June 22, 2012; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman announces a trade between the Carolina Hurricanes and the Pittsburgh Penguins for the eighth overall pick at the 2012 NHL Draft at CONSOL Energy Center. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

Who Should The Pens Draft?

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The Pittsburgh Penguins have had a first-round pick in the past four drafts — they won’t this time.

Last year, the Pens had two first-round picks as result of the trade involving Jordan Staal. The 2013 NHL Entry draft will be the first time since 2008 that the Penguins will be without a first-rounder.

And this is very worrisome for the Pittsburgh faithful because of the success that the organization has had with first-round picks in recent years.

Some of the first-round selections that are still currently on the team include Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin, Marc-Andre Fleury, Brooks Orpik, Beau Bennett and Simon Despres.

You could say the Pens have been very successful with their choices.

Unless a trade goes down during the draft, the Penguins will draft their first pick in the third-round. However, General Manager Ray Shero believes that it is possible he could make a trade for a draft choice in the earlier rounds:

“You never know.  You always have to be prepared for that.”

There are teams the Pens could potentially trade with.  Like the Columbus Blue Jackets — who have three first-round draft choices.

But as Pens fans well know, we will never know what will happen till the trade actually goes down.

For now, the current picks that the Penguins have include two third-round picks (77 and 89), a fourth-round (119), sixth-round (179) and seventh-round (209).

Although these selections aren’t relatively high in the draft, you can still discover good depth players.

Back in the 2003 NHL Entry Draft, the Penguins picked Matt Moulson with the 263rd pick.

Now, Moulson is a mainstay for the New York Islanders.

I have decided to look into all the prospects and see what players the Penguins may be interested in at the time they have a pick.

Here is a mock draft for the Pittsburgh Penguins in the 2013 NHL Entry Draft:

3rd round                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                               

77th pick — Zach Sanford — Left Wing — Middlesex Islanders (ECHL)

89th pick — Ross Olsson — Right Wing — Cedar Rapids (USHL)

4th round                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      

119th pick — Remi Elie — Left Wing — London (OHL)

6th round

179th pick — Tyler Stanton — Defenseman — Medicine Hat (WHL)

7th round    

209th pick — Mikael Johansson — Center — Vaxjo (Allsvenskan)

The Pens have really focused on drafting defensemen lately — so in the earlier picks, I focused on some forwards.

One of the problems that the Pens had this past season was not having skaters that would drive to the net and get some “dirty” goals.  All three forwards that I selected with the first three picks are big players who are willing to get down to the net and take some bodies with their hits.

In the sixth-round, I decided to take Tyler Stanton.  Stanton is a great stay-at-home defenseman who has a strong penalty killing prowess.

One of the major flaws the Pens have is a stay-at-home defenseman and Stanton might be able to fill that role in the near future.

Finally, I went with Johansson in the seventh-round.  Johansson is very efficient in the face-off circle and has the makings of a solid third-line grinder for Pittsburgh.

It will be interesting to see what the Pens do come Sunday.

All we know as Pens fans is — in Shero we trust.

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Tags: NHL Draft Pittsburgh Penguins

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