On Thursday night, the Pittsburgh Penguins will likely do something they’ve done only once since 2014. In that time, the organization has won more Stanley Cups (2) than they’ve made first-round picks (1).
2019 first-rounder Sam Poulin figures to be NHL-ready to play a lower line center role sometime within the next two seasons, or he’ll never be ready. 2014 first-rounder Kasperi Kapanen was traded to Toronto in 2015 and reacquired in 2020. His fate hangs in the balance this summer as an RFA. Believe it or not, if the team does not re-sign Evgeni Malkin and Kapanen, the Penguins will have only one of their first-round picks of the last 17 years on the roster: Sidney Crosby.
With a great deal of input from our colleague, draftnik Marco D’Amico of Montreal Hockey Now, Pittsburgh Hockey Now has been researching prospects who could be both available and helpful to the Penguins with their 21st overall pick.
Historically, the Penguins have found value at their later first-round spot. They selected Brooks Orpik 18th overall in 2000, Colby Armstrong 21st in 2001, Olli Maatta 22nd in 2012, and Kapanen 22nd in 2014.