Most professional sports teams refer to talented, young players in their organizations as prospects. The Penguins prefer the tag “assets,” and have treated them as such during the past five years, dangling several such players in trades. Do the future Penguins who gathered at this week's Prospect Camp feel like assets? So far, they haven't developed a complex. “I don't think it makes much sense to spend a lot of time thinking about it,” defenseman Scott Harrington said. “We're all aware of it, but I think we're just doing our best to show the Penguins that we're getting better. Of course, we all want to play in Pittsburgh.” Being a talented, young defenseman has often earned a ticket out of Pittsburgh. Former first-round pick Ryan Whitney, a foundation piece of a 2007 Penguins team that reached the postseason for the first time in the Sidney Crosby era, was traded in 2009. Alex Goligoski, once considered the power-play quarterback heir apparent to defenseman Sergei Gonchar, was traded in 2011. Joe Morrow, the team's first-round pick in 2011, was dealt to Dallas in March. The Penguins don't hide the reality that part of their preference for drafting defensemen is that their trade value is often magnified. Standouts such as forwards James Neal and Chris Kunitz have been the return in such trades. Top prospects such as Harrington, Derrick Pouliot and Olli Maatta attempt to ignore the recent history of deals. “I really don't let it creep into my mind all that much,” said Pouliot, the eighth overall selection in the 2012 NHL Entry Draft. A talented, slick-skating defenseman, Pouliot's skill set is eerily similar to that of so many defensemen traded in previous years. Whitney, Goligoski and Morrow were highly regarded offensive defensemen.
Penguins’ young defensemen hope to stick around
Pittsburgh Tribune Review | Jul 21