The answer was 4th line forward Rob Klinkhammer and a 2015 first round pick. The pick is obviously the much more valuable asset- in a year where the depth of the players (led by presumptive top picks Connor McDavid and Jack Eichel) is said to be a very deep draft.
Since winning the Cup in 2009, the Pens pick has been # : 20, 23, 22, 28 and 22. Their pick in 2015 will be determined by playoff performance, but it's almost surely will be in the 22-30 range. Giving up that pick - and the risk that it could be a bust or slow developing player - was seen by most as probably a good idea for a team like the Penguins, who want to win now while Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin 's are still in their late 20's.
One of the biggest things for fans to discuss and debate about NHL general managers is their asset management and usage. Was Rutherford correct to part with his pick? Should he have tried to negotiate for Edmonton to take a prospect in order to keep his top pick in a good draft?
It's all up for debate. And, of course, there's another team in the transaction too. The Oilers, for all we know, may have insisted on the future pick rather than a young player. It's strange, but so is trading a good player like Perron in early January for a draft pick.
Anyways, the heart of the matter for me, and what I'm interested in is what the Pensburgh community thinks about the young assets. How do you favor the Pens 2015 1st round pick, compared to the organization's top prospects like Derrick Pouliot, Brian Dumoulin and Scott Harrington?
Dave Molinari from the Post-Gazette ranked that above trio #1, #3 and #4, respectively, in his annual listing of the team's top prospects (with forward Kasperi Kapanen sandwiched in at #2).
Molinari got assistant GM Jason Botterill to comment on Pouliot as:
"He worked very hard at his rehab with his shoulder [after offseason surgery]. He’s coming in there in the American Hockey League and immediately had an impact on the power play and has really done some amazing things from an offensive standpoint. Like most young defensemen, it’s a [matter] of just improving his defensive-zone play and being able to be a strong, reliable player at even-strength there. But he’s already displaying some of the things he did in junior. It’s impressive that he’s been able to jump in that quickly."
Of Dumoulin, Botterill said:
The most exciting thing for us about Brian’s game is how he’s performed in the [AHL] playoffs the last two years. He’s really elevated his game in those situations. When the pressure’s on — when he needs to be relied upon — that’s when he plays some of his best hockey. We’ve always been impressed with Brian’s puck-moving ability. We consider him a very smart player. He’s got size. He’s not going to be the most overly physical player, but he has excellent reach in the [defensive] zone."
And Botterill had the following to say about Harrington:
"With some of the depth on our defense, it wasn’t a situation where he could get into games right at the start of the season, but he’s been a very solid pro. Last year, he was a very consistent player for us in Wilkes-Barre. What he displayed in training camp is [that, with] the structure in the National Hockey League, he can fit in extremely well here. He’s not going to be a flashy, but … [killing penalties], being able to handle guys in one-on-one situations and then moving the puck up to our forwards, he can do all of those things."
Would you put any of those assets over a future 1st round pick?
Certainly Pouliot is much more valuable than a late first round pick- Pouliot was picked 8th overall in the 2012 draft and has lived up to his billing as a premiere, puck-moving defenseman.
Harrington and Dumoulin, however, are more interesting. Both of them were 2nd round picks (Dumoulin in 2009, Harrington in 2011) and both have improved their stocks as near NHL caliber defensemen. Both are known quantities and have bright futures. Their ETA is a lot closer than a future first round pick, that's for sure.
So, out of interest to see how the community feels, I pose the poll question and encourage you to debate in the comments: what, in your eyes is the least valuable commodity among Pouliot, Harrington, Dumoulin and a 2015 1st? Go ahead and rank all 4 in the comments too.