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Day 2 NHL Draft: Developing 2nd round picks into quality NHLer’s has been a struggle for Pens franchise

Rounds 2-7

The NHL Draft wraps up today with Rounds 2-7. The Penguins have picks in the second round (54th overall), fifth round (144th), sixth round (174th) and seventh round (209th).
Pittsburgh acquired its seventh-round selection from the San Jose Sharks at last year’s draft in exchange for the Penguins’ 2010 seventh-round pick.
The Penguins previously traded three 2011 draft picks when they sent their third-round pick to Philadelphia at last year’s draft in exchange for the rights to defenseman Dan Hamhuis;
they dealt their fourth-round pick to Edmonton in January, 2009 as part of a package that netted goaltender Mathieu Garon; and they traded their seventh-round selection to Ottawa on Feb. 24 of this past season to re-acquire forward Alex Kovalev.

Second Round Duds

A lot of times teams can find gems in the second round as first round talent falls into round 2. However, that hasn’t been the case for the Penguins franchise over the past 20 years. Here’s a look at several second round duds since 1991, which will show how bad former GM Craig Patrick missed on just about every second round pick from 1991 – 2005.
Scouts believe prospects drafted in rounds 2 through 7 deserve 4-to-5 years to be developed so the verdict obviously isn’t out yet on the Penguins development of second rounds picks under GM Ray Shero’s staff.
The only two Patrick second round picks that were brought through the system with Shero’s staff at the helm was 2001 second rounder Noah Welch and 2003 second round pick Ryan Stone.

1991

— Penguins drafted center Rusty Fitzgerald with the No. 38 overall selection in the 2nd round. Fitzgerald appeared in just 25 career games with the Penguins, tallying 2 goals and 2 assists.

1992

— Penguins drafted defenseman Marc Hussey with the No. 43 overall pick in the second round. Hussey never appeared in the NHL and played in the minors, European leagues until 2003-2004. His is now an assistant coach with the Saint John Sea Dogs of the QMJHL and is a friend of the site.

1993

— Penguins drafted center Domenic Pittis with the No. 52 overall selection in the second round. Pitts was a prolific goal scorer in the Western Hockey League, scoring 58 goals in 1993-1994 but he went on to only play 1 career game with the Penguins. Over his career, he appeared in 86 career NHL games, scoring 5 goals.

1994

— Penguins drafted forward Richard Park with the No. 50 overall selection in the second round. Park went on to have a nice NHL career but not with the Penguins. He appeared in just 58 career games with the Penguins, collecting 4 goals. Park was traded to Anaheim during the 1996-1997 season. Park who last played in the NHL in 2009-2010, appeared in 685 career NHL games, scoring 95 goals and 227 points. He tallied 10 goals or more in 6 NHL seasons.

1995

— Penguins did have a second round pick

1996

— Penguins drafted defensemen Pavel Skrbek with the No. 28 overall selection in the second round. Skrbek appeared in just 4 career games with the Penguins and just 12 career NHL games, overall. Skrbek spent most of his playing career in the Swedish Elite League.

1997

— Penguins drafted center Brian Gaffaney with the No. 44 overall selection in the second round. The closest Gaffaney got to the big club was playing a meager 2 games for the Wilkes Barre/Scranton Penguins in 2001-2002. Gaffaney never appeared in the NHL during his playing career.

1998

— Penguins drafted winger Alexander Zevakhin with the No. 54 overall selection in the second round. Zevakhin joined the Penguins organization in 2000 but never made it past the AHL. He left the organization in the middle of the 2003-2004 season, going back to Russia.

1999

— Penguins drafted Matt Murley with the No. 51 overall selection in the second round. Murley showed offensively ability in the minors, scoring 21 goals for the Baby Pens in 2001-2002 but his game never translated to the NHL level. Murley appeared in 59 career games with the Penguins, scoring 2 goals and 8 points. His career NHL totals are: 62GP – 2G – 7A -9PTS

2000

— Penguins drafted center Shane Endicott with the No. 52 overall selection in the second round. The big 6-foot-4 center never panned out and played just 45 career games with the Penguins, which is what his career NHL totals are.

2001

— Penguins drafted defenseman Noah Welch with the No. 54 overall selection in the second round. Welch never met the high expectations but GM Ray Shero was able to turn him into a tradeable asset six years later. Welch was apart of the deal that brought Gary Roberts to Pittsburgh at the 2007 trade deadline.
Welch has been a career minor league player for the most part. He has appeared in just 75 career NHL games.

2002

— Penguins drafted defenseman Ondrej Nemec with the No. 35 overall selection in the second round. Nemec left the organization in 2003-2004 to go play in the Czech Republic and never appeared in an NHL game.

2003

— Penguins drafted Ryan Stone with the No. 32 overall selection in the second round. Stone was nothing more than a fringe NHLer and appeared in just 8 NHL games with the Penguins. Some players selected after Stone in the 2nd round: Patrice Bergeron, 45th overall, Matt Carle, 47th overall, Shea Weber, 49th overall, David Backes, 62nd overall.

2004

— Penguins drafted right winger Johannes Salmonsson with the No. 31 overall selection in the second round. The Penguins had high expectations for Salmonsson but the highly skilled winger has never showed interest in coming to the NHL. He is currently playing for AIK of the Swedish Elite League. He is still just 24 years old.

2005

— Penguins drafted defenseman Michael Gergen with the No. 61 overall selection in the second round. Gergen spent four seasons at Minnesota-Duluth and never joined the Penguins organization. He is currently playing for Bakerfield Condors of the East Coast Hockey League.

2006

— Penguins drafted defenseman Carl Sneep with the No. 32 overall selection in the second round. Sneep, 23, is still a developmental prospect and spent his first season with the Wilkes Barre/Scranton Penguins in 2010-2011. He projects as a No. 6 defenseman at the NHL level and scouts question whether he’ll sustain a career in the NHL.
Notable 2006 second round picks playing in the NHL: Milan Lucic, 50th overall,

2007

— Penguins drafted Keven Veilleux with the No. 51 overall selection in the second round. Veilleux, 21, has excellent size at 6-foot-5, 220-pounds and NHL qualities. However, he’s still at least 2 years away and he’s a hard read where he projects at this point. Notable second round picks playing in the NHL: Wayne Simmonds, 61st overall.

2008

— Penguins did not have a second round pick

2009

— Penguins drafted defenseman Philip Samuelsson with the No. 61 overall selection in the second round. Samuelsson has developed rapidly in the past two years at Boston College, signing an entry level contract with the Penguins in April. He will join the organization for the 2011-2012 season.
He’s regarded as one of the Penguins top-5 prospects and is a stay at home type of blueliner.

2010

— Penguins did not have a second round pick.

About The Author

William DePaoli

TIOPS Insider

William DePaoli is the President/Founder of Inside Pittsburgh Sports LLC and can be reached at wdepaoli@insidepittsburghsports.com

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