Courtesy of Point Park University

For GMs, scouts, excitement caught in draft ☕


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Rogers Arena, Thursday afternoon. - DEJAN KOVACEVIC/ DKPS

VANCOUVER, British Columbia -- Bill Guerin played 1,263 regular-season games in the NHL before moving into a personnel job with the Penguins.

And while there probably is nothing that can match the adrenaline rush of actually getting on the ice and competing, the excitement generated by draft day provides a pretty good fix for guys who have transitioned from the locker room to the front office.

"For guys who can't play anymore and are getting a little older, this is game day," Guerin told Thursday afternoon. "And for the scouts who work all season long, this is their (Stanley Cup) final. This is the day."

The NHL Draft is scheduled to begin shortly after 8 p.m. Eastern at Rogers Arena. And, barring a trade, the Penguins actually will be involved in the Day 1 proceedings for the first time since 2014, owning the 21st choice in the opening round.

The Penguins have routinely traded their first-rounder for immediate personnel upgrades for more than a decade, but seem inclined to retain it this time. Assuming no one makes an offer they simply can't refuse.

Being able to invest in a first-round choice seems like it would get members of the scouting staff even more enthused than usual about the draft, when a year's worth of their work is put to use, but Guerin said that isn't necessarily the case.

"I wouldn't say we're more excited this year, because anytime we're picking -- anytime we have picks -- guys are excited," he said. "It's exciting to see all their hard work come to fruition."

While the excitement builds for management and scouts as the day progresses, the stress level generally doesn't. That's because all of the planning and preparatory work figured to be finished by the time the Penguins' contingent headed to a Vancouver steakhouse for a team dinner Thursday evening.

"The meetings are over," Jim Rutherford said Thursday. "It's time for guys to relax in the morning."

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