A look back at the players the Pittsburgh Penguins took in the 2006 Draft.
This is the next installment in our series “Pens Draft Class Rehash” where we profile the Pittsburgh Penguins draft choices by draft year that made the NHL.
We will be looking at the player’s time with Pittsburgh and try to dig up interesting facts and stats on the picks and recount interesting events that they may have been a part of.
Here is our rehash of the Pittsburgh Penguins 2006 Draft Class.
First the specifics of the picks.
The Penguins took five players in the draft, one forward, four defensemen, and one goaltender, with three of five players selected (60 percent) playing for the Penguins.
Goaltender Johnson was the Penguins’ final pick in the draft (125th) and despite not playing a game for the team, his trade to New York Rangers in 2009, held an interesting historical connection for both Pittsburgh and the player they drafted with the pick they received in return for Johnson. There will be more on that player when we cover the 2009 draft, the only clue we will offer is he shares a name with Penguins royalty.
The Penguins selected Strait with the 65th pick overall and made an impact with the Wilkes/Barre Scranton (WBS) Penguins of the AHL when he joined them in 2009. Over 220 games played (GP) with WBS from 2009-2013 Strait scored eight goals and 40 points.
Strait made his NHL debut on Feb. 21, 2011, and earned one point in 12 GP with Penguins, over two seasons.
On Jan. 18, 2013, the New York Islanders picked up Strait from the waiver wire and he faced his old team in the Penguins/Islanders six-game set in the 2013 Conference Quarter-Finals.
Sneep was taken with the 32nd pick in the draft and played in his only NHL game on Dec. 17, 2011, vs. Buffalo ( side note: I was at this game, and the Penguins beat the Sabres 8-3).
Sneep took 20 shifts and had 16 minutes and19 seconds of time, with two hits and one block.
During his time with WBS, Sneep scored four goals and 27 points in 102 GP from 2010-13.
On Jan. 24, 2013, Sneep was traded to the Dallas Stars in exchange for a seventh-round pick in 2013.
Staal was selected with the second pick overall and marked the fourth time in as many seasons that Pittsburgh held a top-two pick after they selected Marc-Andre Fleury with the 1st pick in 2003, Evgeni Malkin with the 2nd pick in 2004, and Sidney Crosby with the first pick in 2005.
Staal immediately cracked the Penguins line-up and helped the team carve out a new identity that would lead them to championship glory.
Staal made his NHL debut on Oct. 5, 2006, and scored his first career goal on Oct. 12, 2006, and on Feb. 10, 2007, Staal collected his first career hat-trick.
Staal finished third in Calder Trophy voting and completed his rookie season with 42 points and 29 goals in 81 games. Staal also led the league in short-handed goals (7) and shooting percentage (22%).
On Jun. 22, 2012, Staal was traded to Carolina in exchange for Brandon Sutter, Brian Dumoulin, and a first-round pick in 2012.
Staal finished his time with the Penguins scoring 120 goals (13 short-handed) and 248 points in 431 GP.
A couple of other notable future Penguins were selected at the 2006 draft, Phil Kessel (5th), and Jeff Zatkoff (74th).