Penguins follow greatest accessible method on Day 2 of NHL Draft

MONTREAL — The Penguins’ approach to the NHL Draft at Bell Center wasn’t anything unique, bold or daring.

If anything, it was safe, reliable and clichéd.

“We stuck to that best player available approach,” said Nick Pryor, the Penguins’ director of amateur scouting.

After selecting Swift Current Broncos defenseman Owen Pickering in the first round (No. 21 overall) on Thursday, they chose “best player available” four additional times Friday through the final six rounds.

The Penguins did not have picks in the second or third round. Those selections were jettisoned in trades that landed forwards Rickard Rakell this past March and Jeff Carter in April 2021, respectively.

And they traded away their seventh-round pick Friday (No. 214 overall) to the Florida Panthers in exchange for a seventh-round pick in 2023.

Here’s a look at the four players they drafted on Friday.

Fourth round (No. 118 overall): Sergei Murashov, goaltender

Primary 2021-22 team (league): Loko-76 Yaroslavl (Molodyozhnaya Hokkeinaya League)

Statistics: 21-16-3 record, 2.49 goals-against average, .927 save percentage and six shutouts.

Height: 6 foot

Weight: 167 pounds

Catches: Right

Pryor’s scouting report: “Sergei is a goalie both our goalie scout, Charles Grant, and our Russian scout, Alexander (Khavanov), were both very high on. He’s very calm in the net. He’s got a good hockey sense for a goalie. And good athletic ability. Just someone that we were high on as a staff. We really liked the hockey sense and the calmness that he brings in the net.”

Given the strife in Europe at the moment because of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, Pryor acknowledged some concern over selecting a player from Russia.

“It definitely goes into the thinking,” Pryor said. “It’s hard to not put a lot of time and think into that. We just felt that he was an extremely talented goaltender. We feel we got really good value where we got him in the draft.”

Fifth round (No. 150 overall): Zam Plante, center

Primary 2021-22 team (league): Hermantown (Minnesota State High School League)

Statistics: 22 games, 64 points (24 goals, 40 assists).

Height: 5-foot-10

Weight: 165 pounds

Shoot: Left

Pryor’s scouting report: “Zam’s a tremendous kid. He’s got hockey bloodlines. He plays with a big motor for a smaller player. He’s got a lot of hockey sense and a lot of skill. Just a kid that’s going to need time to fill out and add to his frame of him. When we talk about Zam, it’s about his skill and his hockey sense. And he’s an extremely competitive person for a smaller player.”

Notes: Plante is the son of former NHL forward Derek Plante. … He also played in 31 games for the Chicago Steel of the United States Hockey League last season and scored 21 points (10 goals, 11 assists). … Plante is committed to play for Minnesota-Duluth in the NCAA next season. … As Hermantown’s leading goal-scorer last season, Plante, who turns 18 in August, led the school to a Class A state championship.

Sixth round (No. 167 overall): Nolan Collins, defenseman

Primary 2021-22 team (league): Sudbury Wolves (Ontario Hockey League)

Statistics: 65 games, 18 points (four goals, 14 assists).

Height: 6-foot-3

Weight: 194 pounds

Shoot: Right

Pryor’s scouting report: “Nolan, he’s a big defender. He moves well for his size from him. He’s got a good puck game for his size. He brings some grit and some physicality to the back end.”

Notes: The Penguins traded unsigned forward prospect Liam Gorman, a sixth-round pick (No. 177 overall) in 2018, to the Chicago Blackhawks to obtain this pick. Gorman, 22, has spent the past three seasons with Princeton (NCAA).

Sixth round (No. 182 overall): Luke Devlin, center

Primary 2021-22 team (league): St. Andrew’s College (Conference of Independent School Ontario)

Statistics: 44 games, 47 points (19 goals, 28 assists).

Height: 6-foot-3

Weight: 191 pounds

Shoot: Left

Pryor’s scouting report: “He’s a big center. He moves extremely well for his size from him. He brings a lot of compete. He does a really good job on both sides of the puck playing a responsible game. And he plays a really competitive game as well.”

Notes: Born in Memphis, Tenn., Devlin is only the second native of the Volunteer State to have been selected in the NHL Draft. … His father of him, Matt Devlin, is the play-by-play announcer on TSN for the NBA’s Toronto Raptors and previously held that role with the Memphis Grizzlies and Charlotte Bobcats. … According to Pryor, Luke Devlin is expected to play for the West Kelowna Warriors of the British Columbia Hockey League in 2022-23 and is committed to play for Cornell (NCAA) in 2023-24. … Despite the name, St. Andrew’s College is actually a high school.

Seth Rorabaugh is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Seth by email at srorabaugh@triblive.com or via Twitter .

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