(General view of the stage prior to the 2012 NHL Draft at CONSOL Energy Center. // Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports)

Pittsburgh Penguins Draft Roundup: The Experts Weigh In

By Larry Snyder

The 54th National Hockey League Entry Draft is Friday and Saturday, June 24-25, at the First Niagara Center in Buffalo, New York. The Pittsburgh Penguins have a total of five selections.

The first round begins at 7:00 p.m. Friday evening and will be seen on the NBC Sports Network. Pittsburgh’s first round pick was part of the deal that brought Phil Kessel over from the Toronto Maple Leafs. The second thru seventh rounds get underway at 10:00 a.m. Saturday on the NHL Network.

The Pens first pick is the 55th overall selection in the second round. It came from the Vancouver Canucks last summer in the deal that brought Nick Bonino to the City of Bridges. The Anaheim Ducks owned the choice before the Canucks.

The Penguins still have their own second-round choice which is the 61st overall. The breakdown of the remaining three selections are in the fourth – the 121st overall, the fifth – 151st overall, and the sixth – the 181st overall.

Josh Yohe tells us Friday at DKPittsburghSports.com (subscription service), the Calgary Flames may not yet be done trying tp pry Marc-Andre Fleury away from 1001 Fifth Avenue.

Barring any trades during the draft to acquire addition picks, here are what the experts are projecting as to whom the Black and Gold will take when they are on the clock.

According to Bill Placzek of DraftSite.com, Pittsburgh could take with the 55th pick, 18-year-old defenseman Luke Green from the Saint John Sea Dogs in the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League. Placzek has the Pens closing the second round by choosing right-wing Wade Allison from the Tri-City Storm in the United States Hockey League.

Chris Ransom at DraftUtopia.com forecasts goaltender Evan Fitzpatrick from the Sherbrooke Phoenix in the QMJHL going to the Black and Gold in the second round. Ransom likes center William Bitten from the Flint Firebirds of the Ontario Hockey League for the last selection by the Penguins to end the second.

FanSided’s Ryan Ritchie from TooManyMenOnTheSite.com speculates it will be center/right-wing Will Bitten at 55 from the Flint Firebirds of the Ontario Hockey League. Ritchie stirs the tea leaves to project the Pens taking defenseman Stepan Falkovsky from the Ottawa 67’s of the Ontario Hockey League with their final pick in the second.

Over at TheHockeyWriters.com, Larry Fisher predicts the Pens take center Jonathan Dahlen from Timra Div. II in Sweden with the 55th pick. With the 61st selection, Fisher envisions Pittsburgh taking defenseman Chad Krys from U.S. National Development Team in the USHL. The 5-foot-11, 183-pound ??

Steve Kournianos at TheDraftAnalyst.com has the Penguins strengthening their blue line crew with defenseman Filip Hronek from Mountfield HK, Extraliga, Czech Republic in the second round. Kournianos foresees the selection of defenseman Logan Stanley from the Windsor Spitfires of the OHL to wrap up the second.

The Bleacher Report‘s Allan Mitchell has goaltender Joseph Woll from the U.S. National Development Team in the USHL at 55 for Pittsburgh. He believes the Penguins go back to the USHL with the 61st pick and grab right-wing Wade Allison of the Tri-City Storm.

Somebody wake up the Toronto Maple Leafs table and tell them they are on the clock with the first pick overall.

From John Moore in February 2016 on YouTube – Mark Recchi on Pens Prospect Daniel Sprong, who was taken in the second round of 2015 NHL Entry Draft…

Oskar Sundqvist, Bryan Rust and Tom Kuhnhackl play on a line together for the Pittsburgh Penguins. Mandatory Credit: James Guillory-USA TODAY Sports

Pittsburgh Penguins Sign Porter, Reveal Preseason Schedule, And Open Regular Season Against The Caps

By Larry Snyder

With images of the parade still fresh in our minds, the Pittsburgh Penguins disclosed Monday morning they will start the 2016-2017 National Hockey League preseason with back-to-back road contests.

The first match-up is at Joe Louis Arena Tuesday, Sept. 27 against the Detroit Red Wings at 7:30 p.m., followed with a meeting against the Blackhawks Wednesday, Sept. 28 at 8:30 p.m. in Chicago.

The Black and Gold skate at 1001 Fifth Avenue for their first home preseason challenge Friday, Sept. 30 at 7:00 p.m. They will have another faceoff against the Boys of the Windy City, the Chicago Blackhawks.

Pittsburgh’s third and last road preseason contest is Sunday, Oct. 2 at Nationwide Arena in Columbus against Dalton Prout and the Blue Jackets. The first meeting of the Metropolitan Division combatants gets underway at 4 p.m.

Mike Sullivan’s crew is at Consol Energy Center for their second home preseason contest Wednesday, Oct. at 7:00 p.m. Their fifth overall preseason game is another clash with the Detroit Red Wings.

The Pens wrap up their preseason schedule with their sixth annual “Free Game for Kids” Monday, Oct. 8 at 4 :00 p.m. The 18,000-plus tickets for the afternoon match-up against the Columbus Blue Jackets go to local youth hockey teams and other youth organizations in the region.

The team announced preseason television and radio information will be released at a later date.

UPDATE 1: Pittsburgh begins the regular season in the City of Bridges Thursday, Oct. 13 against Metro Division rivals, the Washington Capitals. Alex Ovechkin and Company can witness the raising of the fourth Stanley Cup banner that night.

UPDATE 2: Josh Yohe at DKPittsburghSports.com (subscription service), wrote the defending Stanley Cup champions signed 30-year-old center Kevin Porter Monday to a one-year, two-way agreement for the 2016-2017 campaign.

The 5-foot-11, 191-pound forward broke his ankle in March. The native of Detroit, Michigan missed the rest of the regular season and the entire the Stanley Cup playoff run. His NHL level salary for next season will be about $575,000.

From The Clipboard: The off-season is moving right along with the NHL Awards Wednesday, June 22, at The Joint, the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino’s concert, and entertainment venue in Las Vegas. The host will be actor Will Arnett.

The NHL Draft is this weekend, Friday, June 24 and Saturday, June 25, at the First Niagara Center in Buffalo, New York. The Black and Gold have a total of five picks with two in the second round.

The TribLive On YouTube: Sights and sounds from the Pittsburgh Penguins’ 2016 Stanley Cup victory parade…

Marc-Andre Fleury must continue to be the backbone for this team to even have a chance. (Elsa/Getty Images)

Pittsburgh Penguins Roundup: Fleury, Malkin, NHL Draft, And More

By Larry Snyder

The Pittsburgh Penguins have barely cleaned up from their championship parade, and there is interest from the other teams in obtaining 31-year-old goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury.

Per Nicholas Goss of NESN.com and Eric Francis of the Calgary Sun, Flames’ general manager Brad Treliving has been in contact with Penguins’ general manager Jim Rutherford about a possible trade.

The problem for Calgary is the 6-foot-2, 180-pound goalie has a limited no-trade clause in his contract. The native of Sorel, Quebec has a list of 12 teams he will not go to in the National Hockey League. The lineup changes every year around the first of July. I have no doubt the Flames will find themselves in the top five this summer.

Some of the highlights from the Flower’s stay in the Burgh include 357 regular season career wins, 43 career shutouts during the regular season, 53 career victories in the playoffs, and helping the Black and Gold to hoist the Cup in 2009. The Pens selected Fleury No. 1 overall at the 2003 NHL Entry Draft in Nashville, Tennessee.

The future of Pittsburgh’s goaltending could come down to numbers. The salary cap hit for Fleury is $5,750,000 while Matt Murray’s deal is about $628,333.

The time has come to skate around the internet and see what the experts have said about the Penguins.

From Josh Yohe at DKPittsburghSports.com (subscription service), Evgeni Malkin could have Tommy John surgery on his left elbow. The 29-year-old center is having an MRI Friday. The 6-foot-3, 195-pound forward from Magnitogorsk, Russia sustained the injury Friday, March 11 in Columbus while being struck by Blue Jackets’ defenseman Dalton Prout.

Bill West of the Tribune-Review had this about Malkin on Twitter…

According to Wes Crosby at NHL.com, the Pens own a total of five picks at the 2016 NHL Entry Draft. Pittsburgh has two selections in the second round, followed by a single pick in the fourth, fifth, and sixth rounds. Their first round pick was part of the deal that brought Phil Kessel to the team from the Toronto Maple Leafs. The draft is June 24 and 25 at the First Niagara Center in Buffalo, New York.

Sam Kasan on the team’s website pointed out a few players on the Pens’ roster who are at the end of their contracts. The trio of defenseman Ben Lovejoy, goaltender Jeff Zatkoff and veteran center Matt Cullen are unrestricted free agents. Also on the UFA list is forwards Tom Sestito, Kevin Porter, and Kael Mouillierat. The duo of right-wing Beau Bennett and defenseman Justin Schultz are restricted free agents.

Dave Molinari of the Post-Gazette had this about the Black and Gold on Twitter…

Dave Stubbs of NHL.com spoke with Commissioner Gary Bettman Wednesday about honoring the enduring legacy of Gordie Howe, “We’re going to come up with something that’s an enduring testament to Gordie. There will be something that appropriately celebrates his life and creates a lasting tribute to his immortality. It will be something that will be special and enduring and permanent.”

A few have suggested retiring Howe’s No. 9 from the game forever, like Wayne Gretzky’s No. 99 was retired Sunday, Feb. 6, 2000 at the 50th NHL All-Star Game in Toronto. It has also been proposed all 30 NHL teams wear a No. 9 patch on their jerseys next season.

Looking Back at the Penguins and Sharks – Sunday, June 12th…

Crosby and the Penguins have some major issues to work through (Peter Diana/Pittsburgh Post-Gazette)

Pittsburgh Penguins Vs. San Jose Sharks Preview: SCF Game 6 Notes

The-Pens-Nation-Gameday-Report1

By Larry Snyder

The Pittsburgh Penguins, whose 46 shots in Game 5 was their most ever in a Stanley Cup Final contest, go after the championship against the San Jose Sharks this evening in the sixth meeting of the Stanley Cup Final. The battle for puck control at the SAP Center gets underway at 8:00 p.m.

Checking the box score from Thursday’s 4-2 loss, center Nick Bonino led the Black and Gold by winning 8-of-14 or 57 percent of his faceoffs. Ian Cole recorded the most blocked shots with two while Chris Kunitz collected the most hits with five. Carl Hagelin and Sidney Crosby claimed the most penalty minutes with two apiece. Patric Hornqvist led the Pens in shots with seven, followed by Evgeni Malkin and Hagelin with six each.

Malkin talked with Josh Yohe of DKPittsburghSports.com (subscription service) about moving on past Game 5 and winning the championship in California, “San Jose is a good team. But they got a little lucky. I think it’s coming.”

Micah Blake McCurdy of hockeyviz.com had this about the Stanly Cup playoffs on Twitter…

From the Twitter account of TempoFreeHockey on the Penguins…

From their victory Thursday, Sharks center Joe Thornton took 5-of-9 to claim 56 percent of his faceoffs. Five different San Jose players put up three hits each. Meanwhile, six different Sharks recorded the most blocked shots with two apiece. Center Logan Couture listed the most shots with five while center Joe Pavelski was only one behind with four.

Center Tommy Wingels spoke with Eric Gilmore of NHL.com about tonight’s Game 6, “You get the matchups you want, you can feel the energy in the building,” Wingels said. “We just got to find a way to limit their offense. We’re giving up too many easy shots. That’s something we can fix, something we’ve talked about, changing a little bit, and we intend to do that. Break out better, play in the [offensive] zone better. It’s all your clichés; don’t turn pucks over. It’s a whole bunch of things. We’ll get back to that and we’ll be fine.”

Here is your Game Day file rundown:

When: Sunday, June 12

Puck Drop: 8:00 p.m. ET

Site: SAP Center at San Jose

Television: NBC Network / WPXI-TV 11

Radio Coverage: 105.9 FM – The X

Announcers: Mike Lange and Phil Bourque

Audio Stream: Penguins Radio 24/7

Live (Pay) Video Steam: NHL GameCenter LIVE

Sirius XM Satellite Radio: XM Channel 219, XM Internet 942

Penguins Social Media – Twitter/Facebook: @penguins / Pittsburgh Penguins

Pittsburgh Penguins Apps: iPhone/iPod Touch Users / Android / Blackberry

Odds: The ice makers at the Top Bet, 5-Dimes, My Bookie, and Bovada online sportsbooks, have the Pens at +1.5 and the over/under for this evening’s skate at five. Bettors who march with the Penguins have seen the total go under in five of their squad’s last six match-ups.

My Prediction: Mike Sullivan’s team will keep everyone on the edge of the seats with a 2-1 victory on the road to bring Lord Stanley back to the City of Bridges.

Next Up: Pittsburgh and San Jose come back to the Keystone State, if necessary, Wednesday, June 15 for the seventh and last contest of the Stanley Cup Final. The confrontation to hoist the Cup begins at 8:00 p.m. You can see who wins every faceoff at CONSOL Energy Center on NBC.

Looking Back at the Penguins and Sharks – Thursday, June 9th…

Has Phil Kessel really disappointed this season? (Gene Puskar/AP)

Pittsburgh Penguins Vs. San Jose Sharks Preview: SCF Game 5 Notes

The-Pens-Nation-Gameday-Report1

By Larry Snyder

The Pittsburgh Penguins, who tied the franchise record with nine postseason home victories in these playoffs, seek to claim the championship tonight when they clash with the San Jose Sharks in the fifth meeting of the Stanley Cup Final. The two valiant combatants meet at center ice at 1001 Fifth Avenue at 8:00 p.m.

With 22 playoff contests in the books, Phil Kessel leads the Black and Gold in goals with 10 and points with 21. Sidney Crosby is the leader with three game-winning-goals. However, keep an eye on the trio of Nick Bonino, Matt Cullen, and Eric Fehr, who have two game-winning-goals apiece. Bonino is the leader in assists with 13 and Evgeni Malkin is right behind him with 12 helpers.

Ian Cole talked with Josh Yohe of DKPittsburghSports.com (subscription service) after Thursday’s morning skate about the mood of his team going into tonight’s game, “There is a ton of positive energy in this room right now. We have to use that to our advantage.”

In his 19 contests this postseason, goaltender Matt Murray has assembled a 2.09 goals-against-average and a .925 save percentage. He chatted with ESPN‘s Pierre LeBrun about this evening, “Don’t worry about the noise, don’t worry about what you can’t control, just focus on the task at hand.”

Dave Molinari of the Post-Gazette had this about Bonino on Twitter…

From the Twitter account of TempoFreeHockey on the Penguins…

Auther Andrew Podnieks had this about the Pens on Twitter…

From Monday’s box score, San Jose’s Joe Pavelski went 14-of-19 to capture 74 percent of his faceoffs while Dainius Zubrus led the team in hits with six. Pavelski also had the most shots on the night with five. Former Penguin defenseman Paul Martin collected the most blocked shots with five. Defenseman Marc-Edouard Vlasic and center Melker Karlsson each visited the penalty box one time for a two-minute stay.

Sharks defenseman Brenden Dillon wrote in his blog on the team’s website, “We embrace the opportunity to make a comeback here. We have talked about it in here. A good chunk of guys in this room were up 3-0 in the playoff series against the Los Angeles Kings two years ago and came back to lose in Game 7. We haven’t gotten here by fluke. We earned it. I think when we are on the top of our game there’s not a team in the League that can play with us.”

San Jose head coach Peter DeBoer spoke with ESPN‘s Scott Burnside about tonight’s match-up, “I think [the series is] closer than it feels. And we’ve got to give ourselves an opportunity, that if they stumble, we’re going to jump on it.”

Kevin Kurz of CSNBayArea.com on the Sharks this afternoon on Twitter…

Here is your Game Day digest:

When: Thursday, June 9

Puck Drop: 8:00 p.m. ET

Site: CONSOL Energy Center

Television: NBC Network / WPXI-TV 11

Radio Coverage: 105.9 FM – The X

Announcers: Mike Lange and Phil Bourque

Audio Stream: Penguins Radio 24/7

Live (Pay) Video Steam: NHL GameCenter LIVE

Sirius XM Satellite Radio: XM Channel 219, XM Internet 942

Penguins Social Media – Twitter/Facebook: @penguins / Pittsburgh Penguins

Pittsburgh Penguins Apps: iPhone/iPod Touch Users / Android / Blackberry

Odds: The crews at My Bookie, Top Bet, and Bovada online sportsbooks are on the same page for this evening’s confrontation. All three have the Black and Gold at -1.5 and the over/under at the five mark. Bettors who favor the team in teal have seen the total go under in four of their squad’s last five contests on the road.

My Prediction: Mike Sullivan’s band of skaters bring home the title tonight with a 2-0 victory over the Sharks.

Micah Blake McCurdy of hockeyviz.com had this about the odds on Twitter…

Next Up: Pittsburgh and San Jose return to the Golden State, if necessary, Sunday, June 12 for the sixth meeting of the Stanley Cup Final. The battle to control the puck gets underway at 8:00 p.m. You can watch every rush up ice at the SAP Center on NBC.

Looking Back at the Penguins and Sharks – Monday, June 6th…