The Penguins surprised some observers Friday by selecting a defenseman, Joe Morrow, with the No. 23 overall pick in the 2011 NHL Draft, despite an obvious organizational need for wingers. In fact, the Pens took Morrow even though a good local winger, Brandon Saad, was still on the board. But Penguins GM Ray Shero said that, ultimately, he had to trust his scouts.
"He's a very strong player, real solid on his feet. He should be a good two-way defenseman for us.
"We looked at maybe some opportunities to trade down a little bit, but, as long as he was still there, that's the guy our [scouts] didn't want to take a chance on passing on."
This shouldn't have been much of a surprise. One doesn't draft for need in the first round of the NHL Draft, where it might be several years before a player at all. Instead, the best strategy is to select the best player available, only use position as a tiebreaker (which is essentially what the Penguins said they would do), and use surpluses in one position to make trades in areas of need.
The second through seventh rounds of the NHL Draft will take place on Saturday.