2014 NHL Entry Draft - Live Blog

Friday, June 27, 2014
Eric Hartzell is one of a few young goaltenders in the Penguins system.
Plenty of rumors swirling about the Penguins heading into tonight's 2014 NHL Draft in Philadelphia, where teams will make their first round selections starting at 7:00 p.m. tonight before finishing up the draft on Saturday afternoon.

Rob Rossi reported earlier that the Pens are listening to offers on James Neal and Paul Martin. It has also been reported that Marc-Andre Fleury is not in play.

The Penguins have the 22nd selection in the first round, but they could move the pick to acquire an NHL player that would fill a need now. The Penguins don't have a pick in the 2nd or 3rd rounds but do have picks in the 4th round (113th overall), 5th round (145th overall), 6th round (173rd overall) and 7th round (203rd overall).

I'll post updates all night on the Pens first round selection and any relevant trades/news that pops up this evening. Be sure to check back tomorrow afternoon for rounds 2-7.

TRADE: The Penguins have traded forward James Neal to Nashville for forwards Patric Hornqvist and Nick Spaling.

An interesting first trade for Pens GM Jim Rutherford, sending Neal to the Predators for two forwards  - Patric Hornqvist and Nick Spaling - in what on the surface appears to be a move to add forward depth at the NHL level.

Coming into the draft the Penguins had just seven forwards signed for the 2014-15 season, not including restricted free agent Brandon Sutter. Now they have eight.

In salary terms, the Penguins drop Neal's four year contract that pays him $5 million annually and pick up another high priced forward in Hornqvist (4 years, $4.25 million a season) and a depth forward to improve the bottom six in Spaling (1 year, $1.5 million). Not exactly what you call dropping salary, but the Penguins only add a net of $750,000 salary for the 2014-15 season.

2013-14 Stats

Patric Hornqvist - 76 games, 22 goals and 31 assists, plus one rating

Nick Spaling - 71 games played, 13 goals and 18 assists, plus two rating

DRAFT PICK - The Penguins selected forward Kasperi Kapanen from Kalpa of the Finnish Elite League with the 22nd-overall pick in the 2014 NHL Draft.

The Penguins seemingly got good value out of their first round pick, drafting the son of former NHL'er Sami Kapanen. The younger Kapanen won't turn 18 for just about a month yet but has already played in parts of two seasons in the Finnish Elite League, tallying 14 points (7G-7A) in 47 games last season.

Here's what prospect guru Jesse Marshall from Faceoff-Factor had to say about Kapanen:
"Equal parts playmaker and goal scorer. Good skater. But he's not very physical. Needs to bulk up big time. Kapanen has a really deceiving shot. He can fit pucks through really tight areas. Above-average hands and on-ice awareness. Added benefit of getting a guy that played against men this year, but the problem is it really shows you where he is physically. Can't teach snipe-ability though. And his attitude is really good. He has the IQ of his Dad and the talent and feet to boot. What I like most about Kapanen is his ability to dangle in slow motion. Long arms. Can pull the puck so wide you'd think he slowed time."
Marshall also compared Kapanen to a guy on the current Penguins roster in Beau Bennett - not overly physical but a good skater with good hands and the ability to make plays in the offensive zone and create offense.

The Penguins don't have a pick in the 2nd or 3rd rounds but do have picks in the 4th round (113th overall), 5th round (145th overall), 6th round (173rd overall) and 7th round (203rd overall). The NHL Draft resumes Saturday, June 28th at 10:00 a.m. ET.


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