With the 21st overall pick in the 2022 NHL Draft, the Pittsburgh Penguins selected defenseman Owen Pickering from the Swift Current Broncos in the WHL. General manager Ron Hextall and the rest of the Pittsburgh Penguins organization are thrilled with this selection. Pickering recently signed a three-year entry-level deal with the franchise. This means that he will join the organization sooner rather than later.
It is quite possible that he will play the 2022-2023 season in the WHL before reporting to the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins in the AHL. This will happen unless something drastically changes during training camp. Pickering played 62 games in the WHL last season, scored nine goals, and recorded 24 assists. His plus/minus rating was -29.
In the highlight film, Owen Pickering played on an awful team. He has a wicked shot from the point and is a great two-way player. Pickering is also solid with the forecheck. He can be a net-front presence on the power play and get in the dirty areas despite being a defenseman. Owen Pickering also feels mature beyond his years despite being an 18-year-old.
He also played in four games with the Canada U18 in the WJC-18. In four games, Owen Pickering didn’t score a goal, but he recorded two assists. His plus/minus rating was 2. Pickering probably won’t make an impact in Pittsburgh for at least another couple of seasons. He will have the proper development in the WHL for another season and also in the AHL for a year or two.
This is one of the rare times the Pittsburgh Penguins had a first-round draft pick. General manager Ron Hextall will need more of them in the immediate future. Pittsburgh needs to get the cupboard reloaded in the farm system because it is one of the worst in the NHL. The Pittsburgh Penguins are in win-now mode but the future looks bright for defenseman Owen Pickering with a winning organization, who is excited to be here with them also.