Last weekend in Nashville the Pittsburgh Penguins took another step forward
in their rebuilding process. With their first six picks, the Penguins
selected six of Hockey’s Future’s 65 highest rated prospects. In doing
so they added valuable depth and character to their organization.
The Penguins finished the weekend with eleven new prospects. In addition
to a potential star goalie, the Penguins mostly drafted physical players
who can fight, agitate, crash the net, and be team players. Below are the stats for each pick from 2002-03.
|Cape Breton Screaming Eagles|
|Brandon Wheat Kings|
|Prince George Cougars|
Russian Super League
Czech Junior League
|Toronto St. Michael’s|
|Cape Breton Screaming Eagles|
|St. Cloud State University Huskies|
|Cornell University Big Red|
Marc-Andre Fleury was selected first overall. He is the franchise
goal tender the Penguins have not had in their minor-league system for years.
He has the potential to be a star and is the cornerstone for the Penguins
rebuilding process. When Fleury is added to the mix of J.S. Caron,
J.S. Aubin, Tomas Duba and Bobby Geopfert, the Penguins now
have a very strong group of goalies throughout their system.
The Penguins used their second pick on Ryan Stone, a bruising center
from the Western Hockey League. Stone is yet another two-way forward
in the Penguins organization. What separates him from the rest is his ability
to beat the other team, literally. With 24 fighting majors and 258
penalty minutes over the past two years, Stone is a team first player who
protects his teammates and won’t back down from a fight.
In the third round the Penguins tabbed Jonathan Filewich, a right
wing from Prince George of the WHL. Filewich is a power forward, he’s
big and strong and he crashes the net on a regular basis. Despite playing
15 fewer games in 2003-03 than he did in 2001-02, Filewich increased his
production by 22 points. He joins Ramzi Abid and Matt Murley
as the best power forward prospects in the Penguins organization.
With their second pick in the third round the Penguins selected Daniel
Carcillo. Carcillo was one if not the best agitator in the draft.
To go along with his grit and 157 PIM’s, the Sarnia Sting rookie also scored
66 points (29 goals and 37 assists) is 68 games. Along with Stone and Colby Armstrong
the Penguins now have three pugilists in their system.
Paul Bissonnette was chosen with the 121st pick. He is most
recognized for fighting Dion Phaneuf (9th overall in 2003) at the Top Prospects
Game where he was also named the game’s MVP. He is another team first
character player with good leadership skills. He is the kind of defenseman
the Penguins have lacked since Bob Boughner left the team after the 2000-01
In the fifth round the Penguins selected Evgeny Isakov. He was
pegged to go sometime in the third round, but his lack of production dropped
him down a bit further. Isakov is a physical player with above average
skating and shooting abilities. Part of his struggles can be attributed
to his young age and the quality of the league he plays in. He is the
first Russian the Penguins have selected in four years.
The Penguins drafted Lukas Bolf in the sixth round. Bolf is a physical
defenseman with good skating ability from the Czech Republic. He joins
fellow Czech defensemen Michal Rozsival, Josef Melichar and Ondrej Nemec
on the Penguins.
Pittsburgh had two selections in the seventh round. The first one was
used on Andy Chiodo. Chiodo had 26 wins and a .915 save percentage
last year for the Majors. The second pick in the seventh round was
used on Stephen Dixon. Dixon, an above average skater led Cape
Breton in scoring last season with 70 points (28 goals and 42 assists) in 72 games.
In the eighth round the Penguins took their first NCAA player. Joe
Jensen finished seventh in scoring on St. Cloud State in his freshman
year. He is a good skater, but a bit on the small side.
With their final pick the Penguins selected Matt Moulson in the Ninth
Round. Moulson is a good sized winger who finished first in freshman
scoring at Cornell University.
The Penguins have now completed a large portion of their rebuilding process.
The Penguins have their goalie of the future and many talented defensemen,
and now they have a a lot more gritty two-way players to compliment the group
they already havd. Next year the Penguins are not expected to do well,
and will likely end up with another high draft pick with which they can draft an offensive franchise player.