The Pittsburgh Penguins entered Sunday with no picks in the first two rounds of the 2013 NHL Draft, but general manager Ray Shero took care of that by trading winger Tyler Kennedy to San Jose for the Sharks’ second-round selection, No. 50 overall.
A few hours later at the Prudential Center in Newark, N.J., Shero jumped up six more spots to the 44th pick, swapping selections Nos. 50 and 89 to Columbus for the Blue Jackets’ second-round slot. With the improved position, the Penguins snagged goaltender Tristan Jarry from the Edmonton Oil Kings of the Western Hockey League (WHL).
Jarry was the second goalie selected, behind only Zach Fucale, who went to Montreal at No. 36. At 6-foot-1, the 18-year-old Jarry was ranked as the third-best netminder of the draft class by NHL Central Scouting. McKeen’s Hockey, one of the best sources on draft-eligible prospects, said Jarry plays a “composed, even-keeled, non-robotic butterfly [style], [makes] mobile, flexible, dynamic reflex-based saves.”
McKeen’s also said Jarry uses his lower-body quickness to go post-to-post, but he needs to work on rebound control and getting too deep in his net. Jarry is a native of Surrey, B.C., Canada, who put up a .936 save percentage in 27 games for Edmonton in 2012-13.
While participating in the 2013 Canadian Hockey League Top Prospects Game, Jarry stopped all 16 shots he faced and was named his team’s most outstanding player. The selection marked the third straight year the Penguins took a WHL player with their first draft pick; Pittsburgh grabbed Portland Winterhawks defensemen Joe Morrow and Derrick Pouliot in 2011 and ’12, respectively.
The Penguins dipped into the American-based United States Hockey League for their third-round pick, calling center Jake Guentzel’s name at No. 77 overall. Guentzel won the USHL’s rookie of the year award after scoring 73 points (29 goals) in 60 games for the Sioux City (Iowa) Musketeers.
At 5-9, 152 pounds, Guentzel is committed to play at the University of Nebraska-Omaha in the fall. The Minnesota native will likely have enough time to bulk up his frame a bit while skating at the NCAA Division I level.
McKeen’s called Guentzel a “wily little playmaker, skillful and cerebral in his approach,” while complimenting his agile skating and elite footspeed.
Near the end of the fourth round, the Penguins chose defenseman Ryan Segalla of Salisbury Prep in Connecticut. The 6-2 blueliner from Hanover, Mass., scored 10 goals at the high school level and is headed to the University of Connecticut on an athletic scholarship this fall.
An unnamed NHL scout had the following to say about Segalla in a recent blog entry on ESPN.com: “He has an over-the-top compete level. It’s second to none for kids around New England. He might play a little out of control at time, but he’s very strong, extremely physical. He’s tenacious.”
The Penguins went without a pick in the fifth round, but announced the addition of two new prospects in the sixth round, defenseman Dane Birks and center Blaine Byron.
Birks, a 6-3 native of British Columbia, put up 20 points (five goals) for the Merritt Centennials of the Tier I BCHL. He will attend Michigan Tech in the fall, assuming he doesn’t make the jump to the Canadian major juniors.
Byron is from Ontario but has also committed to the American college route, as the 6-footer is locked into the University of Maine’s 2013 freshman class. Byron scored 29 points (24 assists) in 27 games for the Smiths Falls Bears of the second-tier Central Canada Hockey League.
Finally, with the third-to-last pick, the Penguins drafted Troy Josephs of the Ontario Junior Hockey League’s St. Michael’s Buzzers. A 6-foot Ontarian, Josephs was nearly a point-per-game player in 64 total games this past season. Like the CCHL, the OJHL is considered a level below the major-junior Canadian leagues.
All told, the Penguins selected four Canadians and two Americans, a departure from 2012 when Shero and Co. called the names of four Europeans at Consol Energy Center. Pittsburgh took three forwards, two defensemen and a goalie on the seven-hour marathon day, which was necessitated by the season’s condensed post-lockout schedule.
Stay tuned to City of Champions for further updates on the Penguins’ draft-day additions.