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2013 NHL DRAFT PREVIEW

2014 NHL Draft Preview
Pittsburgh with six picks for Draft on Sunday

By Mike O'Brien

When the 2013 NHL Draft commences on Sunday afternoon at Prudential Center in Newark, N.J., the Pittsburgh Penguins will have six selections to work with to start the day.

Pittsburgh's first pick will not come until the third round with the 77th selection, but quickly follows with the 89th pick as well.  The Penguins are without a pick in the first or second round after a pair of acquisitions leading up to the NHL Trade Deadline.  Pittsburgh's first-round selection (28th overall) for 2013 was dealt to the Calgary Flames as part of the Jerome Iginla trade, while San Jose's Douglas Murray was picked up by the Penguins in exchange for their second-round selection this year (58th overall). 

The wait for Pittsburgh to make its first pick in this year's draft could provide a stark contrast to 2012 when the Penguins ended up with three selections in the first 52 picks, including two first rounders.  Already with the 22nd pick in hand, Pittsburgh traded Jordan Staal to the Carolina Hurricanes in exchange for Brandon Sutter, defenseman Brian Dumoulin and the No. 8 pick in the draft.  The Penguins came out of the first round with two top-flight defensive prospects - Derrick Pouliot of the Portland Winterhawks (8th overall) and the London Knight's Olli Maatta (22nd overall).  Both players would join the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins this past May after the conclusion of their junior seasons.  The 18-year old Maatta made his pro debut in Game 4 of the Penguins' Eastern Conference Final series versus Syracuse and played in three games total, while Pouliot made his debut and lone appearance in Game 6.

Pittsburgh also holds picks in the fourth (119th overall), sixth(164th, 179th)and seventh rounds (209th overall).

If the 2013 NHL Draft has the same flurry of trade activity as last year's, where and when a team will pick can change in a flash.  

This summer's crop of prospects are heavy on the defensive side, featuring the likes of Pouliot's Portland teammate Seth Jones, Darnell Nurse (Sault Ste. Marie) and Finnish blueliner Rasmus Ristolainen.  After using six of their last eight picks in the first and second round to select defensemen, it is possible that the Penguins will choose to stock the majority of cupboard with forwards and and a goaltender or two.  With a draft that is flush with quality d-men, the prevailing wisdom that a team can never have a enough talented, young defensemen might also come into play. 

The 2013 NHL Draft will begin at 3 p.m. and will be carried live in the United States on NBC Sports Network from 3-8 p.m. NHL Network will provide continuing coverage from 8 p.m. through the draft’s conclusion.

For live updates from Sunday's Draft, follow Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins color commentator, Mike O'Brien, on Twitter (@MikeOBrienWBS).

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