Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Draft by Decade: Pittsburgh Penguins

How do you create a Stanley Cup Winner?  Give a team two first over all and two second over all picks in a four year span.

It's hard to rank Pittsburgh because their span of high draft picks is absolutely unprecidented.  You might have a cellar dweller picking up a top ten every year for a decade, but this?  Wow.  They drafted a Cup pretty well in taking Crosby, Malkin, Staal and Fleury, of course, three centres and a goalie.  The core of the team built down the middle.

The common callin Pitt is how they need a winger to play with Sid.  These days they seem to need one to protect him too, but they don't appear to draft by need, not taking a single winger in 2008, an donly two the year after.

It could be argued that any of the five forwards drafted in succession following Jordan Staal in 2006, including Jonathan Toews, Phil Kessel, Nik Bakstrom, would have been better picks.  Offensively they've all shone brighter than Staal, but he is going to win a Selke trophy someday and has a cup win.  He is a missing ingredient on a lot of teams and he might do better offensively with more ice in key situations but if I put myself in Pittsburghs shoes it'd be tough not to take him.  You could argue the same of MA Fleury who had the misfortune of being taken first overall in one of, if not, the deepest drafts ever.  How a goalie with a 3.36 GAA in his draft year was taken ahead of players like Staal, Horton, Getzlaf, Perry, Brown, Seabrook, Kessler, Carter, beyond me.

The Pens deserve some cred for taking Cobly Armstrong and Noah Welch in 2001, Max Talbot 239th, Daniel Carcillo, Paul Bissonette and Matt Moulson between 73 and 263 in one year, Goligoski 61st in his draft year, and Kris Letang at 62.

They get a solid B for their efforts, unfortunately they had such favourable draft position it could have been worse had they managed to mess it up.

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