With a front office and coaching staff made up almost entirely of former NCAA hockey players, it should come as no surprise that the Pittsburgh Penguins love to draft and develop collegiate level talent. However, there are also pragmatic reasons as to why Penguins draft collegiate bound players. The biggest reason is because NHL teams are afforded two more years with NCAA players before they have to make a decision regarding whether or not they will sign the player to an entry-level contract. That extra development time is crucial for a team like the Penguins, who rely heavily on mid-to-late round draft picks to keep their cupboard stocked.
With the NHL salary cap scheduled to go down by almost 6 million dollars in the 2013-14 season, the Pittsburgh Penguins appear to have positioned themselves well for the short and long-term future. Many of their top prospects are either playing in the NHL or knocking on the door, and given the typically affordable salaries young players make, the organization should have plenty of room to retain several star players who will be up for contract in the coming years.
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.
The hosts of the 2012 NHL Draft, the Pittsburgh Penguins were expected to be among several teams actively seeking trades at or around the draft. Just several days prior to the event, Penguins General Manager Ray Shero stated that the team was going to aggressively shop one or two of their NHL defensemen.