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Old 06-23-2007, 09:32 PM   #2521
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Default Re: Pens Tidbits

Looks like a solid draft for the Pens - picked up some good value for their draft position, especially grabbing Esposito in the first round, and got a few guys with some grit and toughness, two things you can never have enough of. Hopefully a few of them will pan out and be able to contribute to the big club down the road.

Now that the draft is over, it's on to free agency. I'm really looking forward to seeing what the Pens will do and who they will bring in.
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Old 06-23-2007, 09:36 PM   #2522
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Looks like a solid draft for the Pens - picked up some good value for their draft position, especially grabbing Esposito in the first round, and got a few guys with some grit and toughness, two things you can never have enough of. Hopefully a few of them will pan out and be able to contribute to the big club down the road.

Now that the draft is over, it's on to free agency. I'm really looking forward to seeing what the Pens will do and who they will bring in.
Same here brother.

This has been great for the Penguins to pick up these draft picks. I'm looking forward to seeing what's to come this year in FA.
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Old 06-23-2007, 11:46 PM   #2523
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http://post-gazette.com/pg/07175/796762-61.stm

Draft Day: Penguins come up big with 7 choices

Sunday, June 24, 2007
By Dave Molinari, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette


COLUMBUS, Ohio -- The Penguins selected seven players on the second day of the NHL entry draft, and all have something that distinguishes him from the rest.

One speaks no English.

Another plans to pursue a business degree at Michigan Tech.

A third isn't listed in an online database that appears to include just about anyone who ever played a game of organized hockey.

But everyone whose rights the Penguins claimed at Nationwide Arena yesterday shares at least three traits: None are European. None are expected to challenge for work in the NHL for at least a couple of years. And, most important, all are 6 foot 1 or taller.

And the latter, at least, is not entirely a coincidence.

"Obviously, you're drafting talent, you're drafting hockey sense, you're drafting character," assistant general manager Chuck Fletcher said. "But all things being equal, you take the bigger guy if you can get him.

"That was a point of emphasis for our scouts. and we got some big kids. There's no question."

The Penguins' second-day selections, which include two players in both the third and fourth rounds and none in the seventh, were:

Keven Veilleux, a 6-foot-4, 202-pound center from Victoriaville (Quebec Major Junior Hockey League).

Robert Bortuzzo, a 6-3, 196-pound defenseman from Kitchener (Ontario Hockey League).

Casey Pierro-Zabotel, a 6-1 205-pound center from Merritt (British Columbia Junior Hockey League).

Luca Caputi, a 6-2, 184-pound left winger from Mississauga (OHL).

Alex Grant, a 6-2, 185-pound defenseman from Saint John (QMJHL).

Jake Muzzin, a 6-2, 206-pound defenseman from Sault Ste. Marie (OHL).

Dustin Jeffrey, a 6-1, 205-pound center from Sault Ste. Marie (OHL).

Most, if not all, of the draftees are expected to participate in the Penguins' rookie camp that begins Tuesday, but management doesn't expect to see any of them in town on a full-time basis for at least a couple of years.

"The progression is going to be going back to junior, or going to college," general manager Ray Shero said. "That's perfect. It buys some time."

Veilleux, who had 20 goals and 35 assists in 70 games, speaks only French, so assistant coach Andre Savard was pressed into service as a translator for his post-selection interviews.

He said that Veilleux often is told that his style resembles that of Anaheim's Ryan Getzlaf, although Veilleux declined to predict when he might be ready to join Getzlaf at this level.

"He wants to improve his skating [acceleration]" Savard said.

Veilleux dropped from 16th in NHL Central Scouting's midseason rankings of North American forwards and defensemen to 33rd in the final ratings.

The only other Penguins draftee on hand to hear his name called yesterday was Pierro-Zabotel, who played Tier II hockey in British Columbia rather than major junior so that he could preserve his eligibility to play at Michigan Tech.

Pierro-Zabotel, 75th in Central Scouting's final rankings, professed that he "didn't really have high expectations going into the draft." Nonetheless, he likened his game to that of Detroit's Tomas Holmstrom, who makes a living absorbing punishment in front of opposing nets.

Although Muzzin has a history of serious back trouble that caused him to sit out the 2005-06 season, that doesn't explain why he didn't make it into the online database.

Of course, what really matters is that he is large enough that the Penguins weren't going to overlook him. Especially not in a year when coming up big carried so much weight with their scouts.

"I like the fact that we added some guys with size," Shero said. "At the same time, it wasn't a situation where, if there was a 5-foot-9 guy and a 6-foot-2 guy, we took the 6-foot-2 guy just because of size. Our scouts liked them. They happened to be big."
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Old 06-24-2007, 06:19 AM   #2524
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Default Re: Pens Tidbits

Pens' draft about securing depth
By Rob Rossi
TRIBUNE-REVIEW
Sunday, June 24, 2007

COLUMBUS, Ohio - The Penguins were minutes from making the 141st pick in the 2007 NHL Entry Draft on Saturday when first-year head amateur scout Jay Heinbuck started to feel uneasy.

What if, he thought, one of three teams picking ahead of Pittsburgh in the fifth round knew what he knew?

If those teams did know, their actions did not indicate as much, which allowed Heinbuck and the Penguins to grab left-handed defenseman Jake Muzzin.

Who?

Oh, just another potential steal for the Penguins, who on Friday swiped skilled center Angelo Esposito, previously the top-rated prospect by the NHL's Central Scouting Bureau.

The snagging of Esposito had Penguins fans flooding Internet message boards with enthusiasm not normally reserved for a 20th overall pick. The team's Web-savvy faithful probably will not afford similar sentiment to Heinbuck's choice of Muzzin.

Perhaps they should.

"He is a kid that two years ago, when he was drafted into the Ontario Hockey League, was talked about being a potential first-round pick in this draft," Heinbuck said of Muzzin, considered in 2005 the No. 12 junior prospect by independent scouting service Red Line Report.

"But going into the 2005 season he had a disc problem in his back. He tried to get through that by rehabbing. It did not work out for him. He had surgery in March 2006, and because of that could not do much. So he could not train in the summer of 2005 because he had a bad back and could not train again in the summer of 2006 because he was coming off surgery.

"So this season he had to work his way back into the lineup (for Sault Ste. Marie). He was at the bottom of eight or nine defensemen, but he worked his way into the top four by the end of this last season and will be in the top two or three next season."

Heinbuck paused, and not just to catch his breath.

"Look, he was the 10th overall pick a couple of years ago," Heinbuck said. "I had him in the back of my mind for the last two months. I was worried because he played really well in the playoffs. Thank goodness he was still there for us in the fifth round."

To be sure, Heinbuck was pleased with the results of his first draft with the Penguins -- and not just because he can foresee at least two of his selections one day playing in the NHL.

One of those players could prove to be second-round pick Keven Veilleux, a right-handed center/right wing who scored 20 goals for Victoriaville of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League this past season.

"He is just a raw kid that did not know how good he can be," Heinbuck said of Veilleux. "He has some real offensive tools -- great hands and some jump to his step."

The Penguins went for the big guys on the draft's second day. Veilleux is listed at 6-foot-4 and 202 pounds. Third-round choices Robert Bortuzzo, a right-handed defenseman, and Casey Pierro-Zabotel, a left-handed center, are 6-3/196 and 6-1/205, respectively. Two 6-2, 180-plus picks were snagged in the fourth round with left-handed left winger Luca Caputi and right-handed defenseman Alex Grant.

Even the Penguins' final pick, left-handed center Dustin Jeffrey (a teammate of Muzzin at Sault Ste. Marie), is 6-1 and 205 pounds.

"We never had discussions to actively go with a bigger guy, that is just the way it worked out," general manager Ray Shero said. "All things being equal we will go in that direction if we can."

Shero said this draft, his second with the Penguins, was about securing down-the-road depth for an organization that had seven former first-round picks on its roster this past season.

"I like the fact that when you look at our depth chart we now certainly have some players that will compete for jobs one day," Shero said.

Note: Beaver's C.J. Severyn was chosen in the seventh round with the 186th pick by Calgary. A product of the United States National Program, Severyn was one of 63 Americans selected, which represented the highest percentage of Americans (30) in draft history.

http://www.pittsburghlive.com/x/pitt.../s_514114.html
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Old 06-24-2007, 08:03 PM   #2525
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Rumors.........

I've just been told that Kovalev will either end up in Pittsburgh or Washington. The Edmonton Oilers have their sights set on Sergei Gonchar and Joni Pitkanen. Penguins are still not looking to trade Gonchar. Ryan Malone will be traded. MTL, COL, CLB, EDM and Nashville have jumped to the fore front as teams that have possible interest. Eric Christensen and Colby Armstrong could be moved to help the blue line. Jarkko Ruutu is a surprising name to pop up in the rumor mill this morning. Somehow he was linked to Chicago but don't think it has any legitimacy. The Penguins have no intentions of trading Laraque. Ryan Stone could be included into any deal as it looks like there is not a place for him on the roster. The Penguins and Ryan Whitney are in talks about a long term deal reports Rob Rossi.

Once again, these are just rumors, take them for what they are worth or don't take them at all.
I know it has to be coincidence, but every time I buy a particular player's shirt, they either leave for F/A or are traded - LOL!

I hope these are just rumors. We need Gonch on the PP and Ruutu for his ability to irritate an opponent enough to be sent to the sin bin.

Hey - does anyone know if our top draft pick is related to Phil and Tony Esposito?
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Old 06-24-2007, 08:07 PM   #2526
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I know it has to be coincidence, but every time I buy a particular player's shirt, they either leave for F/A or are traded - LOL!

I hope these are just rumors. We need Gonch on the PP and Ruutu for his ability to irritate an opponent enough to be sent to the sin bin.

Hey - does anyone know if our top draft pick is related to Phil and Tony Esposito?
To the best of my knowledge, no.
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Old 06-24-2007, 08:57 PM   #2527
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I know it has to be coincidence, but every time I buy a particular player's shirt, they either leave for F/A or are traded - LOL!

I hope these are just rumors. We need Gonch on the PP and Ruutu for his ability to irritate an opponent enough to be sent to the sin bin.

Hey - does anyone know if our top draft pick is related to Phil and Tony Esposito?
I seriously doubt that Gonchar and Ruutu will be traded - that was the first I'd heard either name mentioned in trade rumors. I'm not saying it can't happen, but I'd be shocked if they were. Unless they received a good, young D-man in return for Gonchar, they'd be weakening the very D corps they've made a priority to upgrade. The names that consistently pop up in trade talk are Ryan Malone and Brooks Orpik, and I suspect that one or both will be dealt at some point.

No, Angelo Esposito is not related to either Phil or Tony, though obviously it would be cool if he was!
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Old 06-24-2007, 09:04 PM   #2528
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I seriously doubt that Gonchar and Ruutu will be traded - that was the first I'd heard either name mentioned in trade rumors. I'm not saying it can't happen, but I'd be shocked if they were. Unless they received a good, young D-man in return for Gonchar, they'd be weakening the very D corps they've made a priority to upgrade. The names that consistently pop up in trade talk are Ryan Malone and Brooks Orpik, and I suspect that one or both will be dealt at some point.

No, Angelo Esposito is not related to either Phil or Tony, though obviously it would be cool if he was!
I'm having a feeling Orpik and Malone have better chances of geting traded then Sergei and Jarcho. Don't know why though.
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Old 06-24-2007, 11:02 PM   #2529
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NHL GMs: Esposito 'perfect' for Penguins
Monday, June 25, 2007

By Dave Molinari, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

Little more than a week earlier, Anaheim general manager Brian Burke had watched his team win the Stanley Cup.

Now, a full 18 picks into the NHL entry draft, he had an opportunity to claim a player touted as one of the most gifted in the Class of 2007. Who, less than 12 months earlier, had been a near-consensus choice as the top prospect available this year.

Angelo Esposito was sitting there, and there was nothing to prevent Burke from adding him to the Ducks' impressive collection of young talent.

Except that he liked a kid named Logan MacMillan more.

But he did not pass on Esposito, Burke said the next day, because he had any grave concerns about him, or worries about whether Esposito can develop into a significant contributor in the NHL.

"What we project as needs for us, he didn't fit the profile," Burke said. "We have a guy like that in our 1-hole at center in Andy McDonald, and we've drafted some other guys who are more like that."

The Penguins have some highly skilled young centers, too -- probably more than any other club, actually -- but that didn't dissuade them from taking Esposito at No. 20.

And it wasn't a terribly difficult decision. The Penguins were one of several teams that had him in their top 10 -- Tampa Bay GM Jay Feaster confirmed that the Lightning did, too -- and they started to develop a particularly keen interest after 14 or 15 clubs passed on Esposito.

"It was interesting to watch, to say the least," assistant GM Chuck Fletcher said.

So is the way Esposito, no worse than a top-three pick on most teams' lists last summer, skidded all the way past the middle of the opening round. Not that anyone could offer a cheap-and-easy explanation for the way his stock plunged.

"Sometimes, it's expectations," Fletcher said. "Sometimes, these kids are put on a pedestal at a young age and proclaimed to be this and that.

"After a while, you start looking for faults instead of for what they do well. The more you see a young player, the more you pick him apart. All these players have faults."

In Esposito's case, scouts from other clubs, speaking on condition of anonymity, cited several perceived flaws: That his passion and intensity are sporadic. That he doesn't always work effectively with his linemates (although all acknowledged how well he meshed with Alexander Radulov, his junior teammate in Quebec). That the skating so often cited as one of his greatest strengths actually is overrated.

GMs disputed that Esposito's intangibles are an issue -- "No one ever questioned those things with us," Burke said -- but it seems to be almost universally accepted that he would prefer to not have the pressure of being his team's go-to guy.

With young, high-profile teammates such as Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin and Jordan Staal, that shouldn't be a factor with the Penguins.

"We don't need him to come in and be a franchise player," Fletcher said. "We just need him to come in and be a hockey player. So I think it's a very good fit for him."

That the Penguins would stake out such a position isn't surprising, but their perspective seems to be a pretty common one around the league.

"It might be a perfect situation for him," New Jersey GM Lou Lamoriello said. "There's nothing wrong with that. As long as you've got that innate desire and that confidence -- and he's got that -- he's fine.

"He's a good pick, especially with Pittsburgh's talent situation. He really is."

"I think it's a great value pick," Feaster said. "I really do, just from where he was on our own list. You know what? I have to believe that when he gets in there and he's playing with Sid and Malkin, he's going to make great music with those guys."

Esposito's point total fell from 98 in 2005-06, when his junior team in Quebec won the Memorial Cup, to 79 last season, after the Remparts graduated a number of key players, including Radulov.

"He dropped off a little in production, but the God-given talent and speed and size that made him successful last year are still there," Fletcher said.

Couple that skill level with the Penguins' personnel situation, Lamoriello said, and Esposito should thrive.

"He has talent, God-given talent," he said. "Certain things, you can't teach. With the people he's going to be surrounded with, with the character young kids you have there, it's just going to pull him in."

If so, Penguins GM Ray Shero might eventually be credited with one of the most shrewd draft choices in franchise history.

"You have to be good and you have to be lucky in this business," Nashville GM David Poile said. "And Ray's got both going right now."

http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/07176/796919-61.stm
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Old 06-25-2007, 09:34 AM   #2530
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Default Re: Pens Tidbits

Video clips of draft day interviews with a few of our picks.....

Esposito: http://mfile.akamai.com/33433/wmv/nh..._2007_700k.wmv

Veilleux: http://mfile.akamai.com/33433/wmv/nh...xpress700k.wmv

Casey Pierro-Zabotel: http://mfile.akamai.com/33433/wmv/nh...lpress700k.wmv
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