The countdown the 2023 NHL Draft is ticking down with the first round scheduled to begin just five days from now in Nashville. As of this writing, the Pittsburgh Penguins hold the 14th pick in the first round, though whether that is still the case when draft night comes remains to be seen.
Although the Penguins will not have a shot at the consensus top prospect Connor Bedard, this year’s draft is exceptionally deep, and the Penguins are still in prime position to draft a high end prospect if they hold onto the pick.
Recent mock drafts have the Penguins picking any number of players who may be available when they are on the clock. Corey Pronman at The Athletic has them taking Zach Benson, our own Hooks Orpik along with Bleacher Report went with Matthew Wood, and NHL.com experts predicted either Wood or Nate Danielson.
Regardless of who the Penguins select at No. 14, that player will be a huge boost to the Penguins prospect pool and in all likelihood become their top prospect the second his name is announced. All three of the players mentioned above rank in the Top 10 of North American skaters in this draft class. An instant building piece for the future.
On the flip side, there is a very real possibility Kyle Dubas decides to shop the 14th overall pick in exchange for immediate help. With the depth of this draft, that first round pick carries a high value and could help bring a big return that helps the Penguins compete next season though at the cost of delaying future success.
There are plenty of needs on this roster that need filled before next season, and with a weak free agent class, the easiest way to do that is through a trade. Dubas doesn’t have many assets in the system to work with, making this first round pick the most enticing piece for any team willing to talk a trade. If there is a trade to be made then parting with this pick may be the only way to get it done.
In any case, Dubas has a little over five days to decide how to proceed with the pick. Does he start building for the future now or put those plans on hold to bring in immediate help to put the Penguins back on the path to contention?
We will find out soon enough as the offseason action is about to heat up in a big way.
If you were Kyle Dubas, what would you do with the Penguins first round pick?
This poll is closed
Keep it and build for the future?
Trade it away for immediate help?