The past few weeks have been eventful in the NHL. There was the expansion draft, blockbuster trades and on Friday and Saturday was the 2021 entry draft. Seeing as how the Pittsburgh Penguins’ prospect pool is on the weaker side of things. Because of this, this year’s draft was incredibly important for them. So, who were the main draft picks for the Penguins and did they do good?
Considering the fact that Pittsburgh’s first pick in the draft was 58th overall, the scouts hopefully did their job adequately. When the organization selected Tristan Broz, it was clear the scouts did. Broz is a left-handed forward who plays left wing. However, he primarily played center when he was growing up, so the odds of him transitioning back into a center role are pretty good.
What really shines about Broz’s game is his playmaking ability. In an interview, Broz said that his creativity definitely aids in his ability to dish the puck to his teammates. He also said that his stickhandling ability is one of his main assets. His play style will be incredibly helpful for the Penguins as most of the prospects in their organization, like Nathan Legare and Samuel Poulin, tend to rip shots on net more than anything.
When will he be making his NHL debut? It’s very hard to say right now, but Broz was ranked No. 28 among all North American skaters. This means that a ton of scouts saw the potential that he has. Odds are he will play four years in the NCAA with the University of Minnesota. After that, Broz hopefully has the skills and the confidence necessary to blossom into a star in the NHL.
It never hurts to gather some more defensemen in your prospect pool. In the case of Isaac Belliveau, the Penguins secured a solid one. His style of play is more offensive inclined, so he could be a future Kris Letang for the organization. Like Broz, Belliveau has great hands that he likes to use for setting up teammates and create scoring opportunities.
Of course, there is some room for improvement. Scouts noticed that he doesn’t play as physical as he probably should, in regard to his size. The kid is 6-foot 2 and 185 lbs. The fact that he isn’t throwing the body around more often is shocking. Nevertheless, with a little weight training and a lot of developing, this kid could become a top prospect for the Penguins.
Now, Kirill Tankov may have been selected 218th overall, but that doesn’t mean he doesn’t have potential. Tankov spent last season in Russia’s MHL, or Molodyozhnaya Hokkeinaya Liga. The MHL is the country’s top junior league, and to say that Tankov improved this past season would be an understatement. He put up 19 goals and 25 assists in a total of 60 games.
Pittsburgh’s director of player personnel Chris Pryor is really excited about Tankov. Pryor said that Tankov has a great skill set and that his ability to play center alone means that he is quite valuable to the Penguins. Then there’s also the upside of the kid playing in Russia. Seeing as the leagues there are incredibly competitive, it can get Tankov in the right mindset for the NHL.
This year’s draft was important for the Penguins to expand their draft pool, and they succeeded in their goal. Broz alone would’ve been good enough for the Penguins, and they still expanded upon their defensive pool as well. It’ll be exciting to see how these guys develop, and it will be even more exciting to see them in the NHL one day.
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