After much hype and expectation, the 2011 NHL Entry Draft is over. Some trades were made, but nothing reaching the level of the over-abundant rumors that have floated around for the past few weeks.
Perhaps the best news to come out of St. Paul, Minnesota was the official word that Winnipeg's NHL franchise would once again answer to the name "Jets". The lowest moment seemed to be the branding of the Vancouver Canucks as the NHL whipping boy in the aftermath of the post-finals riots, with boos raining down on each mention of their name.
The Pittsburgh Penguins made only five selections trades that depleted their stock of picks. When Ray Shero and his team finally decided on their first pick, many fans were left stunned.
Shero went D; many were thinking Forward, especially with guys like Nicklas Jensen, Tomas Jurco, and Pittsburgh area product Brandon Saad still on the board. However, Shero has his own philosophy. Despite the fact that many of us in the fanbase did not agree with the pick, Ray Shero has one more Stanley Cup ring than most, if not all, of us can claim.
The true NHL Draft "grades" will likely not be in for quite some time. When you make the 23rd overall pick, you don't usually expect him to be anywhere near NHL-ready.
The same can be said of their later-round picks. If it turns out that the Penguins have found a diamond in the rough, then fans will look back on this draft similar to those of 1998, 1999, and 2002, which produced Rob Scuderi, Ryan Malone, and Maxime Talbot at the 134th, 115th, and 234th overall picks, respectively.
Since grading the late-round guys out is nearly impossible at the moment, let's call it an "incomplete" for the draft. Instead, we will focus on learning a little bit about the guys and hoping that they benefit the Penguins down the road.