Pittsburgh Penguins 2014 NHL Draft Picks: Grades, Results and Analysis

Franklin SteeleAnalyst IIJune 27, 2014

Pittsburgh Penguins 2014 NHL Draft Picks: Grades, Results and Analysis

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    Keith Srakocic/Associated Press

    The Pittsburgh Penguins will follow up on their light 2013 draft with an equally thin sheet of picks in the 2014 edition. Jim Rutherford made the 22nd pick of the first round and the didn't pick again until round four with the 113th pick overall.

    Ray Shero's regime traded the team's second-round pick in the Douglas Murray deal, while Lee Stempniak cost the franchise its third-round selection.

    Here is an in-depth analysis of the five selections made by the Pittsburgh Penguins in Jim Rutherford's first draft at the helm of the club.

Round One, Pick 22: Kasperi Kapanen, RW, KalPa Kuopio (SM-Liiga)

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    You just knew who the Pittsburgh Penguins were poised to select as general manager Jim Rutherford approached the stage. With Kasperi Kapanen still on the board, the former GM of the Carolina Hurricanes just couldn't resist drafting the son of a player that he used to manage.

    Leave it to the current regime in Pittsburgh to find a way to stick to the ol' boy's club, even when dealing with teenage draft picks. Regardless of the family connection, Rutherford snagged an extremely talented and dynamic winger deep into the first round.

    With James Neal on the way out, the need for high-end wings in Pittsburgh is at a fever pitch, and this was a rare occasion where the best player available just so happened to fit a need. Kapanen won't be in the NHL right away, but he could eventually become known as one of the biggest steals in this first round.

     

    Grade: A

Round Four, Pick 113: Sam Lafferty, RW, Deerfield (High-MA)

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    Going without a pick in the second and third rounds, the Penguins certainly hope that Sam Lafferty pans out as a decent NHL player. He's local to the Pittsburgh area, growing up in Hollidaysburg, PA before going on to hone his skills at Deerfield.

    Lafferty is the kind of player you'd expect Rutherford to select at this stage of the draft: high-risk, high-reward offensive forward with the potential to develop a high ceiling. It's unclear how he stacks up against tougher competition at this point, but Lafferty seems to have the offensive instincts needed to play as a professional at some level.

    He'll go on to play in the USHL this year, which is a situation Penguins fans should keep an eye on. If Lafferty can hang with that level of competition, Rutherford could have himself a steal here.

     

    Grade: B+

Round 5, Pick 145: Anthony Angello, Center, Omaha (USHL)

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    Bruce Bennett/Getty Images

    The Penguins added some size to their system when they selected center Anthony Angello with the 145th overall pick in the 2014 NHL draft.

    Angello is a big man already at the age of 18, standing 6'4" and weighing 190 pounds.

    He spent last season with the Omaha Lancers of the USHL and scored 11 goals and accumulated 21 points in 58 games. Angello also picked up 85 penalty minutes as he added a physical dimension to his team.

    Central Scouting had Angello ranked 114th among North American skaters prior to the draft.

    He does not possess a lot of offensive flair and projects as a bottom-six, checking forward.

    Angello will spend one more year with the Lancers before heading to Cornell University in 2015-16.

    Grade: B-

    --update by Brad Kurtzberg--

Round 6, Pick 173: Jaden Lindo, RW, Owen Sound (OHL)

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    Big Jaden Lindo was off to a good year for Owen Sound last season before a knee injury ended his season and hurt his draft stock.

    At 6'1" and 194 pounds, Lindo is a big man in the OHL and he never hesitated to throw his weight around and play a physical style of hockey.

    In 40 games last season, Lindo had nine goals and 18 points while accumulating 41 penalty minutes.

    Assuming he's back to being healthy, Lindo looks to take more of a leadership role in Owen Sound and to start to develop more offensive skills.

    He projects as a power forward, especially if he continues to add muscle and bulk to his frame as he matures.

    This was a good gamble for the Penguins in the sixth round.

    Grade: B

    --update by Brad Kurtzberg--

Round 7, Pick 203: Jeff Taylor, Defense, Union College (ECAC)

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    Chris Szagola/Associated Press

    The Penguins selected defenseman Jeff Taylor with the 203rd overall selection in this year's NHL draft.

    Taylor is a native of Clifton Park, New York and stands 6'0" and weighs 180 pounds.

    Last year was Taylor's freshman season at Union College and he helped them win at the Frozen Four. He finished the season with three goals and 16 points in 41 games. He also finished with a plus-20 rating.

    Taylor is smart with the puck and consistent in his own zone. His offensive game is nothing exceptional and he will be a stay-at-home defenseman if he reaches the next level.

    Taylor's consistency and hockey IQ make him a solid pick in the seventh round.

    Grade: B

    --update by Brad Kurtzberg--