For the first time since the 2014 draft, the Penguins have their first-round pick.
"I moved the first pick almost since I’ve been here with the Penguins," Jim Rutherford said in February. "That’s one area that I’m trying to stay away from this year because it’s a very, very good draft.”
The Penguins are locked in at 21st overall in the first round. Who are some potential players the Penguins could take with that pick? Let's take a look.
Team: Barrie Colts (OHL)
Size: 6-0, 176
Suzuki may not be around by the time the Penguins pick at No. 21. NHL Central Scouting has Suzuki ranked as the No. 18 North American skater. Overall, he's ranked anywhere from No. 12 (TSN, Future Considerations) to No. 23 (HockeyProspect.com, EliteProspects.com).
Suzuki, who turns 18 later this month, is the top prospect coming out of the OHL in this summer's draft. He led Barrie in scoring this season with 25 goals and 50 assists in 65 games.
He's an agile skater, though not very fast. He's a strong playmaker with great vision, one of his greatest strengths is his passing ability. He's not a very physical player.
Position: Center/Right wing
Team: U.S. National Team Development Program
Size: 5-7, 163
NHL Central Scouting has Caufield ranked as the No. 8 North American skater. His overall rankings vary, ranging from No. 13 (EliteProspects.com) to No. 26 (HockeyProspect.com).
Caufield's goal-scoring ability is his greatest strength, which is partly a product of his quick release.. He scored 29 goals and 12 assist in just 28 games with the USTNDP in the USHL this season, and 72 goals and 28 assists in 64 games with the U18 team in the development program. He was playing alongside Jack Hughes for a portion of the season, but he's not just a product of Hughes.
Caufield scored 14 goals and four assists in seven games in the U18 World Junior Championship last winter, tying Alex Ovechkin's all-time record for goals scored in a single tournament.
Caufield is small, but he's a fantastic skater. He needs to work on his defensive game.
Caufield is taking the college hockey route, and will attend the University of Wisconsin next season, where his brother Brock will be a sophomore.
No, he is not related to Jay Caufield.
Position: Center/Right wing
Team: Halifax Mooseheads (QMJHL)
Size: 6-4, 200
NHL Central Scouting has Lavoie ranked as the No. 20 North American skater. His overall rankings range from No. 11 (Future Considerations) to No. 27 (HockeyProspect.com).
Lavoie is one of the bigger prospects in the draft, but he's still an excellent skater. He's able to use that size and strength to produce a heavy shot. His size also makes him hard to knock off the puck, his puck possession is great.
Lavoie finished No. 4 in scoring for the dominant Mooseheads in scoring this season, with 32 goals and 41 assists in 62 games.
Team: London Knights (OHL)
Size: 5-11, 175
McMichael is a guy who should be available by the time the Penguins pick. Central Scouting has him as the No. 24 North American skater. His projected to go anywhere from No. 21 (Future Considerations) to No. 29 (HockeyProspect.com).
McMichael is another strong playmaker, he has a great shot and is very strong defensively. He led a deep London Knights team in scoring this season with 36 goals and 36 assists in 67 games.
“He’s got skill, he’s got very, very good hockey sense, he can make plays and score and he has a deceptive shot as well," Knights associate general manager Rob Simpson said of McMichael.
Position: Right wing
Team: Sioux City Musketeers (USHL)
Size: 5-10, 165
Brink is Central Scouting's No. 19 North American skater. He's projected to go anywhere from No. 12 (EliteProspects.com) to No. 33 (TSN).
Brink has a great net-front presence and a fantastic shot. His strong vision on the ice makes him a great playmaker, and he's reliable defensively and a physical player. His speed could improve. He led Sioux City in scoring this season with 35 goals and 33 assists in 43 games.
Brink is committed to the University of Denver, but won't be attending until the 2020-21 season.
Position: Left wing/Right wing
Team: Metallurg Magnitogorsk (KHL), Stalnye Lisy Magnitogorsk (MHL)
Size: 6-0, 165
Dorofeyev is Central Scouting's No. 12 European skater, and is expected to go somewhere in the late-mid first round by all overall rankings.
Dorofeyev played for Magnitogorsk last season, Evgeni Malkin's former team. He split the season between Magnitogorsk's junior team (17 goals and 14 assists in 19 games) and Magnitogorsk's main KHL team (one goal and one assist in 23 games). Playing against grown, experience men in the KHL as an 18-year-old gives Dorofeyev a bit of an edge, he's more mature than some other prospects in this draft.
Dorofeyev is a very agile skater, but his speed isn't anything impressive. He can accelerate well, but his first few steps are slow. He has great vision on the ice and has slick hands. He's strong defensively, but would need to fill out his frame if he's going to maintain that defensive game in the North American game.
Position: Left wing
Team: Hamilton Bulldogs (OHL)
Size: 6-2, 190
Shoots: Left wing
Kaliyev is ranked as the No. 7 North American skater by Central Scouting. He's projected to go anywhere from No. 11 (EliteProspects.com) to No. 28 (Future Considerations).
Kaliyev stood out this season on a weak Bulldogs team, and more than doubled his production from last season. In 2017-18, he scored 31 goals and 17 assists in 68 games. This season, he led the Bulldogs in scoring by a 33-point margin with 51 goals and 51 assists in 67 games.
Kaliyev is a threat offensively, but he needs to improve his two-way game. He's strong, but doesn't play a physical game.
Position: Left wing
Team:Sherbrooke Phoenix (QMJHL)
Size: 6-2, 207
Central scouting ranks Poulin as the No. 22 North American skater. He's projected to be drafted anywhere from No. 18 (ISS Hockey) to No. 29 (EliteProspects.com).
Poulin led the Phoenix in scoring by a 17-point margin this season with 29 goals and 47 assists in 67 games. His shot is one of his biggest strengths. He's one of the bigger players in the draft physically, a product of his strong work habits. He plays a very physical game.
Poulin is the son of Patrick Poulin, who played 634 games in the NHL from 1992-2002 with the Whalers, Blackhawks, Lightning, and Canadiens.
Team: Lukko (Liiga)
Size: 5-11, 180
Heinola is Central Scouting's No. 4 European skater. His overall rankings vary, likely due to him missing time during the 2018-19 season with an injury sustained during the World Junior Championship. He's ranked anywhere from No. 17 (HockeyProspect.com) to No. 43 (Future Considerations).
This was Heinola's first year in Liiga, the top Finnish men's league. He fared well as a rookie with two goals and 12 assists in 34 games, and led Lukko in plus/minus with a plus-7. Lukko is also the team of Finnish defense prospect Antti Palojarvi.
Heinola is a fast, puck-moving, offensive defenseman. He's a good playmaker with good vision. He's a tad undersized for a defenseman, but the Penguins aren't afraid of drafting a "new age" defenseman (as Bill Guerin calls smaller, undersized defensemen), as we've seen in Calen Addison.
Team:Mississauga Steelheads (OHL)
Size: 6-3, 190
Harley is No. 11 on Central Scouting's list of North American skaters. He's projected to be drafted somewhere between No. 15 (ISS Hockey) and No. 24 (HockeyProspect.com).
Harley came into prominence this season on a weak Steelheads team. He recorded just one goal and 14 assists in 62 games in 2017-18. That production grew to 11 goals and 47 assists in 68 games this season.
Harley is an excellent skater, and a puck-moving defenseman. He needs to work on his defensive game, but that's not uncommon of players his age in junior hockey. Sportsnet's Sam Cosentino said "You’d much rather coach the wildness out of his game than have to encourage more of it" of Harley's game.
Harley already has a connection to Pittsburgh. His sister, Emilie, has played for Robert Morris the past two seasons.
Team: AIK (Allsvenskan)
Size: 6-3, 205
Central Scouting has Broberg ranked as the No. 5 European skater. Overall, he's ranked anywhere from No. 12 (McKeen's Hockey) to No. 33 (EliteProspects.com).
Broberg is one of the best skaters among the defensemen in this draft class, despite his size. He's a two-way defenseman with great vision on the ice.
“He’s an excellent skater for his size, with many different gears allowing him to control and set the tempo of the play with his skating, puck-moving game," said director of Central Scouting Dan Marr. "He’s a highly competitive prospect who is smart, composed and quick in making plays, and also responsible, playing big minutes in all situations. Another high-end Swedish defenseman that is a complete NHL prospect package.”
Broberg is one of the more mature players of this draft class, due to both his strong overall game and the fact that he is coming from Swedish pro hockey. He played in the second-tier Allsvenskan this season, recording two goals and seven assists, in 41 games. He'll be playing in the top-level SHL next season.
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