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Penguins sign Lukas Svejkovsky to entry level contract

The Pens get a contract complete with their fourth round pick from 2020

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Medicine Hat Tigers v Calgary Hitmen Photo by Derek Leung/Getty Images

The Penguins signed another young player today, and this time it’s one they actually drafted! After signing a host of undrafted free agents, Pittsburgh locked up their fourth round pick in 2020 who completed a great season in the WHL.

The complete team release:

The Pittsburgh Penguins have signed forward Lukas Svejkovsky to a three-year, entry-level contract, it was announced today by general manager Ron Hextall.

The contract will begin in the 2022-23 season and run through 2024-25. His deal carries an average annual value of $859,167 at the NHL level.

Svejkovsky, 20, is currently in his fourth year in the Western Hockey League, splitting the 2021-22 season between the Medicine Hat Tigers and the Seattle Thunderbirds. The forward has recorded career highs across the board this season with 32 goals, 41 assists and 73 points in 55 games.

Svejkovsky’s 32 goals this season are tied for 21st in the entire WHL, while his 73 points are the 20th most. He scored 13 goals and 30 points with Medicine Hat prior to his trade in December, which both still lead his former team. His 19 goals with Seattle post-trade are the sixth-most among his Thunderbird teammates.

The 5-foot-10, 165-pound forward has recorded 71 goals, 88 assists and 159 points in 194 games in the WHL with Seattle, Medicine Hat and the Vancouver Giants.

Prior to his time in the WHL, Svejkovsky played one season in the British Columbia Hockey League with the Wenatchee Wild, recording 11 points (5G-6A) in 16 games.

The Tampa, Florida native was drafted by the Penguins in the fourth round (108th overall) of the 2020 NHL Draft.

His father, Jaroslav Svejkovsky, played 113 games across four NHL seasons with the Washington Capitals and Tampa Bay Lightning. From 1996-2000, he recorded 23 goals, 19 assists and 42 points.

Svejkovsky was 18th in our 2021 Pensburgh Top 25 Under 25 last summer, he’s one of the few young players in the organization who has a lot of skill and offensive upside, as evidenced by the 73 points (32G+41A) in 55 WHL games this season.

Here’s some highlights that showcase Svejkovsky’s offensive skills and instincts. Generating offense with some nice hands is a big strength in his game.

The swagger really comes through on this shot and celebration.

And here’s a nice setup for a goal:

For as great of a junior career as Svejkovsky had, the big question is going to be just how much of his offense will translate in the pro ranks as the competition gets better. As The Athletic’s Scott Wheeler put it in his analysis of the Pens’ prospects in January 2022:

Svejkovsky has always been a difficult player to project forward. In his draft year, he looked like the kind of kid who would be an excellent junior hockey player but might struggle at the pro level due to his lack of size and truly high-end skill. Last year, in a shortened season, he looked like more of the same. It’s hard, at 5-foot-9 and 170 pounds, to become an NHL player without gaudy numbers at lower levels. He’s more talented than kids in the WHL who will make it, and maybe more reliable as a three-zone player than them (he works really hard out there) but it has always felt like it was going to be harder and harder for him to have the same impact against bigger, stronger, faster players.

Svejkovsky is an interesting prospect for the Pens, because while he has some questions, he also has a high ceiling. The organization has been high on what his future could hold if everything pans out. But this likely will take some development time in the AHL for him to learn and grow his game further starting in Wilkes-Barre next season.

With Svejkovsky in the fold, Pittsburgh now has just two prospects to either sign in the coming months or lose to free agency: defenseman Clayton Phillips and forward Raivis Ansons.