He could soon be playing alongside Sidney Crosby, if he plays his cards right in the next three years.
Former Prince George Cougar Justin Almeida signed an NHL entry-level contract with the Pittsburgh Penguins on Saturday (March 9), another step in what has been an impressive final Western Hockey League (WHL) season for the 20-year-old.
The Kitimat, B.C. native has compiled 101 points this year in 61 games with the Moose Jaw Warriors, including a league-leading 71 assists.
He was drafted by the five-time Stanley Cup-champion Pens in the fifth round, 129th overall in the 2018 NHL Draft.
Four years earlier, he was a first-round, fifth overall WHL Bantam Draft selection of Prince George, sending him down to play with the Cariboo Cougars, where he helped the team get to the B.C. Major Midget Hockey League (BCMML) finals.
Almeida played 85 games with Prince George before he was traded to Moose Jaw in Jan. 2017.
In a Pittsburgh team release, Almeida participated in both the Penguins' prospect development camp last June and the team's rookie tournament in Buffalo in September.
He is also a two-time WHL Player of the Week winner this year, earning the honours in back-to-back weeks ending January 21 and January 28.