The Penguins traded their first-round pick (31st overall) and forward Oskar Sundqvist to St. Louis on Day 1 of the 2017 NHL Draft on Friday at United Center in exchange for forward Ryan Reaves and the Blues' second-round pick (51st overall).
That gave Pittsburgh six total selections on Day 2, and for the second straight year, they chose four defensemen. Over the past two drafts, eight of the 12 players selected by Pittsburgh have been blueliners.
Director of amateur scouting Randy Sexton said all four defensemen fit the criteria that the Pens look for when it comes to the back end.
"They have to be mobile, they have to have vision and they have to be able to move the puck," Sexton explained. "We don't like Clydesdales, we like thoroughbreds. So all of these D-men can skate."
The Pens also took a pair of forwards to round out their selections. Here's a quick look at each prospect, coupled with scouting reports from Sexton and head European scout Patrik Allvin.
Name: Zachary Lauzon
Selection: 2nd round (51st overall)
Amateur Team: Rouyn-Noranda (QMJHL)
Notes: The native of Val d'Or, Quebec has spent the past 2-plus seasons with Rouyn-Noranda and has accomplished a lot in his young junior career. In his first full season, the Huskies won the QMJHL championship and advanced to the Memorial Cup. In his second full season, Lauzon earned the Kevin Lowe Award as the best defensive defenseman in the QMJHL, the same trophy Kris Letang won in 2007.
Scout's Take: "We have a very specific style of play we like to play. We like defensemen who are mobile, have great vision and can move the puck. Obviously, defending is important, and Zach fits that bill. He's a tremendous skater, has great vision and he moves the puck well. He's not as offensive-oriented as other people, but he defends very well. Highly competitive. He'll fit right in in Pittsburgh." -Randy Sexton
Name: Clayton Phillips
Selection: 3rd round (93rd overall)
Amateur Team: Fargo (USHL)
Notes: Played both forward and defense growing up, but switched to defense permanently in high school. Was ranked 72nd overall among all prospects by The Hockey News and was the 99th-ranked North American prospect by NHL Central Scouting. Suited up for Team USA at both the Ivan Hlinka Memorial Tournament and the World Junior-A Challenge. Was recruited by Jake Guentzel's father Mike, an associate coach at the University of Minnesota, to play for the Gophers in the fall of 2018.
Scout's Take: "Clayton has some offense to his game. Highly mobile. He can really skate. He's got terrific vision. A really solid puck mover. Both Zach and Clayton will have more of an offensive role on their teams next year, so we do expect to see their offensive production improve. But I would define them more as mobile, transitional, puck-moving defensemen." -Randy Sexton
Name: Jan Drozg
Selection: 5th round (152nd overall)
Amateur Team: Leksand (Swe-Jr.)
Notes: Starred for Slovenia at both the Under-18 and Under-20 World Junior Championships, where Slovenia competed in the 'B' division. Helped Slovenia take gold in the U-18 tournament, winning "Best Forward" and "Top Player on Team" honors after leading the tournament in assists (8), points (13) and faceoff percentage (83.3%).
Scout's Take: "Jan is a little bit of a late bloomer. He's from Slovenia, moved to Sweden and really caught our guys' eyes in the second half of the year. We brought him to Pittsburgh for our combine, he performed very well and that helped us get over the top to take him. He's an offensive player, he's very slender, needs time to put on strength. But we're excited to have him because he brings some offense." -Randy Sexton
Name: Linus Olund
Selection: 5th round (155th overall)
Amateur Team: Brynas (SWE)
Notes: Was the 57th-ranked European skater this year by NHL Central Scouting. Had eight goals, 15 points and was plus-9 in 39 regular-season games with Brynas in Sweden's top professional league. Broke out offensively in the playoffs, contributing 10 points (6G-4A) in 20 postseason contests.
Scout's Take: "We see him as a bottom-six player. He had a really good playoff and a really good second half in the Swedish pro league. Half a point per game in the playoffs and he had a key role there starting off as a fourth-line center. Really took a big step in the second half, so we're excited about him and he's going to have a big role in Brynas next year as well." -Patrik Allvin
Name: Antti Palojarvi
Selection: 6th round (186th overall)
Amateur Team: Lukko Jr. (Fin-Jr.)
Notes: Split the season between minor-league clubs for Lukko of the Finnish League, compiling 14 points (1G-13A) in 52 games. Also logged action with Finland's national team throughout the season.
Scout's Take: "Antti's more of a puck-moving defenseman, probably needs a couple of extra years. I think he's in a good situation up in Lukko in northern Finland there. Was on the national team a little bit, but obviously the Finns have a very strong D corps. So it will be tough for him to get on the World Junior team next year, but I think he's still in the mix there. I would definitely say a little bit of a longer-term prospect." -Patrik Allvin
Name: William Reilly
Selection: 7th round (217th overall)
Amateur Team: RPI (ECAC)
Notes: Brings size to the blue line. Just completed his freshman season with the Engineers, where he had 15 points (2G-13A) and 68 penalty minutes in 35 games.
Scout's Take: "William Reilly is an offensive defenseman, has good size, he skates well. He moves the puck and he can really shoot the puck. He ran the No. 1 power play in college hockey this year at RPI. We have some hope for him as a puck-moving, offensive defenseman." -Randy Sexton