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Penguins draft defensmenan Joe Masonius in seventh round (No. 181 overall) - 06-25-16

Written by Seth Rorabaugh on .

The Penguins used their final pick in the draft and selected defenseman Joe Masonius in the sixth round, No. 181 overall. 

Masonius, 19, appeared in 34 games last season with Connecticut of the NCAA and scored 21 points (six goals, 15 assists). He is listed at 6-foot-0 and 181 pounds.

“Extremely mobile," said Randy Sexton, the Penguins' director of amateur scouting. "Very mobile. His puck skills are fine. He also plays with some bite. It was a great example of a kid who played at the [United States] Development Program who was buried a bit behind some of the higher-end guys two years ago. But when he got to Hockey East in [Connecticut] this year, he had the opportunity to play a more prominent role and play with more confidence and really was their go-to guy on the back end as a freshman.”

 

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Penguins draft defenseman Niclas Almari in the fifth round (No. 151 overall) - 06-25-16

Written by Seth Rorabaugh on .

The Penguins drafted defenseman Niclas Almari in the fifth round, No. 151 overall.

The Finnish-born Almari, 18, appeared in 39 games last season split between the under-20 teams for Blues and Jokerit in Finland. He scored seven points (two goals, five assists).

Listed at 6-foot-2, 187 pounds, he is expected to play for HPK in the Liiga next season.

 

"Niclas is more of I would say a long-term prospect," said Patrik Allvin, the Penguins' head European scout. Great poise. Really sees the ice well. He moves well. Obviously, he needs to get stronger. … I think he's in a good spot. I could see him staying over three years.”

 

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Penguins draft defenseman Ryan Jones in fourth round (No. 121) - 06-26-16

Written by Seth Rorabaugh on .

The Penguins drafted defenseman Ryan Jones in the fourth round, No. 161 overall. 

Jones, 20, appeared in 60 games last season with Lincoln of the USHL and scored 30 points (three goals, 27 assists) while recording 121 penalty minutes. Listed at 6-foot-3, 201 pounds, Jones is scheduled to play for Nebraska-Omaha of the NCAA next season.

Penguins general manager Jim Rutherford described him as a "defensive defenseman."

A native of Crown Point, Ind., Jones grew up playing for the Indiana Junior Ice program.

 

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Penguins deal Bennett for No. 77 pick, draft Kitchener's Hall - 06-25-16

Written by Seth Rorabaugh on .

The Beau Bennett era has come to an end.

The Penguins traded the oft-injured right winger to the Devils in exchange for a third-round pick, No. 77 overall. With that pick, the Penguins drafted Kitchener Rangers (OHL) defenseman Connor Hall.

A pending restricted free agent, Bennett, 24, appeared in 33 games this past season and scored 12 points (six goals, six assists). A first-round pick in 2010, Bennett's career was marred by various injures an ailments ranging from his wrist, shoulders and even a bout of mumps. In parts of four NHL seasons, he was limited to 129 games and 45 points.

"With the number of young guys we have, we felt it was time to give him a change," said general manager Jim Rutherford. "It gets a little bit frustrating, the injury part. But I certainly recognize he's a good player. I think a change is going to be good for him and I think he'll probably do well there. I think with the young forwards we have and more young ones coming, we felt we had the luxury of doing that.”

Hall, 18, appeared in 39 games last season and scored nine points. He missed much of the first half of the season due to a suspension and a broken jaw suffered in a fight. 

-From SB Nation:

"Hall is a strong kid and likes to use his size and strength to play a nasty, physical game. He punishes forwards, especially along the boards. He makes life difficult for the opposition and can quiet the opposition by making them afraid to go into tough areas of the ice. Sometimes he can cross the line--he served an 11-game suspension for a check to the head to start the season. He's willing to stand up for teammates and drop his gloves if necessary though."

A few highlights:

-EN Says: Bennett's time had truly come to an end with the Penguins. After being passed over for playing time by the likes of Conor Sheary, Bryan Rust and Oskar Sundqvist, there really wasn't a place for him moving forward. He'll get a much better chance with the Devils. New Jersey's front office with general manager Ray Shero, the man who drafted Bennett, is more than familiar with him. 

(Photo: Gene J. Puskar/Associated Press)

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Penguins draft LW Kasper Björkqvist in the second round (No. 61 overall) - 06-25-16

Written by Seth Rorabaugh on .

The Penguins drafted left winger Kasper Björkqvist (above, with Russian forward Alexander Dergachyov) of Blues in Finland's Liiga in the second round with the 61st overall pick.

Bjorkqvist, 18, appeared in 45  games last season and scored 66 points (28 goals, 38 assists). He is listed at 6-foot-1 and 198 pounds and is expected to play for Providence in the NCAA next season.

He is listed as the No. 22 European skater [forward or defenseman] available in the draft. 

 

"Our European scouts … they loved this player," said general manager Jim Rutherford. "I was leaning more towards a defenseman but they felt so adamant about him and he's just a really good all-around center."

 

Hockey Prospectus says:

"Aside from the physical aspect, Borgström is a complete package. He is a constant threat for the defenders with his great vision and quick and accurate wrist shot. If he could add more muscle and learn how to use his large frame, he could be very well turn out to be a steal in the upcoming draft. He has committed to University of Denver for next season."

Some highlights:

(Photo: Roni Rekomaa/AFP/Getty Images)

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