There are a lot of good players that could be available when the Penguins draft at #120. This year, in particular, is a total crap shoot. Predicting players that can be taken in the fourth round is a shot in the dark. However, like I do every year, here are my personal favorites for the Pittsburgh Penguins in the 4th round of this year’s draft. This list goes in order of how much I like the players, highlighted by right-winger Zach Harnden from Peterborough of the OHL. Video of Harnden is available upon request.

6. Robert Czarnik – USNTDP – RW – 6’0 – 178lbs – Shoots R – Jan. 25, 1990 – Detroit, Michigan

This is the first time I’ve ever been sold on a USA hockey product, but Czarnik is a great player. Speed is the name of his game, and he’s absolutely tenacious on the puck. His backchecking is unbelievable for a player of his age. He follows the puck and is constantly putting pressure on the opposition whether it be via his offensive prowess or his backchecking abilities. However, he sometimes gets a bit lost without the puck. His tendency to follow the puck is his biggest flaw as well as his greatest asset. If he can calm his game down and use discretion when playing in the offensive zone, he’d be better served defensively. Czarnik is another young player that has really yet to bulk up well. He could use a few more pounds. One of the most underrated aspects of Czarnik’s game is his shot. His wrister is quick and accurate. If he can bulk up and play smarter, he’ll be a great asset on wing one day.

2007/08 U-18 Statistics: 49GP – 15G – 15A – 30Pts – 28PIM

5. Marco Scandella – D – Val d’Or Foreurs (QMJHL) – 6’2 – 195lbs – Shoots L – Feb. 23, 1990 – Montreal, PQ

Scandella is a gifted skater and is fantastic at rushing the puck out of danger and making good outlet passes. He doesn’t have the offensive flair that some of the other defensemen in this draft have, but he’s proven himself to a great complimentary partner to good defensive-defensemen. He played alongside Tyler Myers this year for Team Canada and enabled the mostly immobile Myers to play his position soundly while Scandella did the skating. Scandal is a guy that can make an already solid defenseman even better via his decision making and mobility. He’s a bit tentative at this point in his career, both in his offensive aggression and his physicality in the boards. Both of those will almost certainly come with time. Scandella, for being such a good skater, is extremely committed to strong defensive play, something that’s rare in offensively gifted players.

2007/08 Regular Season Statistics: 65GP – 4G – 10A – 14Pts – 35PIM
2007/08 Playoff Statistics: 4GP – 0G – 1A – 1Pt – 4PIM

4. Bobby Mignardi – C – Kingston Frontenacs (OHL) – 6’0 – 170lbs – Shoots R – June 28, 1990 – Richmond Hill, ONT

Mignardi is a heart and soul player that does whatever it takes to win games. He made a huge improvement this season with Kingston where he was placed in all types of situations. Mignardi is a real team player and leaves everything on the ice. His work ethic is that of a Tyler Kennedy, he is constantly pushing himself to become better. He’s a scrapper that will, despite his smallish stature, fight anyone that takes liberties with the more skilled players on the ice. This year, Mignardi’s play making abilities really came into the fold and he exhibited some fantastic puck handling skills playing for a pretty poor Kingston squad. Mignardi’s bad point is his small stature. He gets thrown around a lot in the corners. He’s really yet to hit his bulk-up point. When he gains a few pounds, he’ll be better with his corner battles and fighting for loose pucks. What’s attractive about Mignardi at this pick is his hustle and his willingness to do whatever it takes for a victory. Much of what he can do offensively is still untapped, however, he’s exhibited a good enough ability to make plays and be solid in the defensive end. He might never crack the top six of an NHL club, but the intangibles he can bring to the table make him a perfect prototype for a third line center.

2007/08 Regular Season Statistics: 66GP – 19G – 37A – 56Pts – 58PIM

3.Brodie Reid – RW – Burnaby Express (BCHL) – 6’0 – 185lbs – Shoots R – Aug. 25, 1989 – Vancouver, BC

Brodie Reid’s goal-scoring prowess is only contested by one other forward in this year’s draft: first rounder Steven Stamkos. Reid is absolutely deadly when he has the puck in the offensive zone. He shoots from anywhere and does it often. His wrist shot is accurate and his release is lightning fast. His playmaking ability isn’t that far behind. His skating is decent north to south but his lateral mobility and agility still needs some work. He’s a workhorse in the offensive zone and doesn’t shy away from the battle in the corners like a stereotypical goal-scorer. He’s a power-play specialist and he made a killing with the man advantage this year. If he has a talented center with him, he’ll bury every chance you throw his way. Needs some work defensively, but nothing glaring enough to turn him away at #120. He’s another one of these BCHL phenoms like Casey Pierro-Zabotel who has a great goal scoring prowess. Reid will attend Northeastern University this fall. Overall, one of the more offensively refined players in this class.

2007/08 Regular Season Statistics: 60GP – 52G – 35A – 87Pts – 37PIM

2.Marc-Andre Bourdon – D – Rouyn-Noranda Huskies (QMJHL) – 6’0 – 207lbs – Shoots L – Sept 17, 1989 – St. Hyacinthe, PQ

Bourdon is ranked pretty low on every ranking out there, but it’s a combination of two things: 1. Hype and 2. Having played his Junior hockey in the middle of nowhere. Rouyn-Noranda isn’t exactly as common of a stop as Peterborough. It’s a northern Quebec city with little to no exposure. That said, Bourdon is a great offensively gifted defenseman with decent mobility and decision making. His talents with the puck extend through his shooting and passing, his vision is great and his puckhandling is just as solid. A lot of people list his skating as poor, but I don’t think that’s warranted. He is clearly one of the more underrated defensemen in this draft class and simply hasn’t received enough credit for his accomplishments. I highly doubt the Penguins will have a chance to draft this kid, but should he fall into our laps, it’d be hard to pass him up.

2007/08 Regular Season Statistics: 69GP – 12G – 47A – 59Pts – 114PIM
2007/08 Playoff Statistics: 17GP – 2G – 16A – 18Pts – 25PIM

My official endorsement for this years Penguins first pick is:

1.Zach Harnden – RW – Peterborough Petes (OHL) – 6’2 – 209lbs – Shoots L – Sept 23, 1989 – Thunder Bay, ONT

Zach Harnden is the total package. His defensive game is already refined for being so young and his willingness to play in traffic and generate scoring chances down low is unreal. If you love watching old time hockey players, you’ll love watching Zach Harnden. He’s a good ol’ boy from Thunder Bay that plays the game with smarts and passion. The first thing you notice about Harnden is his size and reach. He plays the game like a combo Jordan Staal / Ryan Malone. He’s good in the corner’s because of his reach and size but is also adept at finding the soft, open spots on the ice. By far, his greatest asset is his ability to go to the front of the net and create havoc. Harnden’s office is in front of the goal and he scored well over 50 percent of his goals this year off of deflections in front and rebounds. His vision in front of the goal is uncanny. He can deflect pucks with the best of them. As for his skating, he doesn’t possess top end speed, but his first step is fast and choppy. He can beat guys to close-range loose pucks but can’t outskate guys down the stretch run. Has a good amount of mobility for his size. He’s great on the penalty kill and will test opposing point men shorthanded. This kid would be a fantastic compliment to any of our playmaking centers. Although not totally adept at fighting, will drop the gloves if the opportunity is there.

A lot of people ask me why he’s ranked so low this season, it’s because his offensive upside, while good, isn’t as great as some of the other people in this draft. However, he is one of the most well-rounded players available and has a really good sense of the game. His attitude is great and professional. He isn’t a flashy player, but he’s complete. He fits the Penguins style to a “T”. Good in front of the goal and in the boards, good defensively and a great work ethic. Should he be available when the Penguins draft, it is my personal belief that he would be the best option available based on our current needs and team structure.

2007/08 Regular Season Statistics: 65GP – 23G – 17A – 40Pts – 51PIM
2007/08 Playoff Statistics: 5GP – 1G – 0A – 1Pt – 2PIM