hurricanes of the Western Hockey League.
“The entire Penguins’ organization is very proud of how hard Jordy has worked rehabbing himself back into game shape,” Penguins assistant general manager Bill Guerin said. “Throughout the summer, Jordy’s recovery was always our top priority. We are all very excited to watch him return to game action with his fellow prospects this weekend in Buffalo.”
Last year, Bellerive was the Penguins’ leading scorer at the 2017 Prospects Challenge, tallying four goals and seven points. His performance earned him an invite to Pittsburgh’s NHL training camp, and a three-year, entry-level deal with the club.
After inking his deal with the Penguins, Bellerive went on to score 46 goals and amass 92 points in 71 games for Lethbridge. Those totals ranked him eighth in the league in goals and 12th in points. As a result of his breakout campaign, Bellerive was invited to Canada’s World Junior Showcase camp in August, but he had to decline the invite due to his recovery.
This is great that Bellerive is ready to go and apparently past the recovery process completely. As mentioned by the team, he had to miss August’s World Junior showcase event (a showcase fellow Pens prospect Calen Addison shined at, by the way). That had at least left some questions open that for a guy who was still in the hospital in the month of July, perhaps it would effect the beginning of his season.
This release indicates it won’t, which is tremendous news. Bellerive should be an exciting player to watch at the prospect camp this weekend - his junior stats suggest he should be among the best players on the ice at that level of competition. Beyond that, Bellerive impressed in 2017’s preseason camp and has the chance to do that again. He’s expected to be among the very best players in the WHL this year, after finishing 12th in points as an 18-year old, now he’s 19 and among the oldest players in that league and potentially could be among the very top scoring leaders.
Hopefully in a sign of things to come, chalk the first injury update up as a positive one for the Penguins.
Here’s the rest of the Penguins roster for this weekend’s prospect challenge.
Pushing past the roster fillers of undrafted free agents and tryouts, here are the important ones:
Goalies: Alex D’Orio
Defensemen: Addison, Dane Birks, Antti Palojarvi
Forwards: Justin Almeida, Anthony Angello, Bellerive, Jan Drozg, Adam Johnson, Sam Lafferty, Sam Miletic, Linus Olund
Interesting and conspicuous by his absence would be 2017 2nd round pick Zachary Lauzon. It’s also a little curious that new-to-North America defenseman Juuso Riikola is not participating.
Players who are going to college aren’t going to participate in this, as likely as those playing in Europe, so there’s not much more to read into for those absences of guys like Kaspar Bjorkqvist and Filip Hallander. Players from years past who have went to this challenge (like Daniel Sprong, Zach-Aston Reese and Teddy Blueger) have probably advanced past the point of this showcase.
The schedule is:
Friday, September 7
3:30 PM - Game vs. Boston
Saturday, September 8
3:30 PM - Game vs. New Jersey
Monday, September 10
12:30 PM - Game vs. Buffalo