Sunday, June 24, 2007

2007 Draft Day Surprise

Wow! What a weekend! With the signing of Gary Roberts and Mark Recchi to secure them for another season and the absolute STEAL at the draft, it was indeed a great weekend to be a Pens fan. But still, the 2007 draft doesn't top this one:

(aaaahh... the good old days.)

Following this weekend's draft, Sid's got a slew of new teammates - and, yes friends, we got two RIGHT HANDED DEFENSEMEN (Bortuzzo and Grant). Beautiful. It also looks like the Penguins decided to add some beef to their roster. There are some BIG boys in this year's list of Pens picks. (Were they thinking of bigger size = better protection for Sid?)

The night's big news: Angelo Esposito is now a Penguin. Outstanding. Drafting this kid is like buying stock in Microsoft in the early 80's: he's a high risk to be sure, but expect HIGH RETURNS if things go well. He's got loads of talent and tons of potential. Only a few months ago, it was widely thought that he would be the first overall draft pick this year, but his stock fell dramatically amid accusations that he lacked the commitment and passion necessary to succeed in the NHL. Still, NO ONE thought he'd remain undrafted 19 choices in. (It was so unexpected that Ray Shero & company didn't even have a nameplate made for the jersey they presented to Esposito, even though he was one of the first picks on the Pens' wishlist!) I think Espo will be a great addition to the Penguins. Being around Sid, Gary Roberts, Jordan Staal, Evgeni Malkin, et al. should help him rekindle his love of the game, if he's actually lost it.

Anyhoo, here's the scoop from the entire affair (which was already broken down nicely by the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette):

  • Angelo Esposito, a 6-1, 180-pound center from Montreal (Quebec Major Junior Hockey League).
  • Keven Veilleux, a 6-foot-4, 202-pound center from Victoriaville (QMJHL).
  • Robert Bortuzzo, a 6-3, 196-pound defenseman from Kitchener (Ontario Hockey League).
  • Casey Pierro-Zabotel, a 6-1 205-pound center from Merritt (British Columbia Junior Hockey League).
  • Luca Caputi, a 6-2, 184-pound left winger from Mississauga (OHL).
  • Alex Grant, a 6-2, 185-pound defenseman from Saint John (QMJHL).
  • Jake Muzzin, a 6-2, 206-pound defenseman from Sault Ste. Marie (OHL).
  • Dustin Jeffrey, a 6-1, 205-pound center from Sault Ste. Marie (OHL).
Finally, Chris Thorburn was traded to the Atlanta Thrashers for a 3rd round draft pick. It's not an earth shattering announcement. He was neither terrible nor notable during his time with the Pens. It will be sad to see him go, but only because he was a member of the club that made this season so magical. If it matters, I wish him well in Atlanta... Not "a-Stanley-Cup-Winning-Season well", but "well" nonetheless. ;)

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