The Pittsburgh Penguins have signed forward Justin Almeida to a three-year, entry-level contract, it was announced today by executive vice president and general manager Jim Rutherford.
The contract will begin when Almeida turns pro next season in 2019-20. Pittsburgh selected Almeida in the fifth round (129th overall) in the 2018 NHL Draft.
Almeida, 20, has been one of top offensive performers in the Western Hockey League this season with the Moose Jaw Warriors. A multiple-time WHL Player of the Week winner this year, Almeida currently leads the league in assists with 68 and places fourth in points with 95. He needs just four points to top his total from last season.
A native of North Vancouver, British Columbia, Almeida enjoyed a breakout performance for Moose Jaw in 2017-18. In 72 games played last year, he produced 43 goals, 55 assists and 98 points. His point total was 10th-best in the WHL, and his assist total ranked 12th overall. During the playoffs, Almeida added 13 points (6G-7A) in 14 games.
The 5-foot-11, 165-pound Almeida has skated for four-plus seasons in the WHL with Moose Jaw and Prince George, tallying 83 goals, 144 assists and 227 points in 250 games.
Almeida participated in both the Penguins' prospect development camp last June and the team's rookie tournament in Buffalo in September.
Photo credit: Marc Smith/DiscoverMooseJaw