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Penguins Report: 2012 NHL Draft (Round 1)

by Michelle Crechiolo / Pittsburgh Penguins
Watch as Derrick Pouliot is selected 8th overall.

11:42 PM:
As Shero sat down to address the media at the conclusion of the first round, he had one last deal to announce.

The Penguins have acquired defenseman Harrison Ruopp, goaltender Marc Cheverie and a 2012 third-round draft pick (81st overall) from the Phoenix Coyotes in exchange for Zbynek Michalek.

Saying tonight has been a busy night would be a gross understatement. Stay tuned to for more.

9:52 PM:

Gotta run back down and chat with Olli Maatta and then Pens GM Ray Shero. We'll be back as soon as we can!!! Stay tuned!

9:30 PM:
Really thoughtful move by the Chicago Blackhawks just now. They had Gibsonia native and 2011 draftee Brandon Saad announce their first pick in the 2012 NHL Draft. Saad came up to the podium to thunderous cheers and told the crowd that Chicago wanted Teuvo Teravainen at 18th overall. Awesome!!!

9:20 PM:
We're back from speaking with Pouliot, who's teammates with the Penguins' 2011 first-round pick Joe Morrow in Portland of the Western Hockey League. Here's what Pouliot had to say minutes after Pittsburgh swung the blockbuster deal to select him No. 8 overall. Video is below!

Derrick Pouliot

On if the trade was unexpected:
Maybe a little bit. But I’m extremely excited. Couldn’t be happier to come to Pittsburgh here in front of the hometown crowd. Just overall, a great feeling.

On what Joe Morrow has said about the Penguins organization:
I’ve heard all good things from Joe. He really likes it here, (including) the staff and everybody. I’m really excited to be a part of that and looking forward to it.

On if he’ll fit right in to Bylsma’s system:
Yeah, definitely. I think I’m a good skater. I think that’s one of my strengths. Hopefully I’ll be able to carry that on to here.

On how much contact he had with Pittsburgh prior to the draft:
A little bit. I met with them a couple times this year and at the Combine.

On the interest Pittsburgh showed:
I think a pretty good amount of interest. It’s hard to tell, especially right up until it happens. But they seemed pretty interested, and I’m happy to go here.

On if he was Morrow’s partner in Portland:
A little bit. I played on the power play with him this year, mainly. That was about it.

On if Morrow helped the Pens gather a book on him:
Yeah, definitely. It could have helped. He could have told him what I was capable of. Them coming to see him a lot probably helped a little bit. It’s exciting and I’m glad to be here.

On the teams he followed growing up:
I think Colorado was probably my favorite team growing up, but definitely Pittsburgh now (laughs).

On what he needs to improve on:
Sharpen up my defensive game. I think you can always do stuff with that and be a little more intense, gritty, stuff like that. But I think it comes with a little bit of maturity and a little bit of time, and I’m working on that all the time.

On Morrow’s assessment of his game:
I think he thought he did pretty well. He was coming in trying to make the team last year, and he had to come back and play for us one more year. We were glad to have him on the blue line. He’s a great D man and a great guy to learn from.

On if he and Morrow are friends off the ice:
Yeah, absolutely. I’ve got a real good relationship with him playing with him. Get along with everyone pretty good.

On who he models his game after:
I try and model myself after Drew Doughty. Maybe Nick Lidstrom. Poised, patient with the puck and trying to get that intensity and grittiness like Doughty has.

On if he feels a little more pressure being part of a major draft-day deal:
Maybe a little bit. Right now, it’s just kind of a little bit surreal. Just real excited about it and extremely happy.

On taking his photo next to Mario Lemieux:
That’s a great thing. Lots of kids dream about meeting him and getting to shake his hand. It’s something really special.

On the arena and Pittsburgh:
Pittsburgh’s a great city. I’ve been here since Wednesday. Got to walk around downtown a little bit and see it. The arena is beautiful. It’s a really nice place. I’m excited to get here and hopefully stick around. I’m extremely honored to be picked by Pittsburgh.

On his first call:
Probably to mom and dad, talk to them right away. Or I’ll get to see them sometime, hopefully.

On if he had expectations of where he’d go:
We weren’t too sure. Anything could happen in this draft, as you saw. It was a little shaky, but I’m happy to go to Pittsburgh. Extremely happy and excited.

8:13 PM:
Pens GM Ray Shero thanks Jordan Staal for "six great years in Pittsburgh."


Gotta run and chat with Pouliot. Be back soon!!!

8:12 PM:
BIG NEWS!!! Pens trade Jordan Staal to Carolina for the 8th overall pick, Brandon Sutter and Brian Dumoulin.

Pens are on the clock.

7:59 PM:
Another surprise pick as the Anaheim Ducks select Hampus Lindholm at No. 6 overall. I really like this kid because of the way he developed his game so quickly this year. He basically came out of nowhere and absolutely shot up a lot of teams' draft boards. I got a sense from talking to him at the NHL Combine that his work ethic and desire to continually get better is off the charts.

Get the lowdown on this Swedish defenseman here.

7:51 PM:
And we have another trade to announce!!! Dallas sends forward Mike Ribiero to Washington in exchange for forward Cody Eakin and the 54th-overall pick in this year's draft.

7:47 PM:
Morgan Rielly is off the board as the Toronto Maple Leafs take him with the fifth-overall selection. A lot of scouts have compared him to Pittsburgh's own Kris Letang, which happens to be his favorite NHL player. And, as Sam pointed out, his favorite movie is The Lion King. What a guy.

To learn Rielly's favorite cartoon, actor and actress, click here.

7:42 PM:
The Islanders throw a bit of a curveball when they take Griffin Reinhart at No. 4 overall. He's a big boy (6-foot-4 and 207 pounds) and just finished up a fantastic season, helping Edmonton win the Western Hockey League championship and advance to the Memorial Cup. Plus he's got great bloodlines (his father, Paul, was an NHL defenseman).

Learn more about Reinhart by clicking here.

7:36 PM:
NHL commish Gary Bettman just said those words everyone loves to hear... "WE HAVE A TRADE TO ANNOUNCE!"

The Ducks send Lubomir Visnovsky to the New York Islanders for a 2013 second-round pick.

That is all.

7:32 PM:
Recently hired Canadiens general manager Marc Bergevin (who's good friends with Mario Lemieux) select Yakupov's Sarnia Sting teammate Alex Galchenyuk at No. 3 overall.

I've spoken with a lot of prospects leading up to this day, and Galchenyuk is my favorite of them all. Not only is he likely the best two-way center in the crop, but he seems to have the character and mental makeup to succeed in the NHL. His work ethic is incredible and he desperately wants to be the best player he can be. Not bad qualities to have, I'd say.

For more on Galchenyuk, visit his prospect profile here.

7:24 PM:
Welp, Murray didn't stay on the board long. The Columbus Blue Jackets just selected the captain of the Western Hockey League's Everett Silvertips with the second-overall pick with the song "Steady as She Goes" by the Raconteurs. Great tune. And great choice by Columbus.

Red Line Report says Murray is "the most NHL-ready blueliner in this year's class logs huge minutes and is the best pure defender." Visit Murray's prospect profile for more.

7:12 PM:
And it begins... the Oilers are on the clock!!!

With the No. 1 selection, Edmonton takes...


There had been a lot of speculation leading up to the draft about whether or not the Oilers would, as my intern Greg wrote earlier this month, select the player best available (Yakupov) or fill the biggest need for their team (defenseman Ryan Murray). Oilers GM Steve Tambellini just couldn't pass up the extremely dynamic, explosive and gifted forward in the draft.

Sam and I like this choice. While Murray is perhaps the most NHL-ready prospect of the group and likely would have been able to step right in and shoulder a meaningful role on Edmonton's blue line, the Oilers have now added a gamebreaking talent to their exciting young group of forwards.

For stats, a scouting report, a scout's take and fun facts (yay!) on the Sarnia Sting's Yakupov, visit his prospect profile.

6:57 PM:
Roll call is over. Everybody's here (had to wait a little for St. Louis, but they eventually woke up and confirmed their attendance).

Now the game entertainment crew is showing Penguins draft history videos on the video board. The second-to-last video was of Malkin getting selected 2nd overall in 2004, and chants of "MVP! MVP!" erupted in the upper bowl, where most of the fans are sitting.

The last video was, of course, of Penguins captain Sidney Crosby. Do I even need to tell you the crowd's response to that? Nothin' but love.

6:46 PM:
Roll call is about to start! Sam tells me that they do this to make sure each of the teams have at least one representative ready to go so everything can begin. Someone at the podium says each team's name, and the clubs respond with a name (or two, or three).

As you can imagine, the Flyers got unbelievably EPIC boos. For about 30 seconds straight, at least. They were thunderingly loud and held up the roll call. I kid you not. It was WONDERFUL. 

Then right after, the cheers for the Penguins (our representatives: Mario Lemieux [nbd] and Dan Bylsma) gave me goosebumps. We have the best fans. I love this town.

6:37 PM:
The Pens got festive and decided to hold a Draft Day Party around CONSOL Energy Center, which included free public skating on a synthetic ice rink and a special red-carpet entrance by the top prospects. The weather couldn't have been better for an event like this, as it cooled down considerably after that ridiculous heat wave that'd been smothering Pittsburgh this whole week. Woof. Sam, my intern Greg and a few other Pens employees actually tested out the synthetic ice rink earlier today, and they said it was...interesting.

I sent Greg outside to get some photos. We don't have pics of the prospects going down the red carpet yet, but I'll post them when we do! #celebstatus

6:21 PM:
Ahhh! Just half an hour until the draft officially begins!

The staff is posted up in our seats and ready to go. We're overlooking the arena floor, which is absolutely packed with personnel from all 30 NHL clubs. This is the first draft I've actually attended (I covered last year's – my first with the Penguins – from home), so this is all insane and awesome to me. Here's the view from where we're sitting...

Here's a cool pic from Getty Images of the entire draft floor...

5:15 PM:
The NHL has been hard at work getting set up and ready for this event, and it's cool to see how the interior/exterior of the arena have transformed. Here's a bunch of pictures...

I had to throw that one in there. Ha!

Pics of the Draft Day Party being held around CONSOL Energy Center (for more info, click here) coming up next!

5:00 PM:
Good evening everyone! The 2012 NHL Draft is finally here. Round 1 begins at 7:00 p.m. ET and will be nationally televised by NBC Sports Network. Along with their first-round pick (22nd overall), the Penguins have single picks in the second round (52nd overall), third round (83rd), fifth round (143rd) and sixth round (173rd), and two picks in the fourth round (92nd, 113th).

The draft is something to look forward to every year regardless of where it’s held, but there’s definitely been a lot more excitement and anticipation after finding out back in October we would be the hosts.

It’s been a long eight months since the announcement last fall, but now it’s just a few short hours away. We've been following these prospects closely for weeks now, and our website staff has gotten to know the types of players – and for a few of them, the types of people – that these young men are. I absolutely cannot wait to see who will be the newest member of the Penguins organization. And if we thought we were anxious for it to start, that’s nothing compared to what the draft-eligible prospects are feeling right now. Take, for example, this tweet from Alex Galchenyuk from earlier today...

     "Today is the day that I was dreaming about since I was a little kid ! #2012NHLDraft #amazingfeeling"


It’s truly an honor to host such an event. It’s been awesome to have the entire hockey world – all 30 NHL clubs, the prospects and their friends and families, international media and fans from all over – descend on our city for the past few days.

The Penguins and the NHL really wanted to give the week leading up to the draft a strong Pittsburgh flavor and leave the prospects with lasting memories of the city, and I think that’s been accomplished. It’s been an enjoyable last few days. Let's recap what the players did before the draft gets underway:

On Wednesday, five of the top draft-eligible prospects (Nail Yakupov, Ryan Murray, Alex Galchenyuk, Mikhail Grigorenko and Jacob Trouba) stopped by the Penguins scrimmage camp at the Ice Castle to work with local youth players...

They then traveled to the Roberto Clemente Bridge to play dek hockey with kids from the Pittsburgh ICE inner-city program on a specially-built rink...

And finished the day by going to the top of Mt. Washington and recreating Mario Lemieux's famous draft-year photo from the overlook.

Then on Thursday, 13 of the prospects did a media availability session aboard the "Empress" of the Gateway Clipper Fleet before taking batting practice at PNC Park, home of the Pittsburgh Pirates (here's my blog recapping the day's events).

Now they're getting to see the gorgeous CONSOL Energy Center. Let's get this party started!

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