Pittsburgh prospect Kaspar Bjorkqvist continues to turn heads in the NCAA this season. Last night he scored a goal on a rebound against Brown for his 10th of the season.
First goal in six games. Monkey discarded from back pic.twitter.com/PnipiClPy5— PC Men's Hockey (@FriarsHockey) January 16, 2019
He also scored a second goal in the game but it was waived off for being a high-stick on the puck. A scrappy Finn playing on the edge of legality and getting goals waived off, have you ever heard of such a thing Pens’ fans?
Bjorkqvist has made a believer out of Jeff Cox, a scout for the USHL’s Omaha Lancers.
More I see of Pittsburgh Penguins 2016 2nd rounder Kasper Bjorkqvist, the more convinced I am that he’s top NHL prospect in Hockey East (excluding the first round picks), just ahead of UMass D Mario Ferraro (SJS). 2-way LW is heavy, smart, skates well and gets to the dirty areas.— Jeff Cox (@JeffCoxSports) January 16, 2019
Bjorkqvist has 11 assists in 23 games are almost as much as the combined 13 helpers in the 70 games of his freshman and sophomore campaigns combined. As expected, the stats have improved each year in the NCAA
Bjorkqvist got a lot of love in Dave Molinari’s prospect ranking earlier this month, earning the number 1 spot. The words from Pens’ assistant general manager Bill Guerin below jump off the page in effusive praise.
“He’s a very well-rounded player. I think he’s going to be one of these guys who’s able to go up and down your lineup. He’s going to be able to play on your power play, play on your penalty-kill. He’s a big, strong kid. He’s always top of his class in fitness testing at development camp, things like that. He has a unique, infectious personality, as well. There are a lot of leadership qualities with him, too. If anything, there are times when we would like him to think a little more offensively. He has that capability, but he’s so responsible (defensively) that sometimes he impacts his offensive game, just to make sure things on the defensive side are good.”
His rise has been reflected in the Pensburgh Top 25 Under 25 list, where Bjorkqvist clocked in at #10 last summer, up from #17 in summer 2017.
There has been rumblings that a college degree is important to Bjorkqvist, but speaking just from a profession perspective he’s now 21-years old. With career interests in mind, his best bet is to turn pro ASAP and get acquainted with continuing his journey at a higher level. A lot of data is indicating that peak years for a forward can be as young as 23-25 and spending another year at Providence probably isn’t the best idea for his track in the professional regard.
But that will be Guerin’s job to sell on those fine points of turning pro, and one that he will surely make a very convincing pitch whenever Providence’s comes to an end. The Penguins don’t have a ton of high-end forward prospects right now, but Bjorkqvist’s emergence as of late could set a tone for the future.