The Pittsburgh Penguins 2013 Development Camp begins today as players arrive at CONSOL Energy Center. Wilkes-Barre/Scranton color commentator Mike O'Brien will be heading out to the Steel City to provide coverage Thursday through Saturday. Make sure you follow him on Twitter and Facebook for live updates. Leading up to Thursday, we will be profiling some of the players participating in this year's development camp. Today we look at the Penguins' 2013 Draft Class, all of whom will be in attendance.
By Leah Cover & Jen Dobias
It’s been 10 years since Pittsburgh selected a goalie within the first two rounds of the NHL draft. Last time, the Penguins gained a franchise cornerstone when they made Marc-Andre Fluery the first overall pick in 2003. This time, they traded up to grab a standout from the Western Hockey League.
The Penguins swapped their 50th and 89th picks for the chance to take Tristan Jarry 44th overall and make him their first pick of the 2013 draft.
Jarry was the third-ranked North American goaltender by NHL Central Scouting. In two seasons with the Edmonton Oil Kings, the Delta, B.C. native appeared in 41 career regular-season games, going 26-9-1 with a 2.03 GAA and a .921 save pct.
This year, Jarry led the WHL with a 1.66 GAA and a 0.936 save pct. Even though he split time with Laurent Brossoit, a 2011 Calgary sixth-rounder, he finished tied for second in the league with six shutouts.
Jarry showed that he can play and perform in big games at the CHL Top Prospects Game, which featured 2013 first rounders like Nathan Mackinnon, Jonathan Drounin and Seth Jones. Jarry turned aside all 16 shots he faced and was named the Team Cherry ‘Player of the Game.’
Next year, Jarry will return to Edmonton with a chance to earn the starting positions with the Oil Kings.
With the 77th overall pick, the Penguins selected the 2012-13 United States Hockey League Rookie of the Year.
The 5-foot-9 rookie finished sixth in the USHL in scoring with 73 points (29g-44a) in 60 games. He was the only Musketeer to appear in the top 25 in league scoring and earned USHL forward of the week honors three times.
As impressive as he was throughout the year, Guentzel was at his best to close out the regular season. He tied a USHL Tier 1 record by going on a 21-game point streak from Feb. 2 to April 13, amassing 43 points (17g-26a) over that span.
Guentzel’s older brothers Ryan (Notre Dame) and Gabe (Colorado College) both played in college. Gabe, a defenseman, played the majority of the 2012-13 season for the Norfolk Admirals.
It is safe to say that the pedigree for the Guentzel brothers largely comes from their father, Mike, who was a defenseman at the University of Minnesota from 1981-85. He now serves as the Gophers’ assistant coach (1994-2008, 2011-present) and won two NCAA national championships.
So far, Jake Guentzel has shined at every level. Before making the jump to the USHL, he totaled 70 points (22g-44a) to lead Hill-Murray Academy to a 25-6 record and a second-place finish in the Minnesota Class AA state tournament in 2011-12.
Guentzel will continue to develop as he enters Nebraska-Omaha this fall, joining 2011 Penguins sixth-round pick, Josh Archibald. UNO also produced current Wilkes-Barre/Scranton forward Jayson Megna.
Ryan Segalla became the first defenseman drafted by the Penguins in 2013 when he was selected in the fourth round, 119th overall. The rugged 18-year old spent the past three seasons playing for Salisbury School in Connecticut.
As a co-captain and top-pairing defenseman alongside teammate, Mark Hamilton, Segalla tallied 18 points (10g-8a) in 28 games to help lead the Crimson Knights to their third-straight Founder’s League title.
Segalla provided a similar blend of scoring ability and muscle with the Bridgewater Bandits in the Empire Junior Hockey League, scoring 27 points (9g-18a) in 41 games and spending 52 minutes in the penalty box.
The Hanover, Mass. native is set to begin his collegiate career at the University of Connecticut this fall as the team’s first full scholarship player. When the Penguins drafted him, he became the first Husky ever to be selected in the entry draft.
Considered one of UConn’s elite recruits, Segalla could make an impact for the Huskies right away and will play an important role in helping the team make the transition to the more competitive Hockey East in the 2014-15 season.
The Penguins didn’t have any fifth round picks but made up for lost time with two selections in round six. The first of their two picks was Merritt Centennials defenseman Dane Birks at 164th overall.
This year, his first full season in the British Columbia Hockey League, Birks had 20 points (5g-15a) in 52 games. For his efforts, the 17-year-old blueliner was named to the BCHL All-Rookie Team.
Birks has also played on an international stage, winning a silver medal as a member of Canada West at the World Junior A Challenge in 2012. He was also one of seven BCHL players who attended the Canada Junior Hockey League’s Young Prospects Game, which showcased the CJHL’s top NHL prospects.
Before taking his game to Merritt, the Williams Lake, B.C. native got a taste of the BCHL when he skated in 10 games for the Trail Smoke Eaters under father and head coach, Bill Birks. The same season, he played with the Creston Valley Thunder Cats in the Kootenay International Junior Hockey League, tallying 24 points (3g-21a) in 57 games.
Before going to Michigan Tech in the fall of 2014, he will spend one more season honing his defensive game with the Centennials.
The Penguins made Smith Falls center Blaine Bryon their second pick in the sixth round at 179th overall.
The Manotick, Ont. native split the 2012-13 season between the Kemptville 73’s and Smiths Falls Bears in the Central Canada Hockey League.
Byron tallied 23 points (7g-16a) in 24 games with the 73s before scoring an additional 29 points (5g-24a) in 27 games with the Bears. Byron earned CCHL Third-Team All-Star honors and the CCHL Top Prospect Award.
In 2011-12, his first full year in the CCHL, Byron solidified his role as playmaker, scoring 39 points (12g-27a) in 42 games for the 73’s. He was also a fixture on the penalty kill during his time with the 73’s.
The 18-year old will look to continue his development at the collegiate level in the fall at the University of Maine.
The final pick for the Penguins was Troy Josephs from the St. Michael’s Buzzers in the seventh round at 209th overall.
After going unclaimed in last year’s draft, Josephs was determined to stand out in the 2012-13 season. His strong start with St. Michael’s landed him a spot on Team Canada East for the 2012 World Jr. A Challenge, where he notched a pair of points.
Josephs played a pivotal role in the Buzzers’ run to an Ontario Junior Hockey League championship. He put up an impressive 20 points (7g-13a) in 24 postseason contests.
During the regular season, Josephs notched 37 points (17g-20a) in 42 games. He was named the runner-up to center Matt Buckles, who went 98th overall to the Florida Panthers, as the OJHL Top Prospect.
Josephs showed a great deal of growth this year from his rookie season. In 2011-12, he finished with 24 points (11g-13a) in 41 games. While he isn’t the flashiest forward, he plays a gritty, two-game and can get under his opponents’ skin.
The 19-year old left winger hails from Whitby, Ontario, hometown of Pittsburgh’s James Neal.
Josephs will begin his collegiate career with Clarkson University in Potsdam, N.Y. this fall.
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