Prior to former Pittsburgh Penguins’ general manager Ray Shero’s ouster, many complained at the fact that he was unable to draft and develop quality forward prospects.
That’s apparently a road that new GM Jim Rutherford doesn’t want to travel down.
While Rutherford hasn’t totally committed to selecting a forward prospect when the Penguins are on the clock with the No. 22 pick in the June 27 draft, Rutherford did give indications that he and his front office staff are certainly leaning towards drafting a forward.
“My preference is take a forward,” Rutherford told the Post-Gazette’s Dave Molinari. “We’re going to really lean toward a forward at this time.”
When you select as late as the Pens are in the first round, it often makes sense to take the best prospect on the board. But with a wealth of young defensemen prospects and a quality goalie prospect in Tristan Jarry, Rutherford can likely afford to focus on the best forward prospect on the board.
Rutherford will rely on the Penguins current group of amateur scouts for this draft, although he has yet to address their job security. He also will lean heavily on recently promoted associate general manager Jason Botterill.
“I have their list [that ranks prospects] and I will rely heavily on [associate GM] Jason Botterill,” Rutherford told Molinari. “And then we’re going to have three or four days prior to the draft in Philadelphia when I can talk to them.”
Of course to make what many feel is a logical move and draft a forward, the board has to play out in a favorable fashion for the Penguins.
We will find out if it does June 27 in Philadelphia.