With the 23rd selection in the NHL Entry Draft, the Pittsburgh Penguins selected defenseman Joseph Morrow. Morrow, an Alberta, Canada native, spent last season with the Portland Winterhawks of the Western Hockey League. The 6-foot, 197 pound Morrow led all Portland defenseman with 49 points and six power-play goals during the 2010-2o11 season. Morrow ranked second among defenseman during the WHL playoffs with 20 points in 21 games.
While the field was wide open this year in the draft, many thought the Penguins would opt to go with a forward. However, in the NHL Draft, it’s more important to select the best available player on the board. With a defensive unit that is loaded for years to come, the Penguins could have selected themselves a nice trading piece for down the road. Remember, the Penguins have shown before in the past they aren’t afraid to trade away a solid defenseman.
In February of 2009, the Penguins traded Ryan Whitney to the Anaheim Ducks for forwards Chris Kunitz and Eric Tangradi. Last season, the Penguins traded former number one minor-league prospect Alex Goligoski to the Dallas Stars for forward James Neal and defenseman Matt Niskanen. What the Penguins choose to do with the 18-year-old Morrow won’t be known for quite some time, but I wouldn’t mind seeing a defensive unit of Brooks Orpik, Kris Letang, Paul Martin, Zybnek Michalek, Simon Despres and Morrow for years to come.
Only one of Pittsburgh’s top prospects, J.T. Miller (15th to the Rangers) was selected, leaving Brandon Saad, John Gibson, Barrett Kaib or Vince Trocheck still remaining. Both Saad and Gibson, are believed to go in the early second round.
About the Author
Written by Michael Waterloo
I'm currently pursuing my Master's degree in Communication and Journalism from Clarion University. I currently work for Ohio Valley Athletics where I serve as the West Virginia Football Beat Writer and cover West Virginia Men's Basketball as well. I'm a big Pittsburgh Pirates, Philadelphia Eagles, Pittsburgh Penguins, Pitt Panthers and Oregon Ducks fan. Follow me on Twitter at @MichaelWaterloo or visit www.ovathletics.com