T.J. Oshie, Claude Giroux, Semyon Varlamov, Max Pacioretty, Jordan Eberle....What do they all have in common?
If a team was picking 22nd in the draft in the past few years, they could have selected any other these players in their draft year.
The Penguins stand to pick 22nd tonight, so let's look back over the past couple years and see who they could be trying to sort through.
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Of course, drafting is an inexact science, otherwise a lot of the guys on this list would have been taken in the first half of the first round. The key is identifying who is the Pacioretty and who is the Patrick White (bust). Who is the Oshie and who is the less effective and valuable Matt Lashoff. Which one could be the Giroux and which one is Dennis Persson.
That will be the challenge for Ray Shero and his scouts, just as it is for every team picking outside of the top 5-10 picks.
Still, it's a good sign that for the range the Penguins are in, they could be able to get an NHL contributor from the 22nd pick if they can idenitify and develop the right pick. That makes it sound very simple, and it's certainly not, but hey, that's why they're the professionals.