For many of the teenage prospects gathered in Pittsburgh for tonight's NHL draft, the last couple of days have been designed to show off some of the best of what this year's hockey-mad host city has to offer — even if the itinerary clearly hasn't included a stop at Primanti's. Asked on Twitter if he had been to the famed heart-attack-on-a-sandwich joint, goalie prospect Malcolm Subban responded:
@BootsNBrawn not sure where that is but Chipoltle/Qudoba are our spots right now.
Still, there were other local sights and sounds to take in. On Thursday, some of the top-ranked young players held a media availability session not in the standard location — hotel ballrooms, arena bowels — but rather on a boat, where they squinted into the sun as they spoke. And later in the day, they got the chance to take batting practice before a Pirates game at gorgeous PNC Park.
None of them were able to match the homer Sidney Crosby dinged at PNC in the fall of 2010. (USA Under-18 Team's Jacob Trouba came closest.) Nor will they be anywhere close to matching the kind of buzz Crosby received in 2005, the year he was selected by the Penguins. This year's draft class is solid, but it's not at all flashy; if it was a team, it would be more akin to the St. Louis Blues than the Pittsburgh Penguins.
Still, it ought to be an interesting evening. While I'll leave the nitty-gritty, "Here's who the Florida Panthers will take with the 23rd pick" projections to the people who have spent years watching players develop (if you're interested in that sort of thing, I highly recommend you begin by following Corey Pronman on Twitter), here are a few items of note going into tonight's draft.