NHL: Penguins draft goalie, trade Kennedy to Sharks
PITTSBURGH — The Pittsburgh Penguins made six picks while executing two trades during the 2013 NHL Draft Sunday.
Pittsburgh made its first choice midway through the second round, taking goalie Tristan Jarry with the 44th overall pick.
“We really like this goaltender,” Penguins general manager Ray Shero said. “Our guys had him rated very high, so that’s the direction we wanted to go.”
Jarry went 18-7 with a 1.61 goals-against average and a .936 save percentage for the Edmonton Oil Kings of the Western Hockey League this season. The 6-foot-1, 180-pound netminder backed up Laurent Brossoit the past two seasons.
The 18-year-old from British Columbia impressed during the Top Prospects Game, stopping all 16 shots faced.
“It’s a great feeling,” Jarry said. “I can’t even explain how I feel right now. It’s a great accomplishment.”
The 44th overall pick was acquired from the Columbus Blue Jackets in exchange for the 50th — which was gained earlier in the day in a trade sending forward Tyler Kennedy to the San Jose Sharks — and the 89th.
Pittsburgh’s draft picks were limited due to its trade-deadline acquisitions of Jarome Iginla and Douglas Murray. The Penguins’ first-round (28th overall) and second-round (58th overall) picks went to the Calgary Flames and San Jose Sharks, respectively.
The Penguins made their next choice 33 picks later, choosing center Jake Guentzel from the Sioux City Musketeers of the United States Hockey League at No. 77. Guentzel (5-foot-9, 155 pounds) was named the USHL Rookie of the Year, finishing with 73 points in 60 games. The 19-year-old, committed to the University of Nebraska-Omaha, ended the season on a 21-game point streak.
“I had an interview with (the Penguins) yesterday and they seemed kind of interested,” Guentzel said. “So, I’m just glad to be a part of the organization now. I’m more of a playmaking forward. I use my hockey sense to set up my teammates and I like to score.”
After taking 6-foot, 190-pound defenseman Ryan Segalla in the fourth round (119th overall), Pittsburgh made its last three picks over the final two rounds. Segalla had 10 goals and 18 points in 28 games for Connecticut’s Salisbury High, and will attend the University of Connecticut in the fall.
The Penguins chose another defenseman, Dane Birks from the Merritt Centennials of the British Columbia Hockey League, with their first of two sixth-round picks (164th overall) before drafting center Blaine Byron from the Smiths Falls Bears of the Central Canada Hockey League 15 picks later.
Pittsburgh finished its day by selecting center Troy Josephs from the St. Michaels Buzzers of the Ontario Junior Hockey League at 209 overall.
“The scouts are picking these guys,” Shero said. “A lot of these guys, you don’t really know that well anyway. There’s a lot of names, but hopefully we got some good assets for ourselves.”
Kennedy had six goals and five assists in 46 games last season and adds needed depth to the Sharks’ forward contingent. He also had two goals and three assists in nine playoff games.
But Kennedy was often a healthy scratch as the Penguins made it to the Eastern Conference final before being swept by Boston and got the sense from Shero after the season that he wasn’t in Pittsburgh’s plans.
“I thought I had a great playoff,” Kennedy said. “I’m kind of stumped. I’m really kind of lost why they didn’t want me more. I think I’m a great player.”
Kennedy has 76 goals and 92 assists in 372 career games with Pittsburgh. He also has 12 goals and 15 assists in 76 career playoff games, helping the Penguins win the Stanley Cup in 2009.
“I think I’m an energy guy,” Kennedy said. “I think I bring a lot of energy to the ice and I think I have a good skill set. I try to finish my checks when I can.”