2011 NHL Draft: Penguins Pick Defenseman Joe Morrow

This year's NHL Draft will feature lots of local talent.

  • Live
22 Total Updates since June 15, 2011
  • Important 2
  • Updates 22
  • All Updates 22

2011 NHL Draft: Penguins Select Defenseman Joe Morrow

Amongst a flurry of trades in the 2011 NHL draft, the Pittsburgh Penguins elected to hold tight with their No. 23 pick and select defenseman Joe Morrow.

Morrow, from the Western Hockey League, has good size, is an excellent skater and could develop into a puck-moving NHL defenseman. In this wide-open draft, he was ranked by most services in this area, but the Pens did pass up forwards like Brandon Saad (Gibsonia), Nicklas Jensen, Matt Puempel and Ty Rattie.

When many thought the Pens might draft a forward, Ray Shero listened to his scouts and took the defenseman in Morrow. Shero’s earlier management job, as an assistant in Nashville, saw the Predators take many defensemen, like Dan Hamhuis, Ryan Suter, Shea Weber, Ryan Parent and Kevin Klein, early on in the draft.

Chosing Morrow goes in that mold, several goal-scoring forwards were on the board but the Pens went a different route. Morrow will need a few years of development, but his addition to the Pens puts one more blue-chip prospect to the team’s portfolio.

As we’ve seen with Ryan Whitney and Alex Goligoski, the Pens aren’t afraid to trade good defensemen for forwards, so the idea to draft the best player available always works out at the NHL level. Now it’s just a matter of time to see how Morrow develops.

Continue

2011 NHL Mock Draft

Just hours before the 2011 NHL Entry Draft, a look at how it might shake out.  This draft is considered more wide-open than usual, so the accuracy of this list as we go on could be comical by the end of the night.

Regardless, we see three players with Pittsburgh ties hearing their names called tonight?  Whom could they be and where are possible locations? On to the draft!

1. Edmonton Oilers - Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, C (WHL)

"RNH" is the most dynamic offensive prospect in the draft. He's got elite puck skills and will be a great compliment to last year's first overall pick in Taylor Hall. Nugent-Hopkins still needs to fill out from his 163 pound frame and add muscle to be an impact player in the NHL, but his vision and playmaking ability make him the pick at #1.

2. Colorado Avalanche - Jonathan Huberdeau, C/W (QMJHL)

Colorado adds Huberdeau, the best player in juniors from the best team. Huberdeau is a riskier pick than some other options, but he also offers a higher ceiling with his ability. He's a smooth skating, skilled forward that probably projects as a winger in the NHL. Add him to Matt Duchene's line and the Avs have the making of a tremendous young core to build around.

3. Florida Panthers- Gabriel Landeskog, W (OHL)

Landeskog is the most physically ready prospect in the draft to play in the NHL next season. Florida can use that, but they can also use the character, work ethic and energy that Landeskog can immediately add.

4 New Jersey Devils- Adam Larsson, D, (Sweden)

A dream scenario for the Devils- they won the draft lottery to move up to this position, and the prospect they wanted falls to them. Larsson has NHL size and already played (and played well) in the top professional men's league in Sweden as a 17 year old. With a good mix of hockey sense and all-around game, he'll be a mainstay in the NHL for years.

5 New York Islanders- Sean Couturier, C (QMJHL)

The Islanders continue to add to their forward prospect pool with the best two-way player in the draft. Couturier has been compared in some circles to a Jordan Staal type of player with his size, reach and positioning. If his offensive abilities can progress, Couturier could be a special player, but at worst he will be a solid and reliable contributor.

6 Ottawa Senators- Ryan Strome, C (OHL)

Strome's stock has risen all year with a great season- he and Nugent-Hopkins tied for the most points (106) scored by any draft eligible player. Strome is a great playmaker and has terrific hands. Ottawa can use the skill infusion.

7 Winnipeg Jets- Dougie Hamilton, D (OHL)

Winnipeg is back in the NHL and are likely to announce they've brought back the Jets nickname tonight. That'll be the big story, overshadowing the pick of a very solid two-way defenseman who may have the highest ceiling for any defenseman in the draft.

8 Philadelphia Flyers- Mika Zibanejad, C (QMJHL)

Zibanejad is a center with good size, great two-way abilities and scoring touch. Which sounds pretty similar to an unpolished, younger Jeff Carter, the player the Flyers traded yesterday to get this pick.

9 Boston Bruins- Ryan Murphy, D (OHL)

The rich get richer: the defending Stanley Cup champs add an elite puck-moving defenseman in Ryan Murphy. The B's got this pick in the trade with Toronto for Phil Kessel and adding Murphy plugs one of the few holes they have in their organizational depth chart. Murphy is an excellent skater and racks up points, he'll have to add some strength to compete defensively in the NHL.

10 Minnesota Wild- Mark Scheifele, C (OHL)

The host city uses their first round pick to added a skilled center. The Wild need a big, skilled center and Scheifele provides just that. He'll have to work on his skating and develop further, but his hands and potential justify the pick.

11 Colorado Avalanche- Duncan Siemens, D (WHL)

With their second pick of the night, the Avs go to defense. Siemens is a big, tough, physical defenseman with some offensive upside, and at #11 Colorado's happy he's still on the board.

12 Carolina Hurricanes- Sven Bartschi, W (WHL)

Bartschi, at 5'10, isn't big, but he certainly is a fast skater and offensive dynamo. At this point in the draft he's got one of the highest offensive ceilings and skill sets.

13 Calgary Flames- Mark McNeill, C (WHL)

The Flames have a weak prospect pool, so they jump at the chance to add a big center with offensive potential. McNeill has a lot of strength and his high-end ceiling has been compared to that of a Ryan Kesler player.

14 Dallas Stars- Jamieson Oleksiak, D (Northeastern)

At 6'7, 245 pounds, Oleksiak has drawn natural comparisions to Tyler Myers or Zdeno Chara. Don't expect the big guy to last long in the draft.

15 New York Rangers- Joel Armia, W (Finland)

High offensive upside for this winger, but knocks on his consistency.

16 Buffalo Sabres- Nathan Beaulieu, D (QMJHL)

Beaulieu is a great puck moving defenseman, a commodity for NHL teams always seeking smooth skaters that can distribute the puck and run a power play.

17 Montreal Canadiens- Matt Puempel, W (OHL)

The Habs add a goal scoring winger and aren't concerned about a hip injury.

18 Chicago Blackhawks- JT Miller, C (North Dakota)

A great two-way center with a good motor that's headed to North Dakota? To the Hawks, that sounds a lot like Jonathan Toews. Miller doesn't figure to end up with that elite of a ceiling, but his future is still bright, and he is the first prospect with Pittsburgh roots to hear his name called.

19 Edmonton Oilers- Jonas Brodin, D (Sweden)

Smooth skating, good size and hockey sense- sounds like the classic Swedish defenseman.

20 Phoenix Coyotes- Nicklas Jensen, W (OHL)

Jensen has ideal size, is a great skater and has excellent hands. He needs to develop some physically, but could be an impact player.

21 Ottawa Senators- Brandon Saad, W (OHL)

The Gibsonia native gets selected by Ottawa, who added Strome at #6 and hope Saad can join him one day on a top line in the NHL.

22 Anaheim Ducks Zach Phillips, C (QMJHL)

Phillips played a huge role in his team winning the Memorial Cup and is a high-end offensive players. His skating needs work.

23 Pittsburgh Penguins- Rocco Grimaldi, C (North Dakota)

The Penguins roll the dice on the smallest player in the draft. Grimaldi is a terrific skater, has great hands, excellent drive, but how will his 5'6, 165 pound frame translate in the NHL? That's the million dollar question, but the Pens are in a position to roll the dice and swing for the fences on the type of high-end skilled prospect that they don't currently have a lot of.

24 Detroit Red Wings- Oscar Klefbom, D, (Sweden)

Detroit loves how his stock has risen, another technically sound player that has time to develop as the ageless Nicklas Lidstrom keeps on playing.

25 Toronto Maple Leafs- Boone Jenner, C (OHL)

Boone Jenner is about the defintion of a Brian Burke player: big, tough, hard-working, skilled. This one's right up the Leaf GM's alley.

26 Washington Capitals- Scott Mayfield, D (USHL)

Size (6'4), skating ability, aggression, and puck control make Mayfield an intriguing prospect.

27 Tampa Bay Lightning- John Gibson, G (Michigan)

Tampa GM Steve Yzerman turns to the Pittsburgh native to add a badly needed goaltender prospect.

28 San Jose Sharks- Tomas Jurco, W (QMJHL)

The European player proved he could play in North America this season in the CHL and has skill to burn.

29 Vancouver Canucks- Joe Morrow, D (WHL)

A good puck-moving defenseman always helps an NHL team, Vancouver glad to add Morrow and let him develop for a few years.

30 Toronto Maple Leafs- Tyler Biggs, W (US National Development Team)

At 6'2 210, Biggs lives up to his name. He plays an aggressive game, again a Burke player. His scoring touch is a question- but he hits, he fights and he will make an impact in some way.

Continue
X
Log In Sign Up

forgot?
Log In Sign Up

Forgot password?

We'll email you a reset link.

If you signed up using a 3rd party account like Facebook or Twitter, please login with it instead.

Forgot password?

Try another email?

Almost done,

Join SB Nation Pittsburgh

You must be a member of SB Nation Pittsburgh to participate.

We have our own Community Guidelines at SB Nation Pittsburgh. You should read them.

Join SB Nation Pittsburgh

You must be a member of SB Nation Pittsburgh to participate.

We have our own Community Guidelines at SB Nation Pittsburgh. You should read them.

Spinner

Authenticating

Great!

Choose an available username to complete sign up.

In order to provide our users with a better overall experience, we ask for more information from Facebook when using it to login so that we can learn more about our audience and provide you with the best possible experience. We do not store specific user data and the sharing of it is not required to login with Facebook.