Being a Penguins fan, I knew all about the prospects a couple of seasons ago. But the past two years we've been treated to deep playoff runs in the spring, not learning the names and games of the next wave of NHL players. So it's tough to pick 30th overall, but one I hope that Frank has to do over and over again.
Really at this point the best idea is to pick the player you think is the best available. The Penguins could use more scoring wingers in their system and probably more physical defensemen. But who knows what the NHL roster will look like in 3, 4, 5 years, so you just pick the best player now and deal with it. It's always easier to deal a guy like Ryan Whitney for an area you need, since you have Sergei Gonchar, Kris Letang and Alex Goligoski instead of reaching for a forward that's not going to be as good.
We're not scouts but we thought one guy, at 30th overall, may be a little better than the others in James Mirtle's From the Rink mock draft of SB Nation bloggers.
And that's the WHL's Stefan Elliott. Elliott is a right-handed shooting offensive defenseman that is listed as 6'1, 180 pounds.
Here's the TSN.ca scouting report on Elliott:
Saskatoon head coach and GM Lorne Molleken: "Stefan Elliott's strengths include his skating ability, his snap shot and wrist shot, and his one-on-one defensive play. Stefan is a very intelligent player who uses his stick and body positioning to his advantage while in the defensive zone. He is not a physical player but his stick and body positioning make up for his lack in physical play. He possesses above average puck handling skills and can make a good first pass. Stefan is very good at quarterbacking a power play and his ability to read the play makes him an offensive threat."
In 71 games with Saskatoon Blades, Elliott posted 16 goals and 39 assists. Those 16 goals are already more than the single season high of another right-handed former Blade drafted at the end of the 1st round, Mike Green.
So getting a guy like Elliott, we feel, would be great for the Penguins prospect pool. Will it actually happens? Who knows. We'll leave that to the scouts that have actually seen the kids play and know what they're doing. But for pick 30, don't think many Pens fans will mind.