- 3rd round: 77th overall
- 4th round: 108th
- 5th round: 139th
- 6th round: 170th
There’s also a minor note to remember that there will also be no 49th overall selection this year. Arizona had to forfeit that as a result of a penalty levied to them by the NHL due to a rules violation of previous pre-draft testing. So, really, the Pens get to select the 76th player of the draft (and indeed that will hold for the rest of their picks as well).
There is always the possibility Pittsburgh could add to this, as the draft tends to be a big trading showcase for the league. Matt Murray is on the block and a prime candidate to be moved, perhaps even for a 1st or 2nd round draft pick.
On the surface, a draft pick doesn’t mean much for at team like the Pens who have figuratively already burned the boats by trading all their first round picks from 2015-21 (save 2019). But second round picks have been valuable currency to add in trades, especially 2018 second rounder Calen Addison who improved his stock as a prospect with solid seasons in the WHL and on Team Canada’s World Junior gold medal team to become a piece of the trade that brought Jason Zucker to Pittsburgh.
As luck would have it, Corey Pronman from The Athletic released his final pre-draft rankings today. Pronman had Cross Hanas, a winger from the WHL listed as his 76th overall prospect saying:
Hanas is a very talented player who is a bit of a divisive player among scouts. He didn’t have the best statistical season, but he played on a deep Portland team and was often on the second power play. I like him because he has high-end skill and high-end offensive intelligence. His ability to beat defenders with creative plays is clearly NHL quality. He made some of the most skilled plays I saw from anyone in the class this season. Hanas can get too fancy at times, but I like that he tries to make things happen. He sees the ice very well, running the half-wall effectively on the man advantage and making some very creative passes. His warts are average footspeed and compete levels. He’s just OK off the puck and won’t be a guy you want in a tough defensive situation. I would bet on him due to his skill and work on the rest.
Pat Ferschweiler, coach of USA Hlinka Gretzky U18 team, on Hanas: “He’s got a dangerous offensive stick. He has the shot to put it in the net and he can make a play to a teammate. He’s a competitor.”
TSN’s Bob McKenzie has winger Antonio Stranges from London of the OHL listed as his 76th overall prospects through his blended rankings of several scouts.
Our SBN blog All About the Jersey had the following scouting report on Stranges:
Stranges is on the smaller side, listed at 5’-10” and 170 pounds, though his game of speed, agility, and a great shot doesn’t necessarily require size as a prerequisite. He is a bit of a tough prospect to figure, as his offensive skills come highly touted by a lot of reports on him but that hasn’t quite translated to the score sheet. He is a highlight machine, but his 40 points in 61 OHL games as a forward slots him into a range more akin to the middle rounds. He was getting some serious first round buzz as recently as the first half of this season and still sits in the top 31 for a couple of scouting services, but his stock has slid significantly on the heels of a disappointing stretch run
Third round draft picks don’t always pan out, players like Hanas and Stranges have some deficiencies in their game right now which is why they are unlikely to be first or second round picks. Sometimes players like Jake Guentzel and Brayden Point can overcome their perceived weaknesses on draft day and still have excellent NHL careers. Sometimes these prospects don’t put it together and make no impact. It’s a risk that comes with the territory of picking in the third round.
Either way, at 77th overall, the Pens will have an opportunity to add something of a risky but potentially high-upside prospect. They don’t have a lot of prospect depth or skill in the organization at really any position, so they should be in a position to sit back and just take the player they like the most at the time they’re on the board.
The interesting aspect for Pens’ fans monitoring the draft will be to see if any other shoes drop via trades to see if they can add a pick they don’t currently have. Either way, the 2020 NHL entry draft is unlikely to be a high-profile or satisfying event, but with a little luck and scouting skill, Pittsburgh might find some players for years down the road.