The Pittsburgh Penguins will have a first round draft pick for the first time since 2014. That was so long ago the top three picks in that draft were Aaron Ekblad, Sam Reinhart and Leon Draisaitl, as 2014 proved the Edmonton Oilers could get it right, sometimes. The Penguins selected second-generation Finnish prospect Kasperi Kapanen with the 22nd overall pick but haven’t had a Friday night pick in the draft since. And so we begin with our first Penguins mock draft roundup.
Before Pittsburgh Hockey Now begins full draft coverage with information from scouts and draftniks over the next 10 days in anticipation of the big day for prospects and teams, this is a recap of the latest mock drafts.
Adam Kimmelman: Thomas Harley, LHD. 6′-3″, 193 pounds. Mississauga Steelheads.
Kimmelman believes Harley has the size, skill, and mobility to immediately add to the Penguins prospect pool, but likely needs another year at the OHL level.
Harley: 68gp. 11g. 47a. 58p. 24pims.
Mike Morreale: Cam York, LHD. 5′-11″, 165 pounds. USNTDP.
Morreale believes York is mobile, elusive and has good vision. Others believe York is near the top of the class but many outlets have York falling to the Penguins. York set the record for most points by a defenseman in the U-18 World Junior Championships.
York: 63gp. 14g. 51a. 65p. 16pims.
WJC U-18: 7pg. 4g. 7a. 11p. 0pims.
Guillaume Lepage: Bobby Brink, RW 5′-8″, 159 pounds. Sioux City, USHL.
Lepage wrote that Brink needs to work on his skating but believes his offensive output could make him a first-round darkhorse.
Our Dan Kingerski added regarding the NHL Penguins mock draft: A short, light, but slower footed winger with good hands may have fit the 2015 Penguins, but the Penguins are going fast and heavy. Harley is an attractive option but lacks the high reward the Penguins may opt for given their immediate needs and an empty pool. York is the favorite pick for the Penguins among the insider crowd.
Sammi Silber: Matthew Robertson, LHD, 6′-4″, 200 pounds. Edmonton Oil Kings.
Silber wrote Robertson is one of the top handful of defenseman prospects and is active on both sides of the puck. Robertson is physical and able to be the QB on the power play. Silber believes Robertson could be NHL ready sooner than later.
Robertson: 52gp. 7g. 26a. 33p. 26pims
Kristopher Knox: Philip Tomasino, C, 5′-11″, 183 pounds. Niagara IceDogs
Several sites have Tomasino in the early to mid-20s. The reports on Tomasino are that he has excellent speed and can make plays at full speed.
Dan Kingerski: Too many Penguins mock draft lists assume the Penguins will grab a defenseman. A player who can help the Penguins with speed and offense while Sidney Crosby is still at full steam would not be the worst thing in the world. The Penguins lost a little bit of their identity last season and a forward’s development time is a lot less than that of a defenseman.
Tomasino: 67gp. 34g. 38a. 72p. 32pims.
Website: Ryan Suzuki, C, 6′-0″, 175 pounds, Barrie Colts.
Multiple draft experts claim Suzuki has high-end talent, speed, and hockey IQ. However, most also agree Suzuki needs to get inside the dots more often and a lack of consistency has dropped him down in the draft.
If a top-shelf player is available, it may be too good for the Penguins to pass up. Not every 18-year-old is as mature or aware as they should be. The scouts believe his skills rival the best of the class.
Ryan Suzuki: 65gp. 25g. 50a. 75p. 14pims
Bill Placzek: Cam York, LHD. 5′-11″, 189 pounds. USNTDP.
Placzek wrote that York is an elite skater and all-around defenseman but will need to get stronger and his shot is currently weak.
Larry Fisher: Cam York, LHD. 5′-11″, 189 pounds. USNTDP.
Fisher notes some scouts believed York was the second best defenseman in the draft class before he put up record-setting offensive points at the U-18 World Championships. Fisher wrote York is a cut above current Penguins prospect Calen Addison.
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