Oskar Sundqvist To Join AHL Penguins

Sunday, April 26, 2015
It appears as though Pittsburgh Penguins prospect Oskar Sundqvist is joining the AHL's Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins.
Oskar Sundqvist is heading across the pond to North America in what looks like a move to join the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins - adding another prospect to the Pittsburgh Penguins top minor league affiliate during their postseason run which is off to a good start after two convincing wins this weekend on Friday and Saturday nights.

The 21-year-old right-handed shooting forward saw his Swedish Hockey League season with Skelleftea end in the postseason on Thursday and now an Instagram photo - posted at 7:24 a.m. Sunday (Swedish time - UTC) - that Sundqvist himself re-posted on his Twitter account depicts him heading out the door with his hockey bag over his shoulder with a caption in Swedish wishing him good luck in the United States (fully translated in the header photo attached with this story).

If you look closely, you can even see Sundqvist sporting a Pittsburgh Pirates baseball cap. The writing appears to be on the proverbial wall, though no official word  has come down from either Pittsburgh or W-B/Scranton as of the time of this posting. (EDIT: Pittsburgh made the announcement official Monday morning.)

The Pens' 3rd round draft pick (81st overall) in the 2012 NHL Entry Draft could make his North American pro debut in the 2015 American Hockey League's (AHL) Calder Cup Playoffs as soon as the Pens' next playoff game against the Syracuse Crunch. The AHL Pens don't take on the Crunch in Game Three of Eastern Conference Quarterfinals best-of-five series until Wednesday night.

I had caught up with Pens prospect guru Ian Altenbaugh of Hockey's Future to discuss Oskar Sundqvist, how he differs from Kasperi Kapanen and what to expect. Here's a quick blurb of the chat:

Tony - Sundqvist is a completely different kind of player than Kapanen. Talk a little bit about what Sundqvist offers (i.e. what his role with WBS would be - Im guessing a bottom six guy?)
Ian - Sundqvist literally is the physical opposite of Kapanen. Both are smart players, but Sundqvist is big, physical, and already in the first year of his three-year, entry-level contract. I think he slates in as a really good fourth line center initially, but he has some serious potential, and compares favorably to a guy like Carl Soderberg in size and hockey sense. It'll take him some time, but he could be either middle-six in the AHL or good bottom-six in the NHL.
Tony - Normally, most guys WBS have brought in on ATO's at the end of the year have come in to learn the systems & get acclimated to pro hockey in North America. I know it's early, but could you see both Kapanen & Sundqvist coming in and making an impact at the ahl level this spring?
Ian - Definitely. Both have NHL caliber talent. Talent doesn't always equal success, it requires a lot of hard work, good coaching, durability, and luck, but talent sure does help. Right off the bat, I can see Sundqvist being a penalty killer for the Baby Pens. He has the type of reach and hockey IQ, good shot blocker, plays tough. Kapanen is more the type of player who might need to play with someone like Andrew Ebbett or someone else who can play with some offensive acumen in order to be effective.


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