NHL Draft 2011: Power Ranking the Pittsburgh Penguins Best Picks from 1991-2010

Eron NoreContributor IIIJune 21, 2011

NHL Draft 2011: Power Ranking the Pittsburgh Penguins Best Picks from 1991-2010

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    The NHL Draft will take place June 24th and 25th in Minnesota. Much of the emphasis for the current day Pittsburgh Penguins will be to (hopefully) upgrade the system's depth on the wings.

    Over the past 20 years, the Penguins have seen some great players skate for them. Many of these players were drafted by Craig Patrick or Ray Shero.

    With the focus being on tomorrow's stars, it seems like a great time to look back at Pittsburgh Penguins' drafts past. The following slide show is a power ranking of the best players selected by the Pens, regardless of where they blossomed.

    If you are wondering why I went from 1991-2010, basically I decided to take the chicken's route and not have to decide where to rank Jaromir Jagr. With that being said, there are sure to be some rankings that you disagree with, but this is all in good fun.

    Any omissions or mis-rankings are not meant to be an affront to a particular team or player. It is a long summer without hockey. Without goofballs like me making lists, it would be even longer.

2011 NHL Draft: No. 32 Best Pittsburgh Penguins Pick from 1991-2010

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    Player: Phillip Samuelsson

    Position: D

    Draft Year: 2009

    Overall Pick: 61st

    Teams: Team USA at the World Juniors, Boston College

    Best Known For: Being the son of former Penguin Ulf Samuelsson.

2011 NHL Draft: No. 31 Best Pittsburgh Penguins Pick from 1991-2010

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    Player: Beau Bennett

    Position: F

    Draft Year: 2010

    Overall Pick: 20th

    Team: University of Denver

    Best Known For: Highest drafted California born/trained player in NHL history.

2011 NHL Draft: No. 30 Best Pittsburgh Penguins Pick from 1991-2010

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    Player: Simon Despres

    Position: D

    Draft Year: 2009

    Overall Pick: 30th

    Teams: Saint John's (QMJHL)

    Best Known For: Won Memorial Cup with the Sea Dogs.

2011 NHL Draft: No. 29 Best Pittsburgh Penguins Pick from 1991-2010

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    Player: Jan Hrdina

    Position: C

    Draft Year: 1995

    Overall Pick: 128th

    Teams: Pittsburgh Penguins, Phoenix Coyotes, New Jersey Devils, Columbus Blue Jackets, various Czech teams

    Best Known For: 101 career NHL goals and being friends with Jaromir Jagr during his stint in Pittsburgh.

2011 NHL Draft: No. 28 Best Pittsburgh Penguins Pick from 1991-2010

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    Player: Luca Caputi

    Position: LW

    Draft Year: 2007

    Overall Pick: 111th

    Teams: Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins (AHL), Wheeling Nailers (ECHL), Pittsburgh Penguins, Toronto Maple Leafs

    Best Known For: Being given away to the Leafs in the Alex Ponikarovsky deal.

2011 NHL Draft: No. 27 Best Pittsburgh Penguins Pick from 1991-2010

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    Player: Tom Kostopoulos

    Position: RW

    Draft Year: 1999

    Overall Pick: 204th

    Teams: Wilkes-Barre Scranton Penguins (AHL), Pittsburgh Penguins, Manchester Monarchs (AHL), Los Angeles Kings, Montreal Canadiens, Carolina Hurricanes, Calgary Flames

    Best Known For: 648 career NHL PIMs.

2011 NHL Draft: No. 26 Best Pittsburgh Penguins Pick from 1991-2010

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    Player: Richard Park

    Position: RW

    Draft Year: 1994

    Overall Pick: 50th

    Teams: Pittsburgh Penguins, Belleville Bulls (OHL), Cleveland Lumberjacks (IHL), Mighty Ducks of Anaheim, Cincinnati Mighty Ducks (AHL), Philadelphia Phantoms (AHL), Philadelphia Flyers, Utah Grizzlies (IHL), Houston Aeros (AHL), Minnesota Wild, Vancouver Canucks, New York Islanders, various Swiss teams.

    Best Known For: Second Korean-born player in NHL history behind former Pen Jim Paek.

2011 NHL Draft: No. 25 Best Pittsburgh Penguins Pick from 1991-2010

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    Player: Erik Christensen

    Position: C

    Draft Year: 2002

    Overall Pick: 69th

    Teams: Kamloops Blazers (WHL), Brandon Wheat Kings (WHL), Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins (AHL), Pittsburgh Penguins, Atlanta Thrashers, Anaheim Ducks, New York Rangers

    Best Known For: Excellent shootout skills, part of the Marian Hossa trade.

2011 NHL Draft: No. 24 Best Pittsburgh Penguins Pick from 1991-2010

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    Player: Matt Moulson

    Position: RW

    Draft Year: 2003

    Overall Pick: 263rd

    Teams: Cornell University, Manchester Monarchs (AHL), Los Angeles Kings, New York Islanders

    Best Known For: Spent time on a line with John Tavares, 67 career NHL goals.

2011 NHL Draft: No. 23 Best Pittsburgh Penguins Pick from 1991-2010

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    Player: Dustin Jeffrey

    Position: C/LW

    Draft Year: 2007

    Overall Pick: 171st

    Teams: Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins (AHL), Pittsburgh Penguins

    Best Known For: Was once demoted on the "24/7" series on HBO, scores timely goals.

2011 NHL Draft: No. 22 Best Pittsburgh Penguins Pick from 1991-2010

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    Player: Josef Melichar

    Position: D

    Draft Year: 1997

    Overall Pick: 221st

    Teams: Tri-City Americans (WHL), Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins (AHL), Pittsburgh Penguins, Carolina Hurricanes, Albany River Rats (AHL), Norfolk Admirals (AHL), Tampa Bay Lightning, Various European teams.

    Best Known For: 349 NHL games.

2011 NHL Draft: No. 21 Best Pittsburgh Penguins Pick from 1991-2010

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    Player: Paul Bissonnette

    Position: LW

    Draft Year: 2003

    Overall Pick: 121st

    Teams: Saginaw Spirit (OHL), Owen Sound Attack (OHL), Wheeling Nailers (ECHL), Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins (AHL), Pittsburgh Penguins, Phoenix Coyotes

    Best Known For: Has quite a following on Twitter.

2011 NHL Draft: No. 20 Best Pittsburgh Penguins Pick from 1991-2010

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    Player: Daniel Carcillo

    Position: LW

    Draft Year: 2003

    Overall Pick: 73rd

    Teams: Sarnia Sting (OHL), Mississagua IceDogs (OHL), Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins (AHL), Wheeling Nailers (ECHL), Phoenix Coyotes, San Antonio Rampage (AHL), Philadelphia Flyers

    Best Known For: Traded for Georges Laraque, participated in the first fight in Winter Classic history.

2011 NHL Draft: No. 19 Best Pittsburgh Penguins Pick from 1991-2010

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    Player: Alexei Morozov

    Position: RW

    Draft Year: 1995

    Overall Pick: 24th

    Teams: Krylya Sovetov Moscow (RSL), Pittsburgh Penguins, Ak Bars Kazan (KHL)

    Best Known For: Captain of Russia's 2010 Olympic Team, one of the greatest players in KHL history.

2011 NHL Draft: No. 18 Best Pittsburgh Penguins Pick from 1991-2010

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    Player: Michal Rozsival

    Position: D

    Draft Year: 1996

    Overall Pick: 105th

    Teams: Swift Current Broncos (WHL), Syracuse Crunch (AHL), Pittsburgh Penguins, Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins (AHL), New York Rangers, Phoenix Coyotes, various Czech teams

    Best Known For: 702 career NHL games.

2011 NHL Draft: No. 17 Best Pittsburgh Penguins Pick from 1991-2010

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    Player: Colby Armstrong

    Position: RW

    Draft Year: 2001

    Overall Pick: 21st

    Teams: Red Deer Rebels (WHL), Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins (AHL), Pittsburgh Penguins, Atlanta Thrashers, Toronto Maple Leafs

    Best Known For: Extremely popular with Penguins fans, was included in the Marian Hossa trade.

2011 NHL Draft: No. 16 Best Pittsburgh Penguins Pick from 1991-2010

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    Player: Patrick Lalime

    Position: G

    Draft Year: 1993

    Overall Pick: 156th

    Teams: Shawinigan Cataractes (QMJHL), Hampton Roads Admirals (ECHL), Cleveland Lumberjacks (IHL), Pittsburgh Penguins, Grand Rapids Griffins (IHL), Kansas City Blades (IHL), Ottawa Senators, St. Louis Blues, Peoria Rivermen (AHL), Norfolk Admirals (AHL), Chicago Blackhawks, Buffalo Sabres, Portland Pirates (AHL)

    Best Known For: 200 career NHL wins, NHL record for longest unbeaten streak at the start of a career, Marvin the Martian themed goalie masks.

2011 NHL Draft: No. 15 Best Pittsburgh Penguins Pick from 1991-2010

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    Player: Andrew Ference

    Position: D

    Draft Year: 1997

    Overall Pick: 208th

    Teams: Portland Winter Hawks (WHL), Kansas City Blades (IHL), Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins (AHL), Pittsburgh Penguins, Calgary Flames, Boston Bruins, Czech League

    Best Known For: Fought Sidney Crosby, won Stanley Cup with 2010-11 Boston Bruins.

2011 NHL Draft: No. 14 Best Pittsburgh Penguins Pick from 1991-2010

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    Player: Tyler Kennedy

    Position: RW

    Draft Year: 2004

    Overall Pick: 99th

    Teams: Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds (OHL), Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins (AHL), Pittsburgh Penguins

    Best Known For: Scored 21 goals during the Penguins injury plagued 2010-11 season.

2011 NHL Draft: No. 13 Best Pittsburgh Penguins Pick from 1991-2010

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    Player: Alex Goligoski

    Position: D

    Draft Year: 2004

    Overall Pick: 61st

    Teams: University of Minnesota, Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins (AHL), Pittsburgh Penguins, Dallas Stars

    Best Known For: Talented but inconsistent, traded for James Neal.

2011 NHL Draft: No. 12 Best Pittsburgh Penguins Pick from 1991-2010

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    Player: Ryan Whitney

    Position: D

    Draft Year: 2002

    Overall Pick: 5th

    Teams: Boston University, Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins (AHL), Pittsburgh Penguins, Anaheim Ducks, Edmonton Oilers

    Best Known For: Talented but inconsistent, traded for Chris Kunitz.

2011 NHL Draft: No. 11 Best Pittsburgh Penguins Pick from 1991-2010

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    Player: Maxime Talbot

    Position: F

    Draft Year: 2002

    Overall Pick: 234th

    Teams: Hull Olympiques (QMJHL), Gatineau Olympiques (QMJHL), Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins (AHL), Pittsburgh Penguins

    Best Known For: Scored both goals in the Game 7 win at Detroit to win the 2009 Stanley Cup, superstar treatment.

2011 NHL Draft: No. 10 Best Pittsburgh Penguins Pick from 1991-2010

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    Player: Rob Scuderi

    Position: D

    Draft Year: 1998

    Overall Pick: 131st

    Teams: Boston College, Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins (AHL), Pittsburgh Penguins, Los Angeles Kings

    Best Known For: Made a skate save in the closing seconds of Game 6 of the 2009 Finals, accidently nicknamed himself "The Piece".

2011 NHL Draft: No. 9 Best Pittsburgh Penguins Pick from 1991-2010

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    Player: Jordan Staal

    Position: C

    Draft Year: 2006

    Overall Pick: 2nd

    Teams: Peterborough Petes (OHL), Pittsburgh Penguins

    Best Known For: Excellent two-way player, made leap to NHL at 18 years old.

2011 NHL Draft: No. 8 Best Pittsburgh Penguins Pick from 1991-2010

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    Player: Brooks Orpik

    Position: D

    Draft Year: 2000

    Overall Pick: 18th

    Teams: Boston College, Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins (AHL), Pittsburgh Penguins

    Best Known For: Physicality, excellent defense, member of 2010 US Silver Medal Olympic Team and "Free Candy" nickname.

2011 NHL Draft: No. 7 Best Pittsburgh Penguins Pick from 1991-2010

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    Player: Kris Letang

    Position: D

    Draft Year: 2005

    Overall Pick: 62nd

    Teams: Val-d'Or Foreurs (QMJHL), Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins (AHL), Pittsburgh Penguins

    Best Known For: Promising young defenseman, 2011 NHL All-Star.

2011 NHL Draft: No. 6 Best Pittsburgh Penguins Pick from 1991-2010

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    Player: Ryan Malone

    Position: LW

    Draft Year: 1999

    Overall Pick: 115th

    Teams: St. Cloud State, Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins (AHL), Pittsburgh Penguins, Finnish team in SM-liiga, Tampa Bay Lightning

    Best Known For: Prototypical NHL power forward, member of 2010 Silver Medal US Olympic Team, from the Upper St. Clair neighborhood of Pittsburgh.

2011 NHL Draft: No. 5 Best Pittsburgh Penguins Pick from 1991-2010

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    Player: Martin Straka

    Position: F

    Draft Year: 1992

    Overall Pick: 19th

    Teams: Cleveland Lumberjacks (IHL), Pittsburgh Penguins, Ottawa Senators, New York Islanders, Florida Panthers, Los Angeles Kings, New York Rangers, various Czech teams

    Best Known For: over 1,000 career NHL games including playoffs, played on a line with Alexei Kovalev and Robert Lang in last stint with Penguins.

2011 NHL Draft: No. 4 Best Pittsburgh Penguins Pick from 1991-2010

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    Player: Markus Naslund

    Position: LW

    Draft Year: 1991

    Overall Pick: 16th

    Teams: MoDo (SEL), Pittsburgh Penguins, Cleveland Lumberjacks (IHL), Vancouver Canucks, New York Rangers

    Best Known For: Over 1,100 career NHL games, nearly 900 career NHL points, traded to Vancouver along with Manhattan Island for some beads.

2011 NHL Draft: No. 3 Best Pittsburgh Penguins Pick from 1991-2010

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    Player: Evgeni Malkin

    Position: C

    Draft Year: 2004

    Overall Pick: 2nd

    Teams: Metallurg Magnitogorsk (RSL), Pittsburgh Penguins

    Best Known For: 2009 Conn Smythe and Art Ross Winner, key component to 2009 Stanley Cup Championship, defected from Russian team to come to the NHL

2011 NHL Draft: No. 2 Best Pittsburgh Penguins Pick from 1991-2010

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    Player: Marc-Andre Fleury

    Position: G

    Draft Year: 2003

    Overall Pick: 1st

    Teams: Cape Breton Screaming Eagles (QMJHL), Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins (AHL), Pittsburgh Penguins

    Best Known For: Key component of 2009 Stanley Cup Championship, the "secret service save" in the last seconds of Game 7 of that series, used to wear bright yellow pads.

2011 NHL Draft: No. 1 Best Pittsburgh Penguins Pick from 1991-2010

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    Player: Sidney Crosby

    Position: C

    Draft Year: 2005

    Overall Pick: 1st

    Teams: Rimouski Oceanic (QMJHL), Pittsburgh Penguins

    Best Known For: Youngest Captain in NHL History, key component of 2009 Stanley Cup Championship, scored OT game winning goal to beat the United States and win Gold Medal for Canada in 2010 Winter Olympics, considered to be the face of the post-lockout NHL.

    For more 2011 NHL draft coverage, stay tuned to Bleacher Report for updated NHL mock drafts, NHL draft rumors, NHL draft results and draft grades.