NHL Draft 2012 Grades: Penguins Big Winners

Matt Wagner of SB Nation gives Eastern Conference teams grades in the NHL Draft. (Here are his grades for the Western Conference.) The grades are pretty generous overall, with only one team (the Florida Panthers) getting below a C. But the Penguins are the only team in the Eastern Conference to get an A+.

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Was there a bigger winner at this draft than the host team? Opening a wide swath of cap space to help them pursue some of this summer's big name free agents thanks to his trades with Carolina and Phoenix, getting an excellent package for Jordan Staal, and adding some excellent defensive prospects in Olli Maatta and Derrick Pouliot, there's a reason Ray Shero was walking around with a huge grin all weekend. A+

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It seems like the more time Penguins fans have time to reflect on the Penguins' rather jarring collection of moves, the more they like them. For me, personally, the Staal trade looks better and better the more I think of it, and Olli Maatta looks like a great pick at No. 22. The one really questionable move was picking Derrick Pouliot at No. 8, and he's a player the Penguins got to watch a whole lot.

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For more on the Penguins, check out PensBurgh.

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