Draft Report; Who the Penguins should be looking at for the first round of the NHL Draft.
With the draft less than a week away, there have been many speculating what is going to happen and how the pieces will fall. In this piece I will examine the needs of the Pittsburgh Penguins and choose a few select players that they will most likely be looking at come Friday.
Joel Armia – Right Winger - This is the least likely candidate for the Penguins as Armia has been predicted to fall anywhere from 11 to 28. If he is on the board when the Penguins make their selection it would be wise for them to take him. Armia stands tall at 6’3 with a lanky frame. He only weighs in at about 190, but in comparison, he is about the same size Evgeni Malkin. He plays a fast game, very offensive minded, with a powerful shot. If the Penguins are lucky enough to get him, he could quickly become Sidney Crosby’s linemate. The fact that he is considered to be NHL ready from day 1 of camp does not hurt either.
Thomas Jurco – Right Winger - Jurco is a player that not many people are sold on. He stands at 6’2 and weighs just under 190. He is more than likely to still be on the board when Pittsburgh picks as he is considered a late first round pick. The reason many are not ready to take a shot on him is his playing style. With amazing hands and puck handling, he gets caught putting on a show instead of putting the puck in the net. Given a few seasons in the AHL, he could become a very productive winger with Crosby, Malkin, or Staal.
Tyler Biggs – Right Winger – Biggs is a project player. He is just 18 years old and will most likely be headed to college to improve his game. Biggs is a large player who stands at 6’2, but weighs in at 210. His game is simple with a north/south approach and physical style. In a simple comparison he is a lot like Penguins winger Eric Tangradi, except that Biggs is also a fighter. Given a few seasons, this right winger could see time on a third or even second line.
Brandon Saad – Left Winger – Saad is a power forward from Pittsburgh Pa. He stands at 6’1 and weighs in at about 210. He breaks through checks and has suprising speed. His biggest attribute is his two way style. Considered one of the better two way players in this draft, Saad is a great pick for any team looking to build a complete line-up. His best ability might be that he can be considered NHL ready, one of the few this late in the draft.
Nicklas Jensen – Right/Left Winger – The Denmark born player is said to have excellent puck handling skills, but lacks a physical presence. At 6’2 and 190, he has room to grow, but would only use his size for shooting space. His wrist shot is considered his best attribute, drawing comparisons to that of Kovalev, in both speed and accuracy. If the Penguins are patient, Jensen can be a productive player in as little as three seasons, expect a season or two in both the OHL and AHL.
Jonas Brodin – Defenseman – The Swedish defenseman is ranked much higher than a 23rd overall pick, but with the bigger names at forward it is possible that Brodin falls to 23rd. He is a smaller player, at just 6’1 170. If he is able to put on 30 pounds in the next few years he could easily be on the Penguins roster. He is a very smooth skater, puck handler, and passer. His game is compared to Marc-Andre Bergeron and after a few seasons he could become a mainstay on the Penguins Defense.
The Penguins will be lucky to select any of these players, considering that most of them can be top 20 picks. While these are my favorites to fill the gaps for the future, Ray Shero has a complicated mind that analyses a million things at once. We will only find out on Friday who the Pens will take, but as of now, these few young players are who I believe the Penguins should be selecting to wear the black and gold.