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Report: Penguins sign Joel Blomqvist to entry level contract

The 2020 second round pick is ready to get started and already in Wilkes-Barre

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2022 Upper Deck NHL Draft - Round 2-7 Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images

According to CapFriendly, the Penguins have signed goalie Joel Blomqvist to an entry level contract that will begin in 2023-24.

This is not unexpected news, being as Blomqvist signed an amateur tryout agreement announced yesterday, which will allow him to play in Wilkes-Barre for the remainder of this season. This entry level deal just formalizes the next step that the young goalie will make for his career beginning full-time in North America next season.

This too has been Blomqvist’s plan and dream, which he had to make it through a difficult season in Finland first where he missed time on two occasions with concussions this year.

“If I do well this season, I think I can probably get the chance to go over to the USA and play there next winter,” he said in a translated interview in the fall.

The Penguins will be more than happy to give him the chance. The 21-year old Finnish goalie is not considered a 5-star, super-elite prospect, but is well regarded as a very good goalie prospect. Scott Wheeler from The Athletic did not have Blomqvist among the top-10 drafted goalie prospects but did list him as an honorable mention a few months ago.

Wheeler listed Blomqvist as the No. 5 prospect in the Penguins’ system in January, writing in part:

while I wouldn’t necessarily call him explosive as an athlete, he goes post-to-post and low-to-high quickly, tracks the play well, and moves well within the net to stay with pucks or get to his spots before passes do so that he’s in control of his stance when the shot comes.

There are times when that can break down and he can look a little scrambled, or he’ll let a routine shot squeak through his body, but those aren’t uncommon for young goalies. On the whole, I’d qualify him as a technically sound goalie who does a good job squaring up on shots, making difficult saves, and anticipating play, even if there isn’t a singular quality that defines his game.

Dobber Hockey gives the following brief scouting report:

“A young, developing goalie with good size and technical skills, very good hockey sense, and a great track record of stopping pucks at the junior level. Upside to become a starting goalie at the NHL level”

Blomqvist ranked No. 7 in last summer’s Pensburgh Top 25 Under 25 feature ranking all organizational assets under the age of 25.

At just 21 and with not much experience on the North American rinks just yet, these next few weeks in Wilkes will be a nice chance for Blomqvist to get his feet wet and ready to go next year for good. With further development, he’s got a chance to play in Pittsburgh at some point on his entry level deal, but if hockey prospects can be difficult to forecast than young goaltenders can be even tougher to get a handle on when he will be ready for the big time.

But you can’t get to the NHL until you sign a contract, and the Pens have gotten that taken care of for one of the brightest young players in their organization.