VANCOUVER — Day One of the 2019 NHL Draft was as subdued as a symposium on edible gummies with free samples. The potential trades hyped by heavy chatter and desire from a lot of teams fizzled into hand sitting and post-draft shrugs. Pittsburgh Penguins GM Jim Rutherford either opened or closed Penguins trade rumors, pending which sentence you heard or what you choose to believe.
With the first pick in Round 2, the Ottawa Senators selected Shane Pinto. Why Pinto? WHY NOT? (Animal House reference).
The Philadelphia Flyers traded up three spots to select Bobby Brink, who is one of the smallest players in the draft. Brink is only 5-foot-8, 165 pounds. It is a brave new world when Philadelphia is picking mites. Somewhere, Daniel Briere cracked a smile.
The Tampa Bay Lightning traded East Palestine, OH native JT Miller to Vancouver for a minor league goalie, a third rounder this year and a 2020 first-round pick, which is lottery protected. Miller scored 47 points (13g, 34a) in 75 games. His speed and versatility will be an asset to Vancouver, and his $5.250 million annual salary will not be as burdensome to Vancouver.
Tampa Bay got a nice haul which will help them re-tool, refresh or add new faces to the locker room should the need arise.
Most teams literally sat on their hands in the first round. The corner meetings and quiet chats were non-existent, at least for the Penguins. Business picked up a little bit for the Penguins midway through the second round. They even received a visit from a Carolina Hurricanes rep. Nothing came of it, at least in the immediate and the teams would make interesting bedfellow considering the available defensemen and the suspected talks in the winter for power forward Michel Ferland.
Things seemed to cool shortly afterward. Such is how business works–idea, contact, interest, re-contact, and poof, fizzle.
We’re into Round 3. The Penguins do not have a pick in this round either. However, if Conor Sheary has scored a few more points or goals, they would have received Buffalo’s 67th overall pick.
More to come….
11:20: The P.K. Subban to New Jersey Devils trade was FINALLY announced. Subban for defensemen Steven Santini and Jeremy Davies, this year’s 34th overall pick and New Jersey’s 2020 second round pick.
11:28: Pens Make Trade into the third round for the 74th overall pick. They gave up picks 98, 151, 207.
The Penguins selected Nathan Legare from Baie-Comeau Drakkar. Much like their first-round pick, the Penguins took another big, physical winger from the QMJHL who can score goals but isn’t necessarily a great skater, yet. Legare popped 45 goals and 42 assists in 68 games.
Legare, 18, is 6-foot, 200 pounds and the consensus is he is another winger with jam. He will the join similar cast with Samuel Poulin, who was selected by the Penguins in Round One and prospect Kasper Bjorkvist who will leave Providence College a year early to join the Penguins.