The waiting game: Pittsburgh elects not to send 2020 first-round pick to Wild

Bill Guerin
Bill Guerin addresses the media before his induction into the United States Hockey Hall of Fame in Detroit, Monday, Dec. 2, 2013. Guerin is an American retired professional ice hockey player and current player development coach for the Pittsburgh Penguins. (AP Photo/Carlos Osorio)

The Wild won’t have a second first-round pick in this year’s draft.

As you can see in the below tweet from Pierre LeBrun, the Pittsburgh Penguins have informed the Wild that they will be keeping the 15th overall pick in the October draft. That means the Wild will get the Penguins’ first-round pick in 2021. That selection will have no protection attached to it.

Wild general manager Bill Guerin obtained a first-round pick from the Penguins in the February trade that sent winger Jason Zucker to Pittsburgh. The Wild got veteran forward Alex Galchenyuk, defenseman prospect Calen Addison and the draft pick.

The agreement was that the Wild would have received the Penguins’ pick in 2020, if Pittsburgh made the playoffs. The Penguins almost certainly would have done so if the coronavirus pandemic hadn’t forced the season to be paused in March.

The NHL’s return to play this month led to a qualifying round that had the fifth-seeded Penguins facing 12th-seeded Montreal. The qualifying round was considered the playoffs, but wasn’t called the first round. When the Penguins were upset by Montreal, Pittsburgh entered the lottery and although they did not win, they did get the right to keep their first pick.

The Wild, who lost to Vancouver in the qualifying round, will have the ninth selection in the draft.