That’s a wrap. After six grueling hours, the 2021 NHL Draft Day 2 finally wrapped when teams moved warp speed through the seventh round. The Pittsburgh Penguins had only five picks in the draft, but three were in the seventh.
And as hardcore Penguins fans know, Patric Hornqvist was the final selection of the 2005 NHL Draft. Sidney Crosby was the first overall, and Hornqvist was last.
The odds are Penguins fans will never see the seventh-rounders. Perhaps the Wheeling Nailers fans will get to know them, but statistically, players taken at the end are gambles, often more so than undrafted free agents.
More on Pittsburgh Penguins second-round pick Tristan Broz here.
More on Penguins fifth-rounder Isaac Belliveau here.
Who did the Pittsburgh Penguins Get?
7th Round, Pick 194: Ryan McCleary, D, Portland Winterhawks.
The 6-foot-2, 180-pound defenseman played for former Penguins head coach Mike Johnston, the coach, GM, and VP of the Portland Winterhawks.
“He’s a raw, young kid,” Penguins Director of Player Personnel Chris Pryor termed him.
NHL Central Scouting ranked McCleary 141st of North American skaters.
Associate head coach Kyle Gustafson told the Winterhawks team website in April:
“The things I like about Ryan are his offensive instincts,” Gustafson said. “He anticipates the play well, willing to jump up ice and contribute offensively. He is doing a lot of things that are smart with the puck and makes a lot of nice plays in the middle of the ice.”
7th Round, Pick 215: Daniel Laatsch, D, Sioux City Musketeers
The 6-foot-5, 182-pound defenseman from the USHL was rated as the 147th best North American skater by the NHL Central Scouting. He didn’t crack the top 200 of the other scouting services.
Last season, Laatsch scored 19 points (2-17-19) for Sioux City but was scoreless in four playoff games. He previously played in the US National Development program for the USNDT U18 in the USHL but had only seven points (2-5-7) in 2019-20.
“He lost himself (in the USNDT) program,” Pryor said. “With the bigger defenseman, it can take some time. He went to Sioux City this season and got on track.”
He will attend the University of Wisconsin in the fall.
7th Round, Pick 218: Kirill Tankov, C, Ska-Varyagi Russia Jr. A MHL
Kirill Tankov, 19, was not ranked by any scouting service. He has not participated in any national team tournaments. The 6-foot-1, 180-pound Russian center is completely off the map. Last season with the Ska-Varyagi of the MHL, he played 60 regular-season games (including eight games with SKA-1946 St. Petersburg) and scored 44 points with 19 goals.
He played his youth hockey in Metallurg, Russia, the hometown program of current Pittsburgh Penguins star Evgeni Malkin. The Penguins’ new Russian scout Alexander Khavanov had a feel for him, according to Pryor. It’s advantageous for the Penguins because they can leave him to develop in Russia without losing his rights.