The Penguins top 2021 draft pick will head to college with future NHL aspirations on his mind.
Our annual, 2021 version of the top players under the age of 25 in the Pittsburgh Penguins organization.
#25: Santeri Airola
#24: Jan Drozg
#23: Will Reilly
#22: Clayton Phillips
#21: Chase Yoder
#20: Kirill Tankov
#19: Raivis Ansons
#18: Lukas Svejkovsky
#17: Judd Caulfield
#16: Johnathan Gruden
#15: Kasper Bjorkqvist
#14: Jordy Bellerive
#13: Cam Lee
#12: Drew O’Connor
#11: Joel Blomqvist
#10: Isaac Belliveau
#9: Calle Clang
#8: Filip Lindberg
#6: Tristan Broz, Forward
2020 Ranking: NR
Age: 18 (October 10, 2002)
Height/Weight: 6’0”, 179 pounds
Acquired Via: 2021 NHL Draft (Second Round, Pick #58)
Drafted just this past July by the Pittsburgh Penguins, forward Tristan Broz makes his Under-25 debut, staking claim to the No. 6 spot on this year’s countdown. The 2021 second round pick spent the past two seasons in junior hockey, lighting up the scoresheet with the Fargo Force of the USHL. Broz now has his eyes set on continuing his development at the collegiate level with the Minnesota Gophers beginning this season.
Coming into the draft, scouts had Broz projected as a second round pick, though there was some debate as to whether it was going to be an early round selection or later on down the line. In the end, the Penguins drafted him No. 58 overall and the selection drew positive reviews from those in the know.
Great pick for the Penguins. Had Broz in the low 50’s, but really didn’t consider that he would be available. A grade from me, easy.
— Jesse Marshall (@jmarshfof) July 24, 2021
When looking at the Penguins forward depth in the system, it’s not hard to see why the Penguins grabbed Broz in the second round nor is it difficult to understand why Broz ranks so highly on our list even as a newly drafted prospect.
Still only a teenager, it’s way too early to give a solid projection on they type of player Broz could develop into my the time he reaches the professional level, but there are signs he has the potential to make an impact at the NHL level, though that step remains a few years away.
Just days after being drafted, Broz took part in the World Junior Summer Showcase held in Michigan. Broz was a member of the USA Blue side and played in four games during the showcase tournament.
During the action in Michigan, Broz recorded three total points in his four games played, including a goal in his opening game, a 4-2 victory for USA Blue over Sweden. Broz added assists against Finland in his second game and another in a rematch against Sweden.
As for what Broz brings to the Penguins organization besides improving the depleted forward depth, it’s best to turn to the various draft and prospect experts who had plenty to say when the Penguins selected Broz back in July and even more recently when breaking down some Penguins prospects.
Following the draft, Corey Pronman of The Athletic put together his organizational rankings list and included Broz as one of the Penguins top prospects. While he has the Penguins ranked low overall, he had the newly drafted Broz placed well inside the Top 10 within the organization.
Broz has been a productive USHL player the past two seasons and was an important player for a top USHL team last season in Fargo. His puck game is excellent, showing the ability to create with his puck skills and playmaking inside the offensive zone. Broz can make a lot of plays to teammates through seams and under pressure. If given time, he also has a great shot and can pick corners from mid-range. He works hard enough, but I wouldn’t call him a “hard to play against” type, and his game could use more pace and quickness. Broz projects as a bottom-six winger.
Next up is Jesse Marshall, also of The Athletic. Recently, Marshall did a complete breakdown of Broz and his game, showing why he brings a different skill set to the Penguins organization than any other current prospect in the system.
Marshall provides a deep dive into Broz and his skill set, and although it’s a long read, I highly recommend giving it a read to get a better feeling what the Penguins are getting from adding Broz to the prospect pool.
This is all encouraging as Broz prepares for college this fall. The competition is only going to get more difficult at the next level, but we’ve already seen Broz adapt to new levels of competition. There’s flair within his game and it’s being refined at the right times. While Broz isn’t a heavy forechecker or typical net-front presence, the Penguins already have a few of those within their system. They don’t have a two-way playmaker like this.
I don’t think the Penguins have a forward prospect like Broz. He’s the type of forward who can elevate those around him via his puck distribution, ability to weasel his way out of trouble and make the smart, safe play with the puck. He’s figuring out how to control the game at both ends of the ice, a trend worth keeping an eye on as Broz progresses to the next level and beyond.
Jesse seems very excited about Broz, and in turn, so should you.
It’s going to be a long while before we ever even entertain the idea of Broz playing with the Penguins and at this point it’s more likely he’s a piece for the next generation of Penguins hockey rather than the current era that involves Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin.
Broz will begin his freshman season at the University of Minnesota this season and will face much tougher opposition than he did during his time at Fargo in the USHL. His time and development at the collegiate level should give the Penguins a better idea as to what Broz will bring to the organization.