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NHL

Three players headline deep, talented draft pool

| Saturday, March 23, 2013, 11:30 p.m.
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Penguins director of amateur scouting Jay Heinbuck looks at his computer at the draft table during the second day of the NHL Entry Draft on June 27, 2009, at Bell Centre in Montreal.

Five questions with Penguins Director of Amateur Scouting Jay Heinbuck:

Q: It has become clear that Nathan MacKinnon, Seth Jones and Jonathan Drouin are the top three players in the upcoming draft. Do they match up well with the past few draft classes?

A: Yes, I really think they do. I think MacKinnon, Jones and Drouin are definitely the people teams have in their top three, and they really are worthy. They didn't have the hype that (Ryan) Nugent-Hopkins and Taylor Hall had. I guess MacKinnon has gotten some hype over the years. But I think these three kids have the hockey world pretty excited — and for good reason.

Q: Which one goes first?

A: It really isn't clear cut right now. I hear lots of different opinions, and it's really all about what teams need. If you want a big, two-way defenseman, you can't go wrong with Seth Jones. If you want a No. 1 NHL center, you can't go wrong with MacKinnon. If you want a winger that can dazzle you with his skill, you can't go wrong with Drouin.

Q: How would you assess the upcoming draft?

A: It is a fairly deep one. I think there's going to be some good players farther down in the draft, and this is something we kind of knew a couple of years ago when we looked at this draft. You could tell that this was going to be a pretty good one.

Q: Have the Penguins changed anything in their philosophies regarding the draft and what kind of players they want?

A: We've got a certain criteria that I won't divulge. Probably a more stringent criteria specifically about the type of player we're looking for.

Q: How much do you look at a player's character?

A: Very much. I've got to give our regional scouts a lot of accolades. They do an in-depth job on that. It does mean an awful lot to us. We've taken guys off our list during the last few years because of question marks off the ice.

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