Looking Towards The Draft
Our initial hope was that the Penguins would get a crack at drafting Zach Kassian of the Peterborough Petes, but as the Penguins continue to win, the prospect of Kassian being available is becoming slimmer by the day.
Here are a few names that we find intriguing for the Penguins first pick heading into this year.
Obviously, we’re putting our focus on big wingers this year, and there could be some options available. Regardless, this isn’t a bad draft, and the first few rounds are solid enough that the Penguins should be able to stockpile some good selections.
I’m hoping the Penguins have taken note of the Chris Kreider hype. The 6’2 – 200 lb. Phillips Academy of Andover, Massachusetts product has given a verbal commitment to Boston College for the 2010-2011 season. Kreider is a fantastic physical specimen and has the attitude and demeanor of a true professional for such a young kid. On the ice, Kreider is a phenom, the definition of a double-edge sword. Kreider can beat you inside with power, and scorch you outside with speed. His stickhandling ability is uncanny, and when he gets a head of steam, he will simply not be denied. Kreider is a long term project. He still has one year of high school left before committing to Boston College. However, with Crosby and Malkin locked up long-term, the Penguins could have a dynamic 1-2 punch with Krieder down the road. It’s a high risk pick, but Kreider has shown the ability to score at a young age, and that cannot be denied. He should be available when the Penguins step to the podium for the first time this year. Kreider finished with 56 points in 26 games this season (33+23).
Another power-forward that could be available for the Penguins is the Rimouski Oceanic’s Jordan Caron. The 6’2, 196 lb centerman is continuing to fill into his frame and improve upon his speed. This year, Caron notched 67 points in 56 games (36+31). Caron is still learning how to use his size to his advantage, and as he does so, he’s heading to high traffic areas more often and shielding the puck in a more effective manner.
And finally, in what might be the most likely candidate, we have the Kingston Frontenacs Ethan Werek. The Penguins have gotten a fantastic look at Werek since Nathan Moon has been playing alongside him all year in Kingston. Werek is a funny combination of board work, goal line work, and a pretty even keel of offensive abilities. He keeps getting bigger, and as he does so, he’s continuing to get better in traffic. He can play wing and should has a high potential to become a top-six guy someday. The 6’2 – 195 lb. center will be playing under the tutelage of Doug Gilmour next year and, along with Moon, will have a great opportunity to hone his offensive and defensive abilities. In his rookie year, Werek had 64 points (32+32) in 66 games. When we interviewed Nathan Moon this year, he had some high praise for Werek, and you can check that article out right here.
Stay tuned to FF as we continue to dissect the draft, giving you more names to look out for this June!