2022 NHL Prospect Watch – Pittsburgh Penguins – WHL Network

As the 2022-23 NHL season approaches, we’re focused on current and former WHL players looking to make their mark at the next level.

The 2022 NHL Prospect Watch Series will feature some of the current and past WHL talents who have recently been drafted or signed to NHL contracts, and have appeared in less than 50 NHL games.

Our series continues with a look at the potential population of Pittsburgh penguins.

Taylor Gauthier
Goalkeeper Taylor Gauthier signed a junior contract with the Pittsburgh Penguins in March, wrapping up his WHL career with 205 regular seasons and accessory appearances with Prince George Cougar and Portland Winterhawks. Gauthier, who hails from Calgary, Alta, was selected 10th by Prince George in the 2016 WHL Draft and spent four and a half seasons in northern BC before moving to Rose City in December of 2021. Winterhawk, Gauthier thrived, putting up a minute streak The franchise closed and posted a 0.931 save percentage over 28 games, leading the league with a 0.925 SV% over the regular season. He embarked on his only campaign in the WHL Playoffs in the spring of 2022, sweeping his former Cougars teammates and setting a 7-4 record over 11 games.

Ryan McCleary
A seventh-round pick by the Pittsburgh Penguins in the 2021 NHL Draft, defender Ryan McCleary has amassed six goals and 30 points over the course of the 2021-22 WHL season. Swift Current producer, Sask. He was selected by Portland in the fifth round of the 2018 WHL Draft and in 92 regular career seasons and playoffs he has a cumulative rating of +34 to correspond with 37 points.

Owen Pickering
Departing from St Adolphe, Mann. , defender Owen Pickering climbed the NHL rankings over the course of the 2021-22 season before he was named 21st place by the Penguins in the 2022 NHL Draft last July. The Swift Current Broncos blueliner was one of five Broncos selected in this year’s draft; He scored nine times and totaled 33 points during his first full season in the WHL, earning a nod in the Second Division All-Star Team for his efforts.

Lukas Swikowski
Lukas Svejkovsky, in the fourth round of the Pittsburgh selection in the 2020 NHL Draft, wrapped up his WHL career in June by winning his second Western Conference Championship as a member of the Seattle Thunderbirds. From Point Roberts, Washington, Svejkovsky reached the WHL Championship Series with the Vancouver Giants in 2019 as well, and has also spent time with the Medicine Hat Tigers during his career. Svejkovsky was distributed from Medicine Hat to Seattle after the holiday break in December; He scored 22 goals in 33 Thunderbird games before helping Seattle’s run after the season with 11 goals and 28 points over 24 games at the 2022 WHL Playoffs.

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