Penguins sign Providence’s Björkqvist, who gives up senior season with Friars

BOSTON, MA - OCTOBER 26: The Boston University Terriers host the Providence College Friars during NCAA men's hockey at Agganis Arena on October 26, 2018 in Boston, Massachusetts. (Photo by Rich Gagnon) Kasper Bjorkqvist (Rich Gagnon/Providence College photo: Rich Gagnon)
Kasper Björkqvist tallied 17 goals and 30 points in 2018-19 for Providence (photo: Rich Gagnon).

Providence junior forward Kasper Björkqvist has signed a two-year, entry-level contract with the Pittsburgh Penguins, forgoing his final year of collegiate eligibility.

Björkqvist was originally selected by the Penguins in the second round (61st overall) of the 2016 NHL Draft.

A tri-captain for the Friars in 2018-19, Björkqvist amassed career highs in goals (17), assists (13) and points (30) while recording a team-high 131 shots on goal.

He appeared in 89 consecutive games to close out his career at Providence.

“Kasper was able to produce in big games throughout his college career, and he was fortunate to play in a lot of them,” Penguins assistant GM Bill Guerin said in a statement. “Playing for an outstanding program in Providence allowed him to go far in the NCAA Tournament each season, so he received a lot of great experience.”

In 112 career games at Providence, Björkqvist totaled 36 goals and 26 assists for 62 points and plus-29 rating in helping the Friars to NCAA tournament appearances in all three of his seasons.