If you subscribe to the national publications and organizational rankings, you may have seen the dire forecasts. According to some lists, the Pittsburgh Penguins are the most prospect bereft organization in the NHL. Others list the Penguins 30th, ahead of only the Washington Capitals..
In GM Jim Rutherford’s full six-year tenure, the Penguins have had only two first-round picks, and the first one of those was 2014 when Rutherford was on the job for only a couple of weeks. The 2020 NHL Draft will be his seventh with the Penguins, but currently, the Penguins do not have a first-round pick this season because they swapped it for Kasperi Kapanen. They will also not have a first-round choice in 2021, as the Minnesota Wild control that pick thanks to the Jason Zucker trade.
So, the Penguins prospect list, which was teetering on barren last summer, is now officially shallow as a mud puddle as some prospects age out or have begun to reach their ceiling otherwise.
For even more comparison, here is the 2018 list.
For example, Adam Johnson, who has been on the list for several years, is now a 26-year-old unrestricted free agent. Sam Miletic is only 23-years-old but scored only 32 points in 62 games this season. He was overmatched in training camp. His rise after an intriguing 2018-19 hit a brick wall.
From the 2018 list, Zach Aston-Reese, Teddy Blueger, and some goalie named Tristan Jarry finally made it to the NHL. From the 2018 and 2019 list, Jordie Bellerive and Linus Ohlund have been dropped.