Tristan Broz carries weight as the first draft pick of the Ron Hextall regime with the Penguins. However, his freshman season at Minnesota was an unfulfilling one, and he will be starting over next season with a transfer to the University of Denver.
Related: 2022 Pensburgh Top 25 Under 25: Graduates and Departed
#25: Nolan Collins
#24: Colin Swoyer
#23: Jonathan Gruden
#22: Ty Glover
#21: Kirill Tankov
#20: Judd Caulfield
#19 Corey Andonovski
#18: Jordan Frasca
#17: Isaac Belliveau
#16: Taylor Gauthier
#15: Alex Nylander
#14: Nathan Legare
#13: Tristan Broz - C/LW
Age: 19 (October 10, 2002)
Height/Weight: 6’0”/ 179 lbs.
2021 T25U25 Ranking: #6
Acquired Via: Drafted, second round 2021
A native Minnesotan, Broz got the opportunity to play for the state’s traditional marquee Gophers in 2021-22. However, it didn’t work out as a good fit and he decided to transfer to Denver.
As Broz told the Tribune Review at the Penguins’ prospect development camp last month:
“It’s a big learning experience,” said Broz, 19. “That’s kind of how I would summarize the year. Obviously, a lot of things didn’t go the way I wanted them to. But I think I learned a lot about myself, my game that I think are going to help me long-term in my career. It stinks. Maybe things didn’t go how (I) would have liked. But I think there’s also a lot to be excited about with where my head is at. I’m still really excited about my game and the player that I can be.”
From whatever decisions or fits didn’t work out at Minnesota, Broz is looking to get back to his game and get established next year at the NCAA level. As our pal Jesse Marshall pointed out last year after his draft, Broz is the type of skilled, playmaking two-way forward that the Pens don’t have a lot of in their forward prospect pool. He can also play different positions up front.
“I think I’m pretty versatile in the fact that I can play both pretty comfortably,” Broz said. “I grew up my whole life playing center. The last couple of years, I played more of left wing. I have a comfort level with both. That adds some versatility to where they can put me in the lineup. Wherever the coaches want me, I’ll play.”
The electric-sounding brief scouting report from Elite Prospects shows that a player like Broz needs confidence in his game and to find the right fit and program, something he now thinks he has in Denver.
Broz is a player with an attacking mentality. He’s like a shark sniffing out blood in the water when he’s off-the-puck in the offensive zone, circling the perimeter, waiting for soft ice to emerge, or charging headlong to the net-front as low-to-high passing plays develop. He reads developing plays, creates options for his linemates, and adapts well during cycle plays.
While still a longer term prospect, Broz is a player worth keeping an eye on for the future. A quick look at the organization’s stock shows only a couple forwards in the organization who are prospects that were drafted in the top two rounds (Sam Poulin in 2019, Filip Hallander in 2018) in recent times for Pittsburgh. That pedigree and more importantly the standout skill that boosted him to be a relatively high pick makes Broz fairly unique and an important youngster within the organization.
And for a player just turning 20-years old in the fall, he will be onto a new challenge and looking to grow and develop his game out in the Rockies. The foundation of what he can build over the coming year or two might lead to some hope and progress that Pittsburgh can develop a skilled forward to make his way up the ranks. That would be welcome for any NHL team, especially one like the Pens who could certainly use an infusion of young, point-producing talent at the NHL level. First things first, Broz will be looking to take his next step in the college ranks.