I would like to start off one of the busiest times of the year for the NHL by saying two things. First of all I would like to congratulate Disco Dan Bylsma for being the recipient of the Jack Adams Award, or Coach of the Year. He is the first coach in franchise history to win the award with the Pens. That’s right, Scotty Bowman and Herb Brooks are coaches in our franchises history, and Bylsma is the first to take home the award.
The second thing is something that falls close to my heart. Jaromir Jagr is coming back to the NHL. His agent said this weekend should bring the announcement of where he will play. The boys over at The Pensblog have been on a constant “Jagr Watch”. I have been joining them on Twitter, just search hashtag #jagrwatch. Double J has been one of my favorite players of all time since I was a little kid. I remember watching his mullet flow through the air at Mellon Arena night in and night out. I remember watching him dominate his competition every time he touched the ice. Watching the Vancouver 2011 Olympics was a small sample of the fact that he can still play. I would love to see him do just that in October, and I would love him to play alongside 87 and 71. Wow.
The first round of this years draft is going to be somewhat unpredictable. I have looked at many mock drafts, as well as sat down and made my own. I have yet to see the same name in the 23rd spot. My favorite, and this is always an “if he’s available” scenario is a winger by the name of Tomas Jurco. The dude is nasty. He has some of the best hands I have seen, and his dangles have already made him a bit of a YouTube star. Jurco is going to be a star in the NHL someday, and I think alongside Sidney Crosby he could be a superstar. Another guy I have had my eyes on is a six-foot-two right winger named Tyler Biggs. Think Eric Tangradi. Big, scoring, North American winger, just like Ray Shero likes them.
The Pens have also let it be known that Tyler Kennedy will most likely be traded. He is a restricted free agent, and will garner some over the top offers from teams like Florida that have to spend a ton of cash just to get to the salary cap floor.
As the Pens focus on drafting a solid scoring winger here are some guys that deserve a solid look.
Tomas Jurco (RW) 6’2″ – 195 lbs
Current Team: St. Johns Sea Dogs – QMJHL
Strengths: Hands, Scoring Touch, Shootout Skills, Hockey sense, ability to use size and strength to score goals. Top six forward talent.
Needs Improvement: Mental toughness and consistency seem to be the only knocks.
Tyler Biggs (Wing) 6’2″ 205 lbs
Current Team: US National Development Team U18
Strenghts: Size, goal scoring, and physical play.
Needs improvement: Not the type of player that will be a superstar, but will contribute to a team more than just on the ice. Good character guy, but may not develop into a goal scorer at the NHL level. He is a safe pick that could end up a great goal scorer, or just a third or fourth line grinder.
Nicklas Jensen (LW) 6’2″ 187 lbs
Current Team: Oshawa Generals-OHL
Strengths: Great skating, great hands, scoring touch
Needs Improvement: Needs to fill out his lanky build. could be a star someday.
About the Author
Written by Dustin Keener
My name is Dustin Keener. Born and raised a Pittsburgh sports fan. I Live in Northern Virginia, and went to college in the Pittsburgh area. I am very involved in the hockey community. I referee, play, coach, and read/write everything I can about the game. I am 24, engaged, and loving life.