Pittsburgh Penguins 2013 draft review

By Ian Altenbaugh

Tristan Jarry - Pittsburgh Penguins

Photo: Goaltender Tristan Jarry was the Pittsburgh Penguin first pick of the 2013 NHL Draft. (courtesy of Bill Wippert/NHLI via Getty Images)

The Pittsburgh Penguins were expected to make some noise at the 2013 NHL Draft. Heading into the draft weekend, the organization was having difficulties signing star defenseman Kris Letang to a long-term deal, creating speculation that the organization might try to shop him for a high draft pick.

In the end, the Penguins re-signed Letang. They did however move another longtime member of the team, forward Tyler Kennedy, to the San Jose Sharks for a second round pick. When all was said and done, the Penguins came out of the 2013 NHL Draft with six new prospects.

Tristan Jarry, G, Edmonton Oil Kings (WHL)
2nd round, 44th overall
Height: 6'2 Weight: 172 lbs

One of the top rated goaltenders in the 2013 NHL Draft, Jarry was a player the Penguins scouting staff had expressed a great deal of interest in at the combine. So when he was still available in the 40s, Penguins GM Ray Shero packaged their newly acquired second round pick (50th overall) with one of their two picks in the third round, to move up to the 44th spot and select him.

"We see a potential starting goalie," said Randy Sexton, the Penguins assistant director of amateur scouting.  "He's got very good size. He moves well, he didn't get a lot of ice time this year because he was playing behind a Calgary draft pick in Edmonton, but he will be the starter next year. He's got the technical foundation and the size we think to be a starter."

Jarry spent the last two seasons with the Edmonton Oil Kings backing up Calgary Flames prospect Laurent Brossoit. In 27 starts in the regular 2012-13 season, Jarry managed an 18-7 record, a 1.67 goals against average, a .936 save percentage, and six shutouts. His goals against and save percentage led all WHL goalies who played the minute equivalent of at least 24 games.

In terms of his style of play, Jarry is a bit of a throwback. He plays a hybrid style and does not drop into the butterly as often as many goaltenders his age. He is also adept at moving the puck, quick in his lateral movements, and has good recovery time. However, the greatest trait Jarry may possess is a tough, unflappable mind for the game.

Jake Guentzel, C/W, Sioux City Musketeers (USHL)
3rd round, 77th overall
Height: 5'9 Weight: 157 lbs

Jake Guenztel is an undersized forward who is coming off a spectacular season in the USHL. He managed 29 goals and 44 assists through 60 regular season games in 2012-13 and earned USHL Rookie of the Year honors. The son of Mike Guentzel, a former New York Rangers draft pick and currently an assistant coach at the University of Minnesota, Jake possess a great deal of hockey sense and plays a very sound two-way game.

The biggest knock on Guentzel right now is his size, though Sexton believes he will continue to grow over the next few years.

"His brothers and his father are both over six foot, so we certainly believe he's going to grow and every indication is that he will grow," Sexton said. "We see this kid as certainly a middle six forward. He can generate some offense and play both sides of the puck."

Guentzel is scheduled to join the University of Nebraska-Omaha in the fall, where he will join current Penguins prospect Josh Archibald.

Ryan Segalla, D, Salisbury Prep (Connecticut HS)
4th round, 119th overall
Height 6'1 Weight: 184 lbs

Segalla is a big and strong defenseman who managed 10 goals and eight assists through 28 games last year with Salisbury Prep.

"Ryan Segalla is a hard-hitting defenseman," said Sexton. "He's a very good skater and plays a very robust physical game. He needs to keep his game simple and when he does he is very, very effective."

Though he is extremely raw right now, Segalla already possesses good mobility and a mean, tenacious style of play in his own end, making him relatively easy to project as a prospect.

"He's thick, he works very hard off the ice," said Sexton. "He should grow a little bit more at least. He's a guy that we fully expect to grow into that hard to play against, denter-type role we like."

Committed to the University of Connecticut for the 2014-15 season, Segalla is expected to develop in the USHL for one season, likely with the Dubuque Fighting Saints, who drafted him 15th overall in the USHL Entry Draft.

Hockey's Future shot video of Jarry, Guentzel, and Segalla at the NHL Draft. You can view the players extended remarks in this HF video.

Dane Birks, D, Merritt Centennials (BCHL)
6th round, 164th overall
Height: 6'3 Weight: 190 lbs

A tall defenseman with a booming shot from the point, Birks is a prospect who is very raw, but possesses a great deal of promise. He spent the 2012-13 season in the BCHL where he managed five goals and 15 assists through 52 games.

"We like the upside that he has," said Sexton. "He's a little bit of a late bloomer, but he skates well, moves the puck well, and is physical in his own way. He is one of those players that needs a little bit more time but obviously going the college route, he'll get it."

Birks is expected to spend one more season in the BCHL before moving on to Michigan Tech in the 2014-15 season. He projects as a very solid two-way defenseman who can contribute offensively.

Blaine Byron, C, Smiths Falls Bears (CCHL)
6th round, 179th overall
Height: 511 Weight: 163 lbs

The Penguins may have found a late-round gem in Blaine Byron, an immensely skilled but very raw playmaker who spent the 2012-13 season lighting up the CCHL with the Kemptville 73s and Smiths Falls Bears. Through 51 games, Byron managed 12 goals, 40 assists, and won the CCHL Top Prospect Award for 2012-13.

"Blaine is a very smart player. He will grow a little bit more, or certainly some more," said Sexton. "[He is another] college player that's going to need a little bit more time to develop."

Outside of his brilliant playmaking ability, Byron plays an involved game at both ends of the ice, has good stick work, and is solid in the faceoff circle. He is guilty of taking too many risks in the offensive zone however, and will have to learn to make more simple plays, particularly while transitioning the puck up ice.

Byron is scheduled to attend the University of Maine in the fall.

Troy Josephs, C, St. Michael's Buzzers (OJHL)
7th round, 209th overall
Height: 5'11 Weight: 176 lbs

With their final pick, the Penguins selected 19-year-old forward Troy Josephs. A gritty, tenacious player, Josephs has drawn praise for his ferocious fore-checking and ability push the tempo of the game. He is good at protecting the puck down low and along the boards, and wins the majority of his battles in the corners. He also possesses a fair amount of skill, having managed 17 goals and 20 assists through 42 regular season games last year, and another 20 points through 24 playoff games.

That all being said, Josephs remains a very raw player and his commitment to playing defense is questionable. He will have plenty of time to sort out the finer points of his game however as he is scheduled to join Clarkson University for 2013-14.

Follow Ian Altenbaugh on Twitter: @IanAltenbaugh

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