Adapting to the wild ride that was the Dispersal Draft, Penguins GM Matt Swackhammer relied on his extensive experience to set Pittsburgh towards success.
Upon hearing that Matt Swackhammer was coming on board as GM in Pittsburgh, Penguin fans did not know what to expect when predicting how the roster would look after the BEARD Hockey Dispersal Draft.
As a sim veteran with nearly 20 years of experience, there's not a specific game plan that can be expected of Swackhammer as he has rebuilt teams, built an expansion team, taken over contending teams, and maintained a sustainable playoff streak in other leagues.
When reviewing the plan prior to the draft, it was expected that the Pens would lead with youth with this picks. But even front office members of the Penguins were fairly shocked at how youth heavy their first 20 rounds turned out to be. Swackhammer said this was just based off of their list.
"We had an idea where we wanted to go with the first two picks in drafting Miro Heiskanen and Cale Makar," exclaimed Swackhammer. "We were able to grab two of the elite young puck moving defenseman that we feel can form an incredible top pair for the next 10-15 years. Or we could split them up and have two pairs with elite puck movers."
"The possibilities are awesome when you consider the power play as well."
However, then the Pens took youngster Kaapo Kakko which did not excite everyone in Pens land. Kakko can play on the pro roster this year and has some of the highest potential of any player in the league, which is a common theme you will see with the Pittsburgh picks.
But according to Swackhammer, this wasn't exactly the plan: it was just how the draft happened. Additionally, at times there were 40 picks between selections for Pittsburgh, so it could be hard to project if the desired player would be there with the next pick.
Overall, the Pens are excited with their organization as they feel they have high-potential players at every position that could make this a very sustainable franchise for years to come. Additionally, Pittsburgh feels they have solid depth at defense and in net that will allow them to remain competitive in most games.
"We feel we can compete in year one for a playoff spot and thats how we are approaching this year," added Swackhammer. "Yes, growth of our young players is important. But the best way to grow is to win."
If not, then there will need to be accountability. Perhaps if things go south in the Steel City, the Pens may "swack" their GM and hire a new one.
Projected Pro Roster
LW: Roope Hintz - C: Jeff Carter - RW: Kaapo Kakko
LW: Ryan Donato - C: Boone Jenner - RW: Richard Panik
LW: Colin Wilson - C: Tyler Bozak - RW: Andrew Laad
LW: Pierre Engvall - C: Brett Howden - RW: Cody Glass
D: Miro Heiskanen - D: Johnny Boychuk
D: Cale Makar - D: Jake McCabe
D: Matt Benning - D: Juuso Riikola
G: Frederik Andersen
G: Jonathan Quick
Head Coach: Travis Green
Farm Preview will be out in the coming days!