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Past Pensburgh performance in mock drafts

We turn the microscope on ourselves for results of previous drafts

NHL: DEC 04 Penguins at Canucks Photo by Derek Cain/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Our pick in the 2022 SB Nation Hockey mock draft is coming up this morning at 10:00 (get hype!!) so what better time to look back on the prior year fake drafts? Usually the performance and critiques around here are reserved for the real people making decisions, but now we turn the critical eye to our own work. Now using the benefit of time and hindsight it’s not as easy as it looks!

Prior Mock Draft results

Year Pick # Pensburgh mock pick Penguins actual pick Hindsight we missed Hindsight the real Pens missed Pensburgh Grade
Year Pick # Pensburgh mock pick Penguins actual pick Hindsight we missed Hindsight the real Pens missed Pensburgh Grade
2010 20th John McFarland Beau Bennett Kuznetsov, Toffoli, B. Nelson Kuznetsov, Nelson, Hayes F
2011 23rd Rocco Grimaldi Joe Morrow Brodin, Saad Saad, Danault, Rakell C-
2012 22nd Slater Koekkoek Olli Maatta Wilson, Lindholm Skjei D
2013 no pick n/a
2014 22nd Nikita Scherbak Kasperi Kapanen Kapanen, McCann, Pastrnak Pastrnak D-
2015 no pick n/a
2016 no pick n/a
2017 23rd* Cal Foote traded Thomas everyone C
2018 no pick n/a
2019 21st Nils Hoglander Sam Poulin Suzuki, Knight Tomasino, McMichael A
2020 15th Connor Zary traded too soon
2021 no pick n/a

The main thing that should stick out is the sheer number of missing picks. Feeding the furnace of a contending team has taken its toll when it comes to Pittsburgh’s prospect pool. As is pretty evident from looking at the state of the pool these days.

From the above, the point of pride would be seeing the hit on the 2019 mock draft. We got Nils Hoglander for the hope of a quick turn into an NHL contributor, and that is exactly what has happened. Hoglander has already completed two NHL seasons, and while he had a bit of a sophomore slump last season, his 116 NHL games and 45 points are exactly 116 and 45 more than Pittsburgh’s actual pick, Sam Poulin.

Another pick that is looking good is Cal Foote. We traded up in our mock draft from 31 to 23 to get the defender who slid in the fake draft — but didn’t in the real draft going 14th overall in reality to Tampa. Foote, 23, hasn’t quite graduated to full-time NHL status, but he is getting close and the arrow is starting to point up, having played in 13 games in the Lightning’s latest run.

There have been other zaniness along the way involving trades. The Pens traded that 2017 pick we used to get Foote on draft night. The pick in 2020 was also traded (to Toronto for Kasperi Kapanen) in between when we made a mock pick and when Pittsburgh cashed it in for an NHL player.

As an aside, for all the disappointment and frustration that Kapanen has brought, he still was an NHL player for the Pens for the last two years and scored 62 total points along the way. It’s worth remembering and pointing out that would be currently 62 points more NHL than our mock pick (Connor Zary) as well as 62 more points than the player that the Maple Leafs used it on so far (Rodion Amirov). Which might go well to emphasize and reiterate that a sure fire NHL player is often worth more than the future of an unknown prospect.

With the benefit of hindsight, of course, no one bats 1.000. In most drafts it is almost impossible on the day of the draft to actually identify just who the David Pastrnak is, and who the Nikita Scherbak is, when trying for the same end result back in 2014. We don’t pretend to be full-time scouts or completely knowledgeable, but hey, even Pasta fell to 25th overall in the real world.

Now that enough years and data have gone by, we at least have an interesting developing history to look back on. Some decisions were good, some missed the mark — this drafting stuff is pretty challenging. Can’t run from past decisions or ideas that have missed the mark, gotta own them and move along, hopefully for better results in the future.

In a few hours today our mock 2022 entry will be added to the list. We’re excited and hopeful it will end up yielding a fictional positive result, but it would be nice if the real Penguins could follow suit.

You can track all the picks in the 2022 mock draft that have been made so far right here.