As a team with few needs and even fewer draft choices, the Pittsburgh Penguins were not expected to make waves at the 2013 NHL Entry Draft.
Arriving at the draft with only one pick in the first four rounds, the Pens were able to acquire a second-round pick (50th overall) from the San Jose Sharks in exchange for Tyler Kennedy.
Following the deal, the Penguins went to work adding prospects to the organization.
With the draft complete and free agency looming, let's take a look at the Penguins' draft picks.
2013 NHL Central Scouting Rankings can be found here.
Although he was a backup goaltender with the Edmonton Oil Kings of the WHL, Tristan Jarry piqued the Penguins' interest as a possible starting goaltender at the NHL level.
After completing a trade with the Columbus Blue Jackets that allowed the Pens to move up six spots in the second round, they selected Jarry, who was the No. 3-ranked North American goaltender by NHL Central Scouting.
In 27 games, Jarry posted a record of 18-7 and had a league-best 1.61 goals-against average and a .936 save percentage. His six shutouts were tied for second-most in the WHL.
In two seasons with the Oil Kings, Jarry has appeared in 41 career regular-season games, going 26-9-1 with a 2.03 goals-against average and a .921 save percentage.
Known for his strong positional play, Jarry relies more on technique than athleticism which could make him a good complement to Marc-Andre Fleury down the road.
Penguins assistant director of amateur scouting Randy Sexton told Penguins.NHL.com that the team sees Jarry as "a potential starting goalie." Sexton went on to say, "He’s got very good size. He moves well. He’s got the technical foundation and the size we think to be a starter."
Next season, Jarry will be the starting goaltender with the Oil Kings, so the Pens' scouts will be watching to see how he handles the increased workload.
Looking for depth at the center position, the Penguins selected Jake Guentzel in the third round.
In 60 regular-season games for Sioux City in 2012-13, Guentzel tallied 29 goals, 44 assists and 73 points and finished the regular season riding a 21-game point streak—the longest such streak in the USHL’s history.
Guentzel also won several awards this season including USHL Rookie of the Year, being named a Second-Team All-Star and earning a spot on the All-Rookie Team.
Despite being only 5'9" and weighing only 155 pounds, Guentzel, who will be attending the University of Nebraska-Omaha in the fall, figures to continue to grow as both his father and brothers are all over 6'.
Guentzel, who was rated 80th overall among North American skaters by Central Scouting, is described by International Scouting Services (h/t Bryan Metzer via timesonline.com—subscription required):
Creative and electric player who displays very good skills. He is capable of centering your number one line and playing on the point on the power play. He brings a great combination of skating, speed, and balance and hockey sense and has a great work ethic and answered several questions about his lack of size and production last season when he averaged over a point-per-game."
Having stockpiled offensive defensemen in the past few drafts, Penguins GM Ray Shero opted for more rugged and hard-hitting defensemen and selected Ryan Segalla in the fourth round.
In 28 games this past season, the Boston, Massachusetts native totaled 28 points (10 goals and eight assists) and will attend the University of Connecticut in the fall.
Described as a hard-nosed defenseman who has a high motor and good mobility, Segalla often plays on the edge.
One scout quoted in ESPN's Boston High School blog said of Segalla:
He has an over-the-top compete level. It’s second to none for kids around New England. He might play a little out of control at times, but he’s very strong, extremely physical. He’s tenacious.
While the Pens have a lot of playmaking defensemen in the organization, they don't have as many physical ones, so Segalla will get a chance to move up if he continues to develop.
Having traded away former first-round pick Joe Morrow to the Stars in the trade for Brenden Morrow, the Penguins continued to restock their pool of blue line prospects and selected Dane Birks.
At 6'3" and 190 pounds, Birks totaled 20 points (five goals and 15 assists) in 52 games with the Centennials and was ranked 121st overall among North American skaters by Central Scouting.
Penguins assistant director of amateur scouting Randy Sexton told the team's official website:
He is a good-sized defenseman and he’s going to play at least one more year in the BCHL before going to college. We like the upside that he has. He’s a little bit of a late bloomer, but he skates well, moves the puck well and is physical in his own way. He is one of those players that needs a little bit more time but obviously going the college route, he’ll get it.
ISS' take on Birks read (h/t Metzer):
He has size and isn’t afraid to use it. He also possesses a booming shot that he often unleashes from the point. Since the Pens are flush with talented defensemen, Birks will get plenty of time to develop and could become a solid two-way defenseman at the NHL level down the road.
In an effort to continue to add forward depth, the Penguins selected Blaine Byron in the sixth round.
Byron split this season with the Kemptville 73's and Smith's Falls Bears of the Central Canada Hockey League (CCHL), totaling 52 points (12 goals and 40 assists) in 51 games.
Byron, who was the 122nd-rated North American player by Central Scouting, was a CCHL Third-Team All-Star and won the CCHL’s Top Prospect Award this past year.
Pittsburgh assistant director of amateur scouting Randy Sexton spoke about Byron to Penguins.NHL.com:
He is a very smart player. He will grow a little bit more. Smart, skilled, creative playmaker. Certainly more of a playmaker than a goal scorer. He's a college player (University of Maine) who's going to need a little bit more time to develop.
Looking for talented and tenacious players, the Penguins used their final pick of the draft to select Troy Josephs.
Josephs helped St. Michael’s win the OJHL championship this season, contributing 20 points (7 goals and 13 assists) in 24 postseason contests. During the regular season Josephs had 17 goals, 20 assists and 37 points in 42 games.
Penguins assistant director of amateur scouting Randy Sexton described Josephs to the team's official website:
He plays with a lot of pace, a lot of tempo. He’s a hard to play against center. Tenacious on pucks, hard as an F1 forechecker. We like the grit that he brings. He needs more time to develop his game but he is certainly a guy that fits what we’re looking for.
According to ISS (h/t Metzer):
Josephs' flash and creativity on the puck was on display, spins off checks and remains in possession [of the puck]. Had good physical game, not one to shy away from oncoming pressure or dish it out. Ability to lay some heavy hits and great work low in the offensive zone, fierce puck battle and coming out with possession consistently. He used the boards extremely well to beat defenders at the blueline or low, chips puck and rolls off the check. Josephs needs to add size and strength in order to avoid being labeled as a junior level star. Not a committed defensive player at this point in time."
If Josephs can develop his defensive game to go with his tenacity and toughness on the puck, he could develop into a Matt Cooke type of player down the road.