Penguins general manager Jim Rutherford won’t commit to selecting a forward in the first round of the NHL draft June 27 in Philadelphia.
He just hopes that when the Penguins prepare to invest the 22nd overall choice, things will have played out in a way that makes picking one the logical move.
Rutherford, like most GMs, generally prefers to take the top prospect available, but said, “we’re going to really lean toward a forward at this time” because the Penguins have so many promising young defensemen and a quality goalie prospect (Tristan Jarry) in their talent pipeline.
“My preference is take a forward,” he said.
Although it isn’t clear how long the Penguins’ current group of amateur scouts will retain their jobs, Rutherford has acknowledged that he will “totally” rely on their work in this draft. He plans to sit down with them next week.
“I have their list [that ranks prospects] and I will rely heavily on [associate GM] Jason Botterill,” he said. “And then we’re going to have three or four days prior to the draft in Philadelphia when I can talk to them.”