Now that we have spent the last week talking about what is wrong with the Rangers, who we want to keep or get rid of and which free agents to pick up; it is time to look further down the road and start trying to think about those prospects we think the Rangers might draft with their pick in the first round.
The first issue that needs to be addressed is what exactly do the Rangers need? In our eyes the number one issue is size whether it is a defender, a center or a winger. No matter which position we want to see the Rangers go after someone who has size but also that player must use that size.
The second issue is where exactly are the Rangers going to pick? According to our own understanding of the CBA, the NHL rules and anything else then we believe the Rangers will select 19th.
If the Rangers pick 19th, 20th or 21st then in any event we believe the Rangers will come away with a high quality player who will help the franchise in the coming years. With the draft now 5 weeks away then we expect players to have their stock rise and fall with each passing day.
Until the NHL holds their annual combine then we think things will change so much that we are debating about posting a list of those we hope are still there when the Rangers do pick.
As we talk about each player we hope to be able to also post a video clip of said prospect in action instead of a picture. We believe showing you why we like a certain player will go a lot further this way. In some cases because of the league where someone plays in that we could not.
We start with a player that we had hoped would have remained on the QT in Colten Teubert of the Regina Pats in the WHL. A 6'4 bruising defender who people have compared to Chris Pronger, his stock has risen to the point where we think he will be long gone by the time the Rangers picked but we still want to show why we liked him.
This was the kind of play that made us simply like Teubert to the point where we would even consider suggesting the Rangers try to move up to get him. This is a prospect that hits, that will not allow anyone to take liberties with his teammates but the best part is that he is still growing.
Number 2 on our list is a 6'3 center who as the season went on got better and better by the name of Greg Nemisz who plays for Windsor in the OHL. Nemisz is coming off a 34-33-67 season. People have compared Nemisz to Jeff Carter only a better skater and with a stronger forecheck.
What stood out about Nemisz is how he responded after the untimely passing of his teammate Mickey Renaud. His Windsor Spitfire team needed players to step up in the wake of this tragic lost and step up Nemisz did. In the 10 games after Renaud passed away, Nemisz went 8-7-15 including a 5 game scoring streak.
We would love to see what Nemiez will look like once Reg Grant gets his hands on him. The scary thought is a 6'3 200 lb. player who people think needs to bulk up. We would love the sight of unleashing Nemisz upon the rest of the Atlantic divison with his size and skill.
Our number 3 is a player (sorry no video) who is one the Rangers would have to wait on since he is heading to UMass/Amherst and that is a 6'2 215 lb defender named John Carlson. While watching Danny Hobbs this year this defender caught our eye. Super solid 2 way defender who had he gone the CHL route would have been a Top 10 pick but because he played in the USHL did not get the attention he deserved.
In our book he is as good as any of the Top 5 defensemen, he can skate, hit, has a high hockey IQ and is poised beyond his young years. We liken him to Ron Hainsey who we are hoping the Rangers sign as a UFA. Oh did we mention that Carlson is also from Colonia, NJ?
Because Carlson is heading to the NCAAs then we are not expecting him to attend the combine but we know the Rangers know all about him because of Hobbs so this is a player to watch.
Number 4 on our list is going to be perhaps the most misunderstood prospect this side of Kyle Beach in 6'5 195 LW Joe Colborne who played for Camrose of the AJHL. Colborne is one of those love him if you spent time watching him and hate him if you only saw one game or two of him.
Here is a start as to why we like him 33-57-90 in 55 games for the Kodiaks. We toss in a player who we know uses his size to his advantage, a touch of will not avoid traffic OR physical contact and then blend in some of the softest hands in the first round.
People look at what his family background is (blueblood) and think that Colborne is missing a work ethic. Anyone who knows how WE operate knows that we check work ethic and heart FIRST so if we have no worries then we know the Rangers do not either.
Here is a quickie video so do not blink and you will see one reason why to like him.
We will stop at 5 today so last but NOT at all least is a High Schooler who catches our eye because we think he does not know what position he wants to play. We are talking about a 6'2 MinnetonKa HS (MN) defenseman or forward Jake Gardiner.
Actually we know Gardiner is going to play defense after being moved there from forward and he has simply been outstanding. What is nice to think about is that Gardiner is still growing.
Gardiner is going to attend Wisconsin and while we could not post a direct video we did find this site that did a feature on him here and has a video with some very nice moves on his part.
We stuck with North American players for this report in part because we think the Rangers need to find players willing to be physical. Tomorrow we will look at the Europeans before going back to where we think prospects will fall.
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