Photo: Defenseman Reid McNeill (PIT) credits former OHL coaches Dale Hawerchuk and Dale Hunter for molding him into an NHL prospect. (CHL Images)
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.
Photo: Olli Maatta is one of several Penguins prospects who could see a huge spike in production over the 2012-13 season. (Aaron Bell/OHL Images)
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.
Defenseman Brian Dumoulin is one of 12 prospects the Penguins added in the 2012 off-season through either trade, draft, or free agency. (Fred Kfoury/Icon SMI)
With the addition of 12 new prospects to the pool, including nine draft picks, the Pittsburgh Penguins underwent a transformative off-season. The organization addressed not only their various weaknesses, but also added substantially to their defensive prospect depth, something that was already a great strength.
Photo: Center Oskar Sundqvist (left) and goalie Matt Murray (right) were just two of seven players the Pittsburgh Penguins picked on Day Two of the 2012 NHL Draft. (Ian Altenbaugh/HF)
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.
Photo: The Pittsburgh Penguins top selection at the 2012 NHL Draft, Derrick Pouliot, chats with Penguins legend Mario Lemiuex and the team's head coach, Dan Bylsma (courtesy of Jeanine Leech/Icon SMI)
There were a couple of “climbers” in the first round of the 2012 NHL Draft, one of them being the Pittsburgh Penguins top pick, defenseman Derrick Pouliot of the WHL's Portland Winterhawks.