The Pittsburgh Penguins at the moment personal the 21st total decide within the 2019 NHL Entry Draft. Barring a significant change, the staff might be lively within the first spherical of a draft for the primary time since 2014. Whereas the Penguins are removed from Jack Hughes and Kaapo Kakko territory, the 2019 draft class appears to be like to be a reasonably robust one and common supervisor Jim Rutherford thinks so, too:
“Our scouts have preferred the draft for a while,” he mentioned Tuesday. “Even a yr in the past, they have been projecting that this was going to be good, previous to the [prospects] performing this season. And it’s precisely the place they thought it was going to be,”(from “Penguins GM Jim Rutherford open to dealing for extra picks in ‘actual deep’ NHL draft” – Pittsburgh Submit-Gazette – 6/11/19).
Rutherford believes the draft is deep sufficient that the Penguins might commerce again to accumulate some further capital. As a lot as he loves making strikes and shaking issues up, that appears to be an actual risk. For now, assuming the staff sticks with their choice, just a few names stand out as potential future Penguins.
Cam York – Defenseman
Pittsburgh will possible choose whichever skater the staff deems the perfect participant obtainable when their decide comes round. The system might use assist at almost each place proper now, so the Penguins can’t be too choosy. In that case, ought to he fall into the Penguins’ lap, Cam York might be the highest prospect on the board.
Will the Penguins get fortunate and see Cam York slip to their choice? (Hickling Pictures)
York is seen by many as one of many prime defensive prospects within the draft. He matches the “puck-moving defenseman” function that the Penguins are likely to lean towards of their picks. Undersized at simply 5-foot-11, 175 kilos, York makes up for it together with his excessive offensive upside. The California native has been touted for his robust shot, capability to steer a power-play unit, and robust skating expertise.
Whereas the 18-year-old is unanimously a top-20 prospect, some issues about his dimension might see him to drop just a few slots to permit Pittsburgh to scoop him up. He’s removed from a bruising blueliner, however York’s upside within the offensive finish ought to make up for it tenfold.
Philip Tomasino – Ahead
Few gamers have improved their draft inventory this previous season as a lot as Philip Tomasino. Through the 2017-18 marketing campaign, the ahead prospect recorded simply 24 factors in 61 video games with the Niagara IceDogs of the Ontario Hockey League. He was additionally held scoreless in 10 postseason contests. Then, one thing clicked for the 17-year-old. He lit up OHL competitors for 34 objectives and 72 factors this season, drawing eyes from scouts and analysts alike.
Tomasino has a stable body, standing at roughly 6-feet, 183 kilos. He ought to fill out properly as an NHL heart, although a transfer to wing is also within the works. The Ontario native shows all the things a staff would really like in a middle-six ahead: excessive power, robust skating capability, and he confirmed indicators of being a good play-maker. He wants work on the defensive facet of the ice, however that received’t damage his draft worth, particularly since he doesn’t flip 18 for an additional month.
Nils Höglander – Ahead
At simply 18 years outdated, Nils Höglander already has a season within the Swedish Hockey League underneath his belt. He scored simply seven objectives and 14 factors in 50 contests, however he was capable of maintain his personal in his dwelling nation’s prime league. At 5-foot-9, 188 kilos, Höglander embodies the “small however ultra-skilled winger” function very similar to Johnny Gaudreau, Viktor Arvidsson, or Brad Marchand.
The Swedish winger’s elite skillset might slot in completely with the Penguins’ system. (picture by Andreas Ljunggren)
Some scouts have fallen in love with Höglander’s puck-handling expertise with arms which are fast and clean and may arrange harmful alternatives for each himself and his teammates. The 18-year-old is simply as fast to play the function of set-up man as he’s to unleash a powerful wrist shot on purpose. Mix that talent together with his tenacity and grinding capability and Höglander might be a steal as a late first-round choice.
Bobby Brink – Ahead
Sticking with the theme of undersized skaters, Bobby Brink is well the smallest of this bunch. The 17-year-old stands at simply 5-foot-Eight and 165 kilos however has loads of offensive upside to make up for it. Brink has dedicated to the College of Denver, following within the footsteps of different NHL gamers similar to Paul Stastny and Jason Zucker.
The Minnesota native completed second in objectives (35) and fourth in factors (68) amongst all skaters in the US Hockey League this previous season. He punishes opposing netminders with a powerful launch and terrific ice imaginative and prescient to permit him to make performs. For being pretty small, Brink does have a barely bodily edge and is aware of the way to maintain his personal within the defensive finish.
Thomas Harley – Defenseman
Just like Tomasino, Thomas Harley’s draft inventory exploded this season after a breakout marketing campaign within the OHL. He produced 15 factors in 62 contests in the course of the 2017-18 season, however caught fireplace this season, notching 11 objectives and 58 factors for the Mississauga Steelheads.
If Pittsburgh needs to bulk up with a giant defenseman, look no additional than Thomas Harley. (Aaron Bell/OHL Pictures)
Like most 17-year-old blueliners, Harley has some work to do on the subject of defensive IQ and positioning. He’s acquired a stable body to work with, standing at 6-foot-Three and 183 kilos. The New York native has been touted as among the best skaters on this yr’s draft class, serving to his draft inventory rise this previous season. Together with his offensive potential, he can be a steal for Pittsburgh.
With such a deep draft class, it is going to be exhausting for the Penguins to go unsuitable with the 21st total choice. The staff’s very skinny system will permit them to draft any place and instantly get higher. Any of those 5 high-upside prospects ought to make Pittsburgh administration fairly glad.