So with the Pens drafting philosophies being in focus the past few weeks I thought I'd take the liberty of identifying a couple CHL prospects worthy of our top 2 selections. Keep in mind these are players that are attainable based on current draft rankings and don't represent best talent available in 2014 draft.
Considering clamoring and massive need for legitimate forward depth I present:
Russian LW with experience on his off side, currently playing as an import after being a 2nd round pick in WHL draft. Although this seems to be a deep draft, Scherbak still stood out to these eyes simply because of his explosive speed, grit, legit skill and vision. View him as a bigger Kunitz type player but if he fills out could resemble a smaller Lucic but with better acceleration and speed but minus the fighting. Either way based on the current rankings I’m seeing he should be attainable.
Definitely the ideal winger for Geno and Real deal or Sid because of his willingness to muck it up on the boards to establish possession and long term can be replacement for Kuni in top 6. In my assessment, the worst case is he plays a 3rd line role but I view him as a top 6 player capable of excelling with high end centers. And it wouldn't hurt Geno to take on a Gonchar type role as mentor. Can see him being NHL ready a year or two after leaving juniors, maybe sooner.
Alexis Vanier: 6’5 225lbs Left Handed Dman. Do I need to continue?
Ok I will. Good skater considering his size and stage of development. Good defensive awareness and already knows how to use his size and reach. Considering his mobility and presence he would be a great addition to our system. Currently ranked and projected as a 3rd round pick. Since we traded away our 2nd round pick for "Crankshaft" and our 3rd round pick for Stempy it would be a coup for Shero to acquire additional picks to draft Vanier in the 3rd round. I’d be ok drafting Vanier in 2nd round as well just because I view him as an NHL stay at home dman who can make crisp passes and clear the front of net down the road.
And since Orpik and Nisky may be pricing themselves out of the Burgh I believe purchasing an insurance policy would be a prudent decision. With that in mind I hope Pens are seriously looking at signing Christian Folin from Umass-Lowell. Besides being 6'3 and highly mobile he's also good defensively, plays big minutes including PK, good passer and possesses a wicked hard slapper. You can see his shot on display in the 1st few seconds of the highlight of this article.
Swedish Shea Weber anyone? Going once, going twice...SOLD to hopefully the Pens!
Oh and while am at it, I’d take Ekblad over Reinhart 100 out of 100 times. Haven't seen Sam Bennett so can't comment on him and although I'm usually biased towards centers there is no way I take Reinhart over Ekblad. Last season I couldn't believe Seth Jones was ranked ahead of Mackinnon and Drouin after seeing memorial cup but this season, Ekblad, 6’4 216lbs is not only younger and bigger than Reinhart but controls the game as well as any dman I’ve seen at his age. I view Reinhart as a Spezza type center but Ekblad reminds me of Pietrangelo defensively with a big shot and elements of Letang because he can rush the puck too. No way I pass on Ekblad!
And as a unrelated side note: Why do I have a feeling Mr. Shero will want to trade up to get Julius Honka?