Draft weekend has come and gone and for Phil Kessel, Kris Letang, Jack Johnson and the Penguins and things remain very much status quo, at least when it comes to the team’s 23-man roster. GMJR executed no major trades — even keeping the team’s mythical 1st round pick — and moved back into the 3rd round to draft power forward Nathan Legare and swapped 7th rounders with the Sharks to grab Santeri Airola.
Not to say that GMJR is done. Free Agency starts July 1st, and there’s plenty of time between now and then to make a move or two… or three. He spoke with the media at the draft and promptly squashed (or did he) the notion that Letang or Malkin would be on the move, saying “It is highly unlikely (Kris Letang and Evgeni Malkin) will be dealt. The point I was making was I am open to accepting calls and have conversations about our players. I wasn’t aggressively active on trying to move those top players.”
In the meantime, here’s what happened this weekend.
Pittsburgh Penguins 2019 NHL Draft Selections
Round 1 (21): Samuel Poulin, F, QMJH – Watch his post-pick media scrum
Round 3 (74): Nathan Legare, F, QMJHL – Acquired from Arizona for picks 98, 151, 207
Round 5 (145): Judd Caulfield, F, U-18
Round 7 (203): Valtteri Puustinen, F, Finland
Round 7 (211): Santeri Airola, D, Finland Juniors – Acquired from San Jose for 2019 7th round pick
Links and News and Notes
Sam Kassan has a rundown of the Penguins’ 2019 Draft Class over at NHL.com.
The New Jersey Devils made U-18 center Jack Hughes this year’s 1st overall selection. The Rangers picked up the number one ranked international skater, Kaapo Kakko with the 2nd pick and the Blackhawks took center Kirby Dach with the 3rd pick. The 4th overall pick was defenseman Bowen Byram, who you can read about over at Colorado Hockey Now. You can check out all the first round picks plus their scouting report on NHL.com.
The big blockbuster of the weekend was the PK Subban trade, which saw the once (and future) Penguins nemesis traded from Nashville to New Jersey for Steve Santini, Jeremy Davies and two second-round picks. It was, as the New York Post put it, a bit of a steal and has the Devils, who also had the 1st pick in the draft, primed for relevance again.
Veteran forward Patrick Marleau was moved in a pure cap-relief transaction, dealt from Toronto to Carolina for a 1st and 7th round pick in 2020. The Maple Leafs also got a 6th rounder in 2020 in return. The Leafs retained none of Marleau’s salary.
JT Miller was also a victim of the Salary Cap, as he (and his $5.25 million dollar cap hit) was shipped out to Vancouver for goalie Marek Mazanec, a 3rd round pick in 2019 and a conditional 1st rounder in 2020 or 2021.
Sean Leahy over at Pro Hockey Talk has his winners and losers of the 2019 Draft. The big winner? USA Hockey, baby! Number 1 overall Jack Hughes was one of 59 Americans selected in the draft.
More love for the USA, USA, USA! National Team Development Program, this time from SPORTSNET.
The Sporting News’ Sammi Silber says there were some definite reaches in the first round (Kirby Dach, Moritz Seider). If you’re into the Athletic, Scott Wheeler has an exhaustive list of his own winners and losers from rounds 2-7.
Boston fans? Check out Boston Hockey Now’s full coverage of the Bruins’ picks.
There were no NHL best dressed lists. Which is in stark contrast to the approximately 3 billion articles written on the NBA Draft’s best dressed.