The Drafts: The Pittsburgh Penguins came to Florida knowing they weren’t in a position to draft a first rounder. But let’s review the drafts for 2015, shall we?
Without further delay:
46th Overall Pick Daniel Sprong – FWD
Offensive, talented skater who can score. He’s a stubborn player, likely why he dropped out of the first round. Nonetheless, this will provide much needed depth.
137th Overall Pick Dominik Simon – FWD
This youngster, out of the Czech Republic shoots left, was ranked third on his respected team during the 2011-2012 World Juniors and will be a great producer.
167th Overall Pick Frederik Tiffels – FWD
Tiffels is an interesting pick. He’s a winger just ranked out of the top 100 by Elite Prospects but hasn’t really shown too much. He’s a German Native out of the University of Western Michigan, knotting 11 goals and 10 assists in 32 games there during the 2014 season. Time will tell.
197th Overall Pick Nikita Pavlychev – FWD
Pavlychev turned out to be a match made by the Hockey Gods. He grew up a devoted Pens fan with the dream of one day playing here in Pittsburgh with his favorite player, Evgeni Malkin. At the 2015 draft, this dream will soon come true. With a big body at six-foot-seven, I like this pick in the seventh round.
Moving right along, I blow up some of the free agent signings by other teams that have taken on Penguin contracts. Here are some laughs.
The Avalanche made a play for bottom-six forward Blake Comeau, who had a fantastic season
with us last year until a devastating wrist injury. At a 3 year/7.2 million dollar contract, the Pens were right to pass on him. Overpaid.
San Jose has signed D-man Paul Martin to a 4 year/19.4 million dollar contract. What!? I definitely saw him going to Bylsma’s Sabres. He was a big Bylsma guy. Guess paychecks do the talkin’ eh Paulie?
*Noteable Laugh* Chicago stole highly coveted KHL forward Viktor Tikhonov from us. But did they really have a choice? Columbus gave them absolute crap for Brandon Saad. Maybe he’ll bust, maybe he won’t. But GM Jim Rutherford had to have seen this one coming.
Ah! The aftermath. Well, as the internet blew up for Jimmy to acquire an elite talent to play with Sidney Crosby, Free Agent Frenzy didn’t disappoint. Pittsburgh made a blockbuster deal for Toronto’s Phil Kessel, a potential 40 goal scorer, leaving some elated, and others fuming. Kessel is getting a chance to play with a much better squad of guys and media outlet. He’s perceived as a punk, a guy with a huge attitude problem. I see Kessel as a great fit here. The Maple Leafs wanted him gone, blaming him for all their problems. Derrick Pouliot and Olli Maatta remain here where they belong, which makes this deal so much more satisfying for those in the organization. They are Mike Johnston guys.
Sergei Plotnikov (teammates with Tikhonov in Russia) signed an entry-level contract. I believe he’ll become a great asset alongside Malkin on the second line. While not the greatest skaters, Plotnikov provides aggressiveness and isn’t afraid to drop the gloves when needed.
It remains to be seen how Jim Rutherford fills out the bottom-six, but today was a fantastic start. Pittsburgh opens up the season on October 8th against the Dallas Stars.
Photo credit: thewolf.ca