Coming up in June, the Pittsburgh Penguins will travel to the BB&T Center, home of the Florida Panthers, for the 2015 NHL Entry Draft. The event is set for Friday, June 26 and Saturday, June 27. It will consist of seven rounds over the two days.
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The Pens will not have a pick in the first round as it was dealt to the Edmonton Oilers Friday, Jan. 2, 2015 along with left wing Rob Klinkhammer in exchange for left wing David Perron. They will be without their third-round selection because it was part of the March 2014 trade that brought center Marcel Goc from the Panthers to Pittsburgh.
The fourth-round pick was sent along with center Zach Sill to the Toronto Maple Leafs Wednesday, Feb. 25, 2015 for left wing Daniel Winnik. Barring any trades, the Black and Gold will have picks in the second, fifth, sixth, and the seventh rounds.
If you thought having four picks was bad, in their very first draft in 1967, Pittsburgh had just two selections that year, both in the first round. They took goaltender Steve Rexe at No. 2 overall and center Bob Smith at No. 11.
It was not much better in 1968 when they had three picks. The record books show center Garry Swain at No. 4 overall with the team’s first pick; right wing Ron Snell in the second round; and defenseman Dave Simpson selected in the third.
So let’s thumb through the record books and look back at some of the best picks by the Penguins over seven rounds through the years. Let me know who you would have chosen as the best in the comments selection below.
Honorable Mention – Center Max Talbot in the eighth round of the 2002 draft. The LeMoyne, Quebec native will always be remembered for scoring both goals in the Black and Gold’s 2-1 victory over the Detroit Red Wings in Game 7 of the 2009 Stanley Cup Finals to bring the Cup back to Pittsburgh. In his career, the 5-foot-11, 190-pound forward has also played for the Philadelphia Flyers, Colorado Avalanche, and Boston Bruins.
Best Seventh Round Pick – Right wing Tom Kostopoulos in 1999. The 6-foot, 197-pound forward played in 79 contests for Pittsburgh. He also spent time with the Los Angeles Kings, Montreal Canadiens, Carolina Hurricanes, Calgary Flames, and the New Jersey Devils. Over his career, he recorded 61 goals and 96 assists in 630 regular-season games.
Best Sixth Round Pick – (TIE): Goaltender Greg Millen in 1977. The 5-foot-9, 175-pound netminder was with the Pens for three seasons and won 57 games. He spent parts of 12 more seasons in the NHL with the Hartford Whalers, St. Louis Blues, Quebec Nordiques, Chicago Black Hawks, and Detroit Red Wings.
Goaltender Patrick Lalime in 1993. The 6-foot-3, 189-pound goalie played one season with the Pens. He claimed 21 wins in the Burgh. He bounced around the league with the Kansas City Blades, Ottawa Senators, St. Louis Blues, Chicago Blackhawks, and Buffalo Sabres.
Best Fifth Round Pick – Defenseman Rob Scuderi in 1998. The 6-foot-1, 212-pound blueliner has played seven seasons with Pittsburgh and four with the Los Angeles Kings. The Syosset, New York native has contributed four goals and 49 assists in 435 regular-season games with the Penguins.
Best Fourth Round Pick – Right Wing Mark Recchi in 1988. The 5-foot-10, 185-pound forward played in parts of seven seasons with the Black and Gold. The Kamloops, British Columbia native had 154 goals and 231 assists in 389 regular-season games with the Pens. His NHL career included stops with the Phildelphia Flyers, Montreal Canadiens, Carolina Hurricanes, Atlanta Thrashers, Tampa Bay Lightning, and Boston Bruins.
Best Third Round Pick – (TIE): Left Wing Troy Loney in 1982. The 6-foot-3, 215-pound forward skated in 532 regular-season contests in 10 seasons with the Penguins. The Bow Island, Alberta native lit the lamp 69 times and recorded 100 assists. He wrapped up his career with the Anaheim Ducks, New York Rangers, and New York Islanders.
Defenseman Kris Letang in 2005. The 6-foot, 201-pound blueliner has taken the ice for 491 regular-season games in nine seasons with the Black and Gold. The Montreal, Quebec native has put up 66 goals and 219 assists.
Best Second Round Pick – Center Greg Malone in 1976. The 6-foot, 190-pound forward was with the Pens for seven seasons. The Chatham, New Brunswick native found the back of the net with 143 goals and added 221 assists over 495 regular-season contests. His NHL resume includes playing with the Hartford Whalers and Quebec Nordiques.
Now it’s time to let your voice be heard. Here is our poll for you to choose the Best First Round Pick of the Pittsburgh Penguins: