Jun 30, 2013; Newark, NJ, USA; A general view of the stage between picks during the 2013 NHL Draft at the Prudential Center. Mandatory Credit: Ed Mulholland-USA TODAY Sports

Penguins to Select Forward in First-Round of NHL Draft?

Pittsburgh Penguins’ general manager Jim Rutherford certainly has a full plate heading towards the date of Jul. 1.

And for that matter, the rest of the offseason.

Having yet to announce the team’s next head coach, Rutherford is in the process of interviewing candidates. And although he hasn’t focused on anything other than naming his new head coach, he has given us a taste of what to expect for the draft on Jun. 27.

Pittsburgh is set to select 22nd, which is reminiscent because that’s when the organization took defenseman Olli Maatta back in 2012. However, unlike Maatta’s position, Rutherford is thinking offense for their first-round selection.

According to Dave Molinari of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, Rutherford has made it clear that he intends to take a forward in this year’s crop. Here’s what he said, per Molinari:

“We’re going to really lean toward a forward at this time.” he said. “My preference is take a forward.”

Pittsburgh’s system is flourished with young defensemen, and, believe it or not, they’ve got some fine prospect goaltenders beyond Jeff Zatkoff. So, it makes sense they’re in line to nab a forward.

Right now, the Pens have some promising forwards – Beau Bennett, Brian Gibbons, Jayson Megna, Anton Zlobin, etc. – but the time will come when some of their older players depart. Craig Adams will surely be gone next summer, and Pascal Dupuis and Chris Kunitz’s contracts will be up after the next two seasons.

Building a stable group of young forwards is the right move.

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