Pens don't intend to stray from strategy
TORONTO – Dropping three consecutive playoff series might yet produce a significant change in the Penguins' organization.
But it won't alter the team's drafting philosophies.
Jay Heinbuck, the Penguins' Director of Amateur Scouting, was on hand Friday for the NHL Draft Combine in Toronto and confirmed that his orders have not changed.
“I do pay attention with what's going on with the big team,” Heinbuck said. “But it really doesn't affect what we'll do in the draft.”
In other words, expect the Penguins to select the best remaining player with the 22nd pick June 22 at Consol Energy Center. Even though the Penguins possess a lack of quality forwards and a surplus of defensemen in their system, Heinbuck and general manager Ray Shero selected defensemen with the first two picks in the 2011 draft and may again later this month.
“There is no doubt,” New Jersey Devils executive vice president of hockey operations/Director of scouting David Conte said, “that the blue line is the strongest thing about this draft.”
Heinbuck agrees with Conte's assessment and isn't afraid to look to the blue line again even though the team has recently drafted blue chip defensemen Simon Despres, Joe Morrow and Scott Harrington.
“It has to be this way,” Heinbuck said. “We're in the asset business. You don't know when those assets are going to parlay onto your roster. You don't want to sacrifice taking a lesser player because of position and not come up with an asset.”
Heinbuck reinforced this team belief by relaying a story from the second round of last year's draft in Minnesota.
The Penguins had Harrington ranked slightly ahead of a forward last year, but only slightly, and forward is a need in their system.
“We discussed it at the table as a staff,” Heinbuck said. “We saw that Harrington was going to be who we had ranked highest. We asked if we wanted to do this because there was a forward right there also. We hashed it all out, and we decided Harrington was our best asset, so we took him.”
While there might be a temptation to focus solely on defensively responsible players – permitting 30 goals in six playoff games can do this – Heinbuck won't let issues at the NHL level dictate which players he favors. After all, the Penguins could be a drastically different team by the time players from this year's draft are ready to play in the NHL.
“We had a bad first round of the playoffs,” Heinbuck said. “Yes, we have to cut down on goals against. But we also did a lot of good things this year. We just want to draft as many quality players as we can. That's what you have to do.”
Josh Yohe is a reporter for Trib Total Media and can be reached at email@example.com.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- New Penguins coach to meet with Malkin
- Penguins assistant Martin gets new job title
- Rossi: Johnston must reach Malkin in Moscow
- Q&A: New coach Johnston feeling at home with Penguins
- Hollidaysburg native Lafferty relishing his chance with Penguins
- Penguins notebook: Kapanen shines in scrimmage
- Stockpiling talented forwards becomes a priority for Penguins
- Recchi rejoins Pens, this time as a coach
- Despite management change, familiarity reigns for Penguins prospects
- Penguins sign Despres to 2-year deal