ROUND 1 PENS WRAPUP
After three straight disappointing playoff runs, GM Ray Shero is not standing pat and more impact moves are expected in the coming weeks.
Shero started the night with his blockbuster move, trading Jordan Staal to the Carolina Hurricanes in exchange for the No. 8 overall pick (selected Derrick Pouliot), center Brandon Sutter and prospect Brian Dumoulin.
After Jordan Staal rejected a 10 year offer yesterday, Shero felt it was the right time to move him. “It just felt right, “Â Shero said. “Should be a real good situation for Jordan and they have a heck of a hockey club.”
If the previous proposed re-alignment ever becomes a go, Staal and the Penguins will be seeing each other quite often as the two teams were pegged to be in the same division.
“When you’re acquiring an elite player you have to give a lot for it,” Canes GM Jim Rutherford said. “And we did. We paid Pittsburgh a good price.”
The Penguins feel they got a very good return and the key to the deal for GM Ray Shero was Brandon Sutter.
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“Brandon was the key to the deal for us, ” Shero said. “He’s a proven player in the league. We love what he brings.”
Sutter just 23, carries a $2,066,667 million cap hit and Pittsburgh feels he will fit extremely well in their system. Suter had 17 goals and 32 points last season and will be a factor in all areas, especially on the penalty kill.
Sutter recently completed his fourth NHL season with the Hurricanes and appeared in all 82 contests. Sutter ranked fourth (tied) in the NHL with a career-high three shorthanded goals. The 6-foot-3, 183-pound Sutter has appeared in 286 career regular-season games with Carolina, totaling 53 goals, 54 assists, 107 points and a plus-8 rating. Originally Carolinaâs first-round draft pick in 2007 (11th overall), Sutterâs best season came in 2009-10 when he registered 21 goals and 40 points in 72 regular-season games.
Shero’s other big deal of the night was sending Zbynek Michalek to the Phoenix Coyotes in exchange for defenseman (prospect)Â Harrison Ruopp, goaltender Marc Cheverie and a 2012 third-round draft pick (81st overall).
The key out of this deal was clearing $4 million in cap space and more cap space could be moved as the Penguins haven’t ruled out moving Paul Martin, if a trade is thereÂ with NHL assets coming back. However, as of today, Pittsburgh was getting more calls on Michalek and pulled the trigger on him. “He fits our structure, ” Coyotes GM Don Maloney said when leaving the draft floor.
While Shero has cleared space for another impact move, he continues to stockpile his system with defensemen, selecting offensively gifted defenseman Derrick Pouliot (5-11, 186lbs) with the No. 8 overall pick and defensive defenseman Olli Maatta (6-2, 202lbs) with the No. 22 selection. In addition to adding two more prospects via trade.
Pouliot, 18, is an offensively gifted defenseman and was ranked No. 12 overall among North American Skaters by NHL Central Scouting. The 5-foot-11, 186-pound Pouliot was fourth among Western Hockey League (WHL) defensemen with 59 points (11G-48A). His 48 assists ranked second among WHL blueliners.
Pouliot has played the past three seasons with Portland, tallying 90 points (16G-74A) in 145 regular-season games after being the first-overall player selected by the Winterhawks during the 2009 WHL Bantam Draft.
âI try and model myself after Drew Doughty…. maybe Nick Lidstrom,â Pouliot said. âI’m Poised, patient with the puck and trying to get that intensity and grittiness like Doughty has.â
TSN’s Craig Button: Derrick is a QB Type defenseman who relies on excellent vision and precision passing. He understands the game so well and sees what is unfolding and then is able to exploit it. He has great poise with the puck and doesn’t force things but ensures when you get the puck, that you can do something positive with it. His skating is very good and he has a burst of quickness that allows him to gain a little extra time or space to make a play and he utilizes uses it offensively or defensively. He will jump into the attack and because he knows his options, he can appear to be moving untouched which is due to the opponent having to respect his ability to quickly strike with his passing and thus backing off somewhat. He relies on strong positioning to put himself in the best position to make plays and while he’s not a physical player, he’s very effective using his body to gain advantages. He has a calm to his play but is competitive and will not succumb to the challenges that come his way. He is a strong puck possession player.
MaattaÂ is a player the Penguins didn’t expect to be there at No. 22 and like his d-partner Scott Harrington, he’s a defenseman who can play all situations.
Maatta, 17, was ranked No. 8 among North American skaters by NHL Central Scouting. He joins Portland Winterhawks defenseman Derrick Pouliot, whom the Penguins chose No. 8 overall, in giving Pittsburgh multiple first-round picks for just the second time in franchise history.
In his first season in North America, Maatta led all Ontario Hockey League rookie defensemen this year with 32 points (5G-27A) in 58 regular-season games after being the No. 1-overall selection of the Canadian Hockey League import draft. Maatta was teammates at London with Pittsburghâs 2011 second-round draft pick, defenseman Scott Harrington.
The 6-foot-2, 202-pound Maattaâs strong play during the postseason propelled the Knights to an OHL championship and a runner-up finish at the Memorial Cup in May. Maatta posted a team-leading (tied) 23 points (6G-17A) in 17 playoff games. His 17 assists led the team.
Maatta indicated that he feels his game resembles that of Marc Staal.
TSN’s Craig Button’s scouting report: “Olli plays the game with a workmanlike approach. He has a strong hockey IQ and reads the play and understands what the challenges are and what the appropriate responses should be. He anticipates the play so well and it allows him to get on top of opponents defensively despite not being blessed with closing quickness. He is a heads up player and is finely attuned to the game. He competes in 1-1 battles and doesn’t give in at all. He’s not punishing but he’s physical and assertive. His passing is good and he gets the puck to the right areas and he does it quickly. There is no lingering in his play. Offensively he gained tremendous confidence in the latter part of the season and it became a significant weapon for him and his team. Jumping into the attack and being assertive was a testament to his becoming increasingly confident in his abilities and expanding his game. He is a player who can continue to develop and he shows the desire and determination to do exactly that.”
The Penguins added four more defensemen to their system and they continue to accumulate assets where one league source I spoke with afterÂ feels they should be phoning the Anaheim Ducks about Bobby Ryan.