Former Penguins GM Patrick: Taking Ovechkin was no sure thing
Former Penguins general manager Craig Patrick couldn't help but smile while watching Evgeni Malkin put on a show Tuesday night against the New York Rangers.
Patrick, now the senior advisor of the Columbus Blue Jackets after being out of hockey for five years, drafted Malkin in 2004.
"We knew he was special," said Patrick, who entered Consol Energy Center for the first time Tuesday. "But I don't even know if we knew he'd be this good. When they're 17, you never really know. But we loved him."
Patrick's Penguins finished with the worst record in the NHL during the 2003-04 season, giving them the best odds for the first pick in the 2004 NHL Entry Draft. Instead, the Washington Capitals won the draft lottery and took left wing Alex Ovechkin first overall.
Had the Penguins landed the top pick, Patrick isn't so sure he would have selected Ovechkin.
In his eyes, Malkin was that good.
"I honestly don't know what we would have done," Patrick said. "The year before, Ovechkin was the definite top pick. But Malkin got so much better that year. He really started to close the gap. We really didn't care if we had the first or second pick. We thought that highly of Malkin."
Patrick is delighted to be back in the NHL. Even during his five-year hiatus, he kept close tabs on the league.
"I watched everything," he said. "I was always watching, always paying close attention to the game."
His first trip to Consol Energy Center was an eye-opening experience. Patrick was Penguins general manager from 1989-2006, and during that time, Civic Arena was the only home his team knew.
"This is an amazing place," Patrick said. "Just looking around at the building, I couldn't be more impressed. The press box is certainly an upgrade over the last place. The team is in a better place."
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.
- Penguins sign top pick Kapanen
- Based on glowing recommendation, Pens hire Agnew as assistant
- Penguins re-sign Megna, Samuelsson to 1-year deals
- Penguins are saying captain Crosby’s right wrist may need surgery
- Pens hope to reach long-term deal with Brandon Sutter
- New Penguins winger Spaling files for arbitration
- Familiar Penguins faces say goodbye via free agency