Holding Pattern: Penguins Retain 14th Overall Pick

Last night’s draft lottery went pretty much as expected across the board.

Heading into the lottery the Pittsburgh Penguins had the best odds to draw the 14th overall selection, and that’s where they ended up. Meanwhile the Chicago Blackhawks moved up two spots from third to first overall, and they will likely draft Connor Bedard and have the foundation for a great start to their rebuild. As for the Penguins’ Metropolitan Division rivals, Columbus dropped from second to third while Philadelphia and Washington also held firm at seventh and eighth, respectively.

With the draft lottery now out of the way, the Penguins will likely focus on completing their search to fill the vacant leadership roles in their player management department. Whether that means hiring a general manager alone or with a president of hockey operations, it seems highly unlikely that ownership would go into the entry draft itself (or the beginning of free agency on July 1) without having the person/people in place that will be steering the organization forward into the next season. (At least, I would be very surprised if the interim management committee consisting of director of hockey operations Alec Schall, Wilkes-Barre Scranton GM and manager of hockey operations Erik Heasley, hockey operations analyst Andy Saucier, and head coach Mike Sullivan would be the ones making these big sorts of roster decisions.)

There have been some rumors that the team would like to hire current Toronto Maple Leafs general manager Kyle Dubas, and depending on how the Maple Leafs fare in the playoffs he could be available sooner rather than later (if he doesn’t decide to stick with Toronto). It could be as soon as tomorrow that Toronto is eliminated from the playoffs, or it could be another week for the remainder of their second round series against Florida, or it could be even longer as the entry draft starts June 28, ten days after the latest date for the Game 7 of the Stanley Cup Finals. It seems wisest to bring in someone who can have enough time to fully appreciate Pittsburgh’s situation, so if they do prefer someone whose team is in the playoffs they may end up delaying their new hire(s) until it’s unreasonably close to the draft and the start of free agency.