Penguins draft with eye on lineage

NHL Draft

Pittsburgh picked Ulf Samuelsson’s son and Andy Bathgate’s grandson.

MONTREAL (AP) — The Pittsburgh Penguins celebrated Father’s Day a weekend late by drafting three players with NHL lineage.

On the second day of the NHL draft Saturday, the Stanley Cup champions chose Philip Samuelsson, the son of former defenseman Ulf Samuelsson, and Andy Bathgate, the grandson of Hall of Famer Andy Bathgate Sr. — one of the original Penguins players in 1967.

They also chose high school defenseman Alex Velischek, the son of Randy Velischek, who played 509 NHL games for Minnesota, New Jersey and Quebec from 1982-92.

Philip Samuelsson went in the second round with the No. 61 overall pick. The 17-year-old played last season for the Chicago Steel of the United States Hockey League, getting 22 assists in 54 games. He has committed to Boston College.

Ulf Samuelsson played for the Penguins’ 1991 and 1992 Stanley Cup championship teams and remains one of the most popular players in team history.

Bathgate, 18, went in the fifth round with a pick the Penguins acquired by trading the rights to goaltender Chad Johnson to the New York Rangers. Bathgate had shoulder surgery last season, but had four goals and 17 points in 49 games over two seasons with Belleville (Ontario Hockey League).

Alex Velischek, who played on two-time state champion Delbarton High School in New Jersey, also went in the fifth round. He will play at Providence next season.

On Friday night, the Penguins used the last pick in the first round on defenseman Simon Despres of the Saint John Sea Dogs. Despres had two goals and 30 assists in 66 games in the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League last season.

The Calgary Flames have added Jay Bouwmeester to their already impressive defense corps, at least for the next four days.

Bouwmeester, who is eligible to become an unrestricted free agent on Wednesday, was acquired by Calgary in a trade with the Florida Panthers as the NHL entry draft wrapped up Saturday with the final six rounds at the Bell Centre.

Florida acquired Jordan Leopold — also on the verge of free agency — and a third-round pick, which the Panthers used to draft right wing Josh Birkholz 67th overall.

The trade gives Flames GM Darryl Sutter a window of exclusivity in negotiating a new contract with Bouwmeester and his agent, Bryon Baltimore.

“I think we have everybody under contract that we want under contract, and we’re trying to get him under contract,” Sutter said.

The suspense leading up to the start of the 2009 entry draft peaked at its outset Friday night when New York Islanders general manager Garth Snow tabbed high-scoring center John Tavares as the No. 1 pick overall.

Shortly afterwards, Philadelphia acquired defenseman Chris Pronger in a multi-player deal that saw Anaheim reacquire forward Joffrey Lupul.

Those who thought more trades would follow were sorely disappointed. With a few minor deals completed Saturday, aside from the trade involving Bouwmeester, Toronto GM Brian Burke noted that it’s difficult to find a trading partner willing to take on multi-year deals in the current economy.

“Right now, if you’ve got contracts of any term on them it’s really hard to move guys,” Burke said. “I thought there’d be more activity but I’m not quite sure why there wasn’t.”

Leopold, who has been traded four times, also is eligible for free agency next week.

“We’re going to try to sign him,” Sexton said. “We don’t know if we will or not but we’re going to try. We think he’s a mobile puck-moving guy who will be a really fine replacement for Jay.”

The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.