VANCOUVER, British Columbia -- Jim Rutherford said a week before the NHL Draft that he saw no need to add some heft to his depth chart because of the success "heavy" teams like St. Louis and Boston had during the playoffs this spring.
Coincidentally or not, however, the Penguins added some pretty big forwards to their development pipeline during the NHL draft this weekend in Vancouver.
Not only skilled wingers like Samuel Poulin and Nathan Legare, their first- and third-round selections, but fifth-rounder Judd Caulfield, a blue-collar right winger from the U.S. National Team Development Program.
He is 6-foot-3, 207 pounds and uses his size to handle duties that generate more victories than headlines.
"I'm a big guy, so I like to use my body to my advantage," Caulfield said. "I like working pucks down low. I can play in the (defensive) zone well, too. I'm good on the (penalty kill) as well. ... I feel like my defensive game is pretty strong."
Patrik Allvin, the Penguins' director of scouting, agreed.
"He has good size, good details to his game," Allvin said.
Caulfield does not have the offensive credentials of the two wingers the Penguins claimed before him; he put up six goals and 19 assists in 28 USHL games last season, and acknowledged that aspect of his game can be improved.
"I want to work on my stick skills," he said. "Stickhandling and shooting and things like that."
He'll have time to do that with the NTDP, where he'll be sharing the ice with a lot of guys whose rights were claimed by NHL clubs over the past couple of days.
"It's just great to be a part of all that," Caulfield said. "Seeing all your best buds go in the draft is really cool to be a part of."
So, he said, is having an opportunity to someday compete in the NHL.
"I'm super excited," he said. "I can't really describe it in words. It's a dream come true."
Caulfield, a native of Grand Forks, N.D., is committed to the University of North Dakota beginning in 2019-20.
His father, Bob, was a fifth-round pick of the Islanders in 1983, but never played professionally.