The Pittsburgh Penguins have eight prospects playing at the Canadian Major Junior level, seven of whom were acquired in the 2012 off-season through the draft or trade. The Penguins, as is the case organization wide, are particularly heavy on defense at the junior level, with five defensive prospects led by 2012 first round picks Derrick Pouliot and Olli Maatta.
Below is the middle section Hockey’s Future’s NHL Team Rankings. The teams are ranked in terms of the quality of their overall prospect pool as voted on by the staff of Hockey's Future. For reference, just the top five prospects are listed. To be eligible, a prospect must meet HF's prospect criteria. The rankings are done twice a year, with the second scheduled to be published in the Spring.
Over the past four seasons the Pittsburgh Penguins organization has made a concerted effort to draft quality defensemen and now boasts one of the deepest groups of defensive prospects in the NHL. Their forward depth, while not as impressive as the defense, has also come a long way and now has quality prospects at every position.
Defenseman Reid McNeill (PIT) was not on many scouting radars as a 15 or 16-year-old. He was not selected in the OHL priority draft and played as a 16-year-old for Lucas High School, located in London, Ontario, then later JrD level hockey for the Lambeth Lancers of the OHA. Then something happened.
The Pittsburgh Penguins organization injected their prospect pool with a massive amount of talent at every level this past off-season and will consequentially head into the 2012-13 season with many questions. There will be eight new additions to their minor-league roster, but there will also be many eyes on 2012 first round draft picks Derrick Pouliot and Olli Maata, both of whom recently signed entry-level contracts.