Move over Steelers, the Penguins are the new defensive powerhouse in Pittsburgh

PITTSBURGH, PA - JUNE 22: Derrick Pouliot (C), eighth overall pick by the Pittsburgh Penguins, poses with team co-owner Mario Lemieux (2nd R) and other team representatives on stage during Round One of the 2012 NHL Entry Draft at Consol Energy Center on June 22, 2012 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
Simon Despres. Joe Morrow. Scott Harrington. The Pittsburgh Penguins already had some elite, blue-chip defensive prospects. And that doesn't even count guys like Brian Strait, Robert Bortuzzo, Philip Samuelsson, Carl Sneep who are in the professional system. And young Nick D'Agostino, who is a rising prospect in the college ranks.

All this before Pittsburgh hosted the 2012 NHL draft and beefed up even further. First they traded Jordan Staal for 6'4, 210 pound shutdown college prospect Brian Dumoulin (who's turning pro this year). And they also got the pick who became Derrick Pouliot, the defensive partner of Morrow.

Then, with the Pens regular pick at 22nd overall, selected Finnish defenseman Olli Maatta (a teammate of Harrington's in London of the OHL). Maatta, on most boards, was ranked even higher than Pouliot, but now they are professional teammates.

All of this young talent, and we haven't even mentioned anyone on the professional roster, like 24 year old Kris Letang, who's best years are still in front of him. The Penguins are very well positioned defensively to support Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin and James Neal in the coming years.

And, as we've seen, you can trade a guy like Alex Goligoski to get Neal and Matt Niskanen. Ray Shero also traded Ryan Whitney to get Chris Kunitz and Eric Tangradi. If you have to have one position, it's best to have defensemen.

And right now, you'd be hard-pressed to find any organization with more talent, depth and promise than what Pittsburgh boasts right now.



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