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Insider Only Draft Wrapup & Rumblings: Penguins primed for another impact move via free agency or trade

After stockpiling defensemen in round 1 with the selections of Derrick Pouliot (No. 8) and Olli Maata (No. 22), Pittsburgh addressed a pressing organization need (goaltender depth) today with selection of goaltender Matthew Murray in the third round and Sean Maguire in the fourth round. “I thought it was really productive for us, ” GM Ray Shero said. “Getting a couple goalies positionally, we did a good job and getting couple extra draft picks was beneficial and our scouts were ecstatic. “This was a real combination this year with our amateur and pro scouts. They did a really good job.
The Penguins in the second round selected Shattuck St. Mary’s center Theodor Blueger (6-0, 171 lbs). Pittsburgh went off the board to select Blueger who is the No. 116th ranked North American Skater. Blueger dropped from being the No. 69 ranked player in the mid-term rankings to No. 116 in Central Scoutings final rankings.
Blueger had 24 goals – 64 assists – 88 points in 51 games last season. For Lativa in the World Championships under 20-‘s, Blueger had 3 points in six games. The Penguins continue to target players who have played in big time competition and that was evident once again.Blueger is regarded as an offensive threat and has great hands and playmaking ability.
With their first selection in the third round (No. 81), Pittsburgh selected defensive minded center Oskar Sundqvist (6-3, 173lbs) out of the Sweden. Sundqvist had 8 goals and 17 points last season for Swe-Skelleftea.
Pittsburgh added goaltender Matthew Murray at No. 83 with their second pick of the third round. Murray is the No. 18th ranked North American goaltender. Murray did not have great numbers for Sault St. Marie (OHL), as he went 13-19-0-1, with a 4.08 goals-against average and an .876% save percentage in 36 games.
Murray though greatly improved his stock with his performance for Canada in the under-18 World Championships. Murray helped Canada win bronze, posting a 2.72 goals-against average and a .910% save percentage. Viewed as a strong competitor, Murray is regarded as having an NHL frame and excellent quickness. His rebound control though is suspect.
With the first pick of the fourth round (No. 92), Pittsburgh drafted Kitchener Rangers forward Matia Marcantuoni (5-11, 194) who some scouts feel was tremendous value at that spot. For the Kitchener Rangers of the OHL, the 5-foot-11, 194-pound center had 9 goals, 14 points and a plus-2 rating in 24 games for the Rangers this season. Marcantuoni through was injured and lost for the season in January. Marcantuoni went from No. 42 in the mid-term rankings to No. 59 in the final central scouting rankings. He was the highest ranked player selected by the Penguins on day 2. As a rookie in 2010-11, the Toronto native had 11 goals, 27 points and a minus-7 rating in 42 contests. Marcantuoni is viewed as one of the purest skaters in the draft and regarded as being explosive, powerful, and physical. Scouts feel he already has an NHL shot.
Pittsburgh then added Powell Rivers goaltender Sean Maguire (6-2, 200 lbs) with the No. 113th overall selection and their second pick of the fourth round. Maguire who is committed to Boston University, was 17-12-1 with a 2.33 GAA and .913 save percentage last season for the Powell River Kings. Maguire was the No. 28th ranked North American goaltender.
Maguire was the Gold Medal starting goalie for Team Canada West at the World Jr. A Challenge in Langley B.C. in November of 2011. Maguire was also named the WJAC Tournaments Top Goaltender ahead of the top two ranked NHL Central Scouting international goaltenders
In the 5th round, Pittsburgh selected Peterborough (OHL) defenseman Clark Seymour (6-3, 205 lbs). Seymour is a defensive defenseman with good size and a physical edge. He had 8 points in 47 games.
Pittsburgh’s last selection of the day was Shawinigan (QMJHL) right winger Anton Zlobin (5-11, 195lbs) in the six round (No. 173). The russian winger had 40 goals and 76 points in 66 games last season.
GM Ray Shero has revamped his roster to some extent and created salary cap space where the Penguins have put themselves in position for another impact move.
The team was very active in trade talks and there are some trade scenarios established that the Penguins know they could move on in the coming weeks. “There were certainly plenty of offers being made, at least ones that came my way, ” Shero said.
The plan for the Penguins now though is to regroup this weekend and formulate a plan next week going into July 1, which could lead to an impact move in free agency or via trade.
Shero and the Penguins appear prepared to make another splash.

“I don’t know, ” Shero said on whether next weekend will be just as eventful. “We’re in the position here, we acquired some pretty good players and acquired some cap space and we’ll sit down next week as a staff and see what direction we’ll go. We’re a little different right now than we were two days ago.”
One thing that is believed to be decided internally is a decision to give some of the young guys such as Robert Bortuzzo a legitimate shot to make an impact at the NHl level.
“The cap space to create was a bit important and at same time that was almost a by-product of trading a Zbynek Michalek, a veteran defenseman, is that the younger players we have drafted are ready to play and we needed to clear spaces for them, instead of losing them and give those guys some chances. All in all, hopefully we’re still a strong team and we have some cap space.”
Among those young guys Pittsburgh intends to give a shot at earning an NHL roster spot includes Bortuzzo and Brian Strait who Dan Bylsma had high praise for today. Simon Despres also figures into the discussion but Pittsburgh hasn’t ruled out shopping Despres if they can land an impact player in return. They have made that known to GM’s around the league.
— Some pressing issues for the Penguins in the coming days is determining the fate of Steve Sullivan and Arron Asham. The expectation is the Penguins will let Sullivan hit the open market as they continue to explore other options, while Asham could be brought back due to expected high asking prices from potential depth player targets.
“I think we have to make some decisions here this week, we have to let the dust settle and take a look at our depth chart, ” Shero said. “Certainly have to make decisions on guys like Arron Asham, Steve Sullivan, and guys like Park, and we’ll do that this week and be in touch with their agents and see where that’s going to go, and make a decision on July 1 on how active we could be or go in another direction.”
“This is all going to take place, have some meetings go into next weekend, and we’ll formulate a sensible game plan.”
While Shero has some trade scenario’s he knows he can move on if he wants, he’s still not actively looking to move more key roster players.
“We do like our team, ” Shero said. I’m not actively looking to trade more players from our team. If something comes up before or after July 1 on what we do, that’s just what you have to look at again and a lot can happen in next 10 days.”
On the trade front, Shero confirmed there was a lot of discussions and he expects the trade market to develop after July 1. “I don’t think it was as quiet as you think, but I think a lot of things are being held up, maybe by July 1 with a couple notable free agents and after that I think things will fall through. Once one of those things fall, might be a domino.”
Zach Parise and Ryan Suter continue to be the buzz around here. I hear Pittsburgh is more confident of being able to sign Suter but one thing that’s for certain is that Nashville was never close to trading the rights for Suter as Predators GM David Poile indicated today.
Meanwhile, Parise and his agents Don Meehan, Wade Arnott will be meeting together in Minnesota and a source says they will begin laying out a plan on what teams are attractive to them and what teams they expect to go after Parise.
Pittsburgh will surely be a team that now comes up that Parise’s camp didn’t expect to be in the mix just a few days ago. Pittsburgh is an attractive destination to top free agents.
“I think we’re in a really good position, ” Shero said. “I think we have a very good team, we are well coached, have great ownership, beautiful building, but there are a lot of good teams out there, lot of good situations and you don’t know what players may do. We have to formulate our game plan this week as to what we’re going to do and we are in a different position than we were a few days ago.”
— There continues to be talk that the Penguins would like to get bigger on the wings, which has Pittsburgh linked to the likes of Travis Moen, Daniel Winnik, however, a league source says the Canadiens, Moen are getting close to reaching a new three year deal.
“We’ll continue to look at that, ” Shero said on adding size to the wings. “Part of that was getting Brandon Sutter back, he certainly is a big body and it’s important to continue to add to your top-9. Look at that deal, just seemed like a good deal for both teams. Other things to look at were maybe for a winger or whatever, but then you have that hole there, fill a hole, create a hole. Size of our forward group, we’ll continue to look at.”
— Regarding Jordan Staal, Pittsburgh and Carolina finalized the trade for Staal around 6:45 p.m. last night and about 15 minutes before Shero and Rutherford finalized the deal, the New York Rangers made a serious play for Staal and were even willing to dangle 40 goal scorer Marian Gaborik, one league source says.
Pittsburgh discussed it internally but decided to pass on the trade scenario.
Shero was said to be livid on Thursday after Staal declined a 10 year offer and had no interest in negotiating. Shero though said today that around 2:00 p.m. on Friday he was in a better place and felt good about the trade last night when he went back to his room.
Staal in a conference call this afternoon with Carolina media discussed the timing of the trade on his wedding day. “It was unfortunate timing but it worked out for the best, ” Staal said. “It’s an opportunity for me to do what I can do. It’s a new challenge for me, ” Staal said. Staal indicated that if he accepted the Penguins 10 year offer, he would have never had the opportunity to play with his brother. Hey you only live once.
Moving forward now, Shero appears open to add via trade or free agency and he’s put the Penguins in that position.
“I just don’t know {on which direction}. Just think you have to be prepared for either, ” Shero said. “Right now we have two good goaltenders, a number of defensemen signed with young guys coming, and good guys up front we’ll take a look at. “Whether it’s free agency or trade, we’ll take a look.”

About The Author

William DePaoli

TIOPS Insider

William DePaoli is the President/Founder of Inside Pittsburgh Sports LLC and can be reached at

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