With the kind of Western Hockey League season Moose Jaw Warriors forward Justin Almeida has had, it seemed like it was only a matter of time before the Pittsburgh Penguins made it official.
That day came Saturday, when it was announced the 19-year-old forward signed a three-year entry level contract with the National Hockey League squad after the team chose him in the fifth round, 219th overall in the 2018 NHL Draft.
The contract – a standard three-year entry-level deal -- comes into effect next season when Almeida would be in his overage year with the Warriors.
Almeida played in both the Penguins prospect development camp in June and the team’s rookie tournament in Buffalo in September, with his game only developing from there – heading into action Saturday night against Regina, Almeida has 28 goals and 69 assists for 97 points on the season and currently sits fourth in WHL scoring.
His performance this season comes off an equally impressive campaign in 2018-19, as he finished with 43 goals and 98 points while playing all 72 games of the season.
Almeida and the Warriors take on the Pats tonight at 7 p.m. at Mosaic Place.