Penguins A to Z: Can Filip Hallander finally take a spot on the NHL roster?

With the Penguins’ 2021-22 season coming to a quick ending in the first round of the playoffs, the Tribune-Review will offer Penguins A to Z, a player-by-player look at all 54 individuals signed to an NHL contract — including those whose deals do not begin until the 2022-23 season — with the organization, from mid-level prospect Niclas Almari to top-six winger Jason Zucker.

filip hallander

Position: left-winger

Shoots: Right

Age: 21

Height: 6-foot-1

Weight: 190 pounds

2021-22 NHL statistics: one game, zero points (zero goals, zero assists)

2021-22 AHL statistics: 61 games, 28 points (14 goals, 14 assists)

Contract: In the second year of a three-year entry-level contract with a salary cap hit of $764,167. Pending restricted free agent in the 2023 offseason.

(Note: According to Cap Friendly, Hallander’s contract includes a European assignment clause. This allows Hallander, if he chooses, to play in Europe if the Penguins assign him to a minor league affiliate.)

Acquired: Trade, July 17, 2021

Last season: The Penguins knew what they were getting when they traded for Filip Hallander last summer.

After all, they had selected him in the second round (No. 58 overall) of the 2018 draft.

So when they offloaded NHL forward Jared McCann to the Toronto Maple Leafs in a trade that was primarily a salary dump, they salvaged the transaction by getting back an entity that was one of their top prospects, admittedly from a limited pool of candidates.

During the Penguins’ prospect camp in September, Hallander boldly proclaimed he was entering the ensuing training camp with the hopes of taking a spot on the NHL roster. But an injury hobbled him through most of the preseason and waylaid those ambitions.

A native of Sweden, Hallander made his North American debut in 2021-22 as he played for the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins of the American Hockey League.

Primarily used in a top-nine role among Wilkes-Barre/Scranton’s forwards while also being deployed on both special teams units, Hallander finished tied for the team lead in game-winning goals with three.

The highlight of his season at the AHL level came during a 5-3 road win against the Bridgeport Islanders on Feb. 26 when he recorded his first career hat trick on this continent.

After the calendar flipped to 2022, Hallander earned a handful of recalls, first to the taxi squad on Jan. 12 then the NHL roster on April 4 as well as April 7. The latter recall led to him making his NHL debut during a 3-0 road loss to the New York Rangers. With several incumbent members of the NHL roster dealing with an undisclosed illness, Hallander was deployed sparingly as he logged 5:52 of ice time on 12 shifts.

During the AHL playoffs, Hallander posted four points (one goal, three assists) in six contests.

The future: During his end-of-season media availability last month, Penguins general manager Ron Hextall named Hallander specifically as one of the team’s prospects who could realistically compete for a roster spot heading into the 2022-23 season.

Given the salary cap crunch the Penguins are bound to face this upcoming offseason, they will need to rely on more of their prospects, particularly up front, to fill out the lineup.

A steady defensive player who can chip in offensively and play with some physicality, Hallander, who has ample professional experience on his resume from his time playing in the Swedish Hockey League (SHL), seems to be in line to truly compete for a bottom- six roles and take a spot on the NHL roster after taking a considerable step forward in 2021-22.

Follow the Penguins all season long.

Seth Rorabaugh is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Seth by email at srorabaugh@triblive.com or via Twitter .

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