This is the second time in two years that the Penguins have had the first-overall pick in the draft. In 2003, they used the pick to select blue-chip goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury.
Last summer, the Washington Capitals held the top choice and took Russian star Alexander Ovechkin.
With the second pick, the Mighty Ducks of Anaheim chose right wing Bobby Ryan of the Owen Sound, who netted 37 goals in 62 games.
Carolina chose defenseman Jack Johnson of the U.S. National program with the third pick. Johnson is widely regarded as the best defenseman available in the draft pool.
He scored 14 goals and had 27 assists in 52 games for USA Hockey's Under-18 squad this past season.