All in all, day 2 of the NHL Entry Draft went about as good for the Penguins as day one. They stocked up on the two areas most in need in their farm system – Defense and Right Wingers. And, if you are a fan of the Penguins history and the NHL past, you might recognize some of these names.
With the 61st pick of the draft, the Penguins selected Philip Samuelson of the Chicago Steel in the USHL. The 6-foot-3 198 pound defenseman is the son of former Penguin and Stanley Cup winner Ulf Samuelson. We can only hope that some of his Dad’s skills have rubbed off on him. He was born in Sweden, but grew up in Arizona which allowed him to play for Sweden in the 2008 Four Nations Tournament. But he says he will now play for the US in future international tournaments. On Samuelson’s abilities, Steven Poapst, coach of the Chicago Steel says:
“Phil seems to find himself in the right position at all times. He has a very active and good stick that allows him to break up a lot of plays defensively and wins most of his one on one battles for the puck. He is a player that is poised and confident with puck while under pressure and can make the right decision in most of those situations. A lot of people will question his skating but he is so good at owning his space by making sure he is in the right position with a good stick it does not become a factor. Phil has been very consistent this season and has improved greatly in the USHL. He is a leader on this team and comes ready to compete everyday. He has a lot of upside and will continue to grow as a player.”
With the 63rd pick, the Penguins selected Ben Hanowski from Little Falls High School in Little Falls Minnesota. This 6-foot-2 198 pound winger is a pure point machine with 73 goals and 62 assists this past season. For those who don’t want to do the math, that is 135 points in 31 games or a 4.4 point per game average. Included in those amazing numbers are 14 hat tricks and 10 games with at least 6 points. In 2008 he was the AP State Player of the Year and a Mr. Hockey finalist. Of Hanowski, Jack Barzee from NHL Central Scouting says:
“Ben needs to improve his overall skating, but his unselfishness, his hands and above all his ability to score goals sets him apart. His knack for scoring goals is similar to Thomas Vanek – his extra dimension is scoring goals.”
At the 121st pick, the Penguins took Nicholas Peterson out of Shawinigan of the QMJHL. Peterson is a 6-foot-2 186 pound winger had 37 goals and 90 points this past season and was an amazing plus-57. Now a lot of people don’t take much stock in plus/minus. But to me that means when he’s on the ice. He scores and the opponent does not. And that adds up to lots of wins. He was recently moved over to Saint John which is where first round pick Simon Despres has been playing.
With pick #123, the Pens grabbed Alex Velischek from the Delbarton School in Morristown, NJ. A native or Quebec City, the 6-foot 200 pound defenseman had 16 goals and 51 points this season and, like Peterson, had an amazing plus/minus rating of plus-61. He led his team, as captain, to 27 victories, which is a state record. Next, Velischek plans to attend Providence College and play hockey at the same school as his father, former NHLer Randy Velischek.
Next the Penguins selected Andy Bathgate with the 151st pick of the draft. The 6-foot 164 pound center from Brampton, ON played for the Belleville Bulls in the OHL last year. He is the grandson of the former NHL great of the same name. An injury this past season limited his ice time and he had only 4 goals and 16 points this season. But Chris Edwards of NHL Central Scouting says of Bathgate:
"Andy is an excellent skater with very good speed and agility. He has shown good puck skill and playmaking ability at times this season, but he has been inconsistent."
With the 181st and their last pick of the 2009 entry draft, the Penguins took Viktor Ekbom from Falkoping Sweden. He is a 6-foot-2 194 pound defenseman who has worked his way up to a spot on Team Sweden this year. He is a two-way player with good hands and is a capable passer. He will need to improve his skating and mobility if he wants to make it in the NHL.