One of the ways we try to get an understanding about Ranger draft picks is to talk to as many different folks as possible. The more people talk to the better a picture that can be drawn.
We have been in touch with the Swift Current Broncos and their coach/GM Dean Chynoweth and they will be talking to us next week once the annual CHL Import Draft is over (Yo Broncos it is spelled E-V-G-E-N-Y G-R-A-C-H-E-V).
We also like talking to those who cover the teams as nobody sees a player from a great position every night than the team's play by play announcer. In the case of the Swift Current Broncos his name is Jon Keen and as we have discovered Jon is quite the character.
Keen is perhaps one of the very few announcers who another team has used his words as bulletin board material as the Regina Pats were taking stuff from his blog Keen's Korner as motivation material.
If you take the time to read his stuff the first thing you will realize is that Jon Keen does not wear rose colored glasses. Do not mistake that being the Bronco announcer means that Keen does not know his hockey as he really does. Keen reports on all things hockey so he really does his homework.
Jon was kind enough to talk to us over the phone about Dale Wiese and we have real reason to be excited about this young man.
PP: Jon thanks for taking the time to talk to us about Dale today. Can we start with how to pronounce his name?
Jon Keen: It is my pleasure to be here, Dale's name is Wiese (Wee-ise) as some people have pronounced it as Weiss but this is a kid who what you see is what you get.
PP: Tell about about him then
JK: Dale is a big kid, he is a big framed physical player, a power forward type of player which was his role here with the Broncos. He also has a lot of skill, Dale had some injuries this past season but when he was in the lineup he was our most effective player and that says a lot on a veteran laden team that was built to make a bit of a run.
Dale Wiese has a cannon of a shot, he has good skating ability and he is just such a physical force. He will finish checks, he will chase dump ins and he will rock dmen with his checks.
PP: We saw that he was 6'2 and already has an NHL sized body, is it pretty muscular, is he a work out demon or what is he?
JK: Well I will not say he is a workout demon but he is in such (good) physical shape. He just kind of put on a lot of mass in the course of last season's off-season. He came to camp a little bigger and a little stronger. He just has such good technique and he comes at you with lots of speed.
You are familiar with Ryan Hollweg (Hollweg was a punisher during his WHL days); well he does not have the build of Hollweg but Wiese is a crasher like that but with more skill offensively.
PP: We believe Wiese will be coming back to Swift Current as an overager so what kind of team will we see next season rebuilding or contending?
JK: Well that is the thing, the Broncos don't expect Dale Wiese along with another 1988 born player that was drafted Zach Smith (a Senator's pick) who was the captain of the team last year to come back. The Broncos are fully expecting Dale to sign a contract and be in Hartford or somewhere with the Rangers for next season.
You know whenever you are a NHL team and you use a 4th round pick on a 19 year old like the Rangers did you usually have plans for him . Those will be 2 key losses but they (the Broncos) will be returning a pretty good nucleus of players, our top goaltender Travis Yonkman who will be a 20 year old. The team will not be as strong as last season but I would say rebuilding either. The Broncos will be somewhere in the mix.
PP: Most of our readers are thinking "Where in the world is Swift Current?" but what they do not realize is that Swift Current has produced some pretty special NHL players come out of there right?
JK: (laughing) Yea most noticeably has to be Joe Sakic as he is the one who is always linked to Swift Current for all the things he has done in the NHL and is still doing with the Colorado Avalanche. If you want to go way back to the ancient times then there is Bryan Trottier who is another big player who came thought the ranks here.
Those 2 are always the ones referred to as the big players, as we speak the Broncos will be inducting Tyler Wright (just retired after 14 NHL seasons). They (the Broncos) have a good history of (producing) NHL players like Brad Larsen (Thrashers), Ian White (Maple Leafs), Jeremy Williams (Maple Leafs) and they are hoping that this new group of drafted players (4 Broncos were drafted) led by Dale Wiese who will become the next generation.
PP: Getting back to Dale, we read at your website that Dale was the winner of the "Chairman of the Board". What exactly award is that one? (Weiss also was named Fans Most Popular)
JK: It is not such a strange award as it has a unique title to it. It means the player who really is the most physical along the boards, the "Chairman of the Board" is the guy who throws his weight around and is a physical player.
It is an award that goes to the guy who will rattle those boards and Dale certainly brings that.
PP: Ranger fans will just love hearing that one then. So Jon let us end this by saying "here is your chance to talk directly to the Ranger fans about Dale Wiese" so have at it. Why will they get excited about Dale?
JK: Ranger fans will get excited about Dale Wiese because he will play any way you want him to. You want up and down game with skill, you want a physical grinding game in the corners, a physical affair he will play it. You want to drop the gloves so will Dale, it is a very rare player who can play any way you want to play the game.
That is a skill that so few player have and if you want to get excited about a player there is Dale Wiese. He is a player who can play straight up or go any way you want to go.
We have to thank Jon Keen for helping us out here for helping us get to know a little about Dale.
The Flower is a Rocket (for now)
The other day one of our readers MarkO reported that 2007 2nd round pick goalie Antoine Lafleur was traded by the Prince Edward Island Rocket earlier this month. We in all honesty did not see this because it never was offically announced as a trade.
It turns out that Lafleur remains a member of the Prince Edward Island Rocket at least for now but coming off his perfomance at day 3 of the Ranger summer school that the Rocket might not be in such a rush to move him when the QMJHL teams open camp in August.
We hope to hear from Rocket coach Guy Chouinard about Lafleur and 2008 5th rounder Chris Doyle as we sent him questions on both prospects. This week Chouinard like the rest of the CHL leagues are preparing for the CHL Import Draft.
We expect that Evgeny Grachev and Tomas Kundratek will be selected in this year's draft . Since both we selected by the Rangers BEFORE they were picked in the import draft then both players are eligible to play for Hartford before turning 20.
That might become a factor as to who might select either player. If we had a choice then it would be WHL for Grachev because it is more rugged and physical. Then the OHL for Kundratek because that league has been doing a very good job developing defensemen (like Staal, Sanguinetti and some kid named Del Zotto)
We will have results tomorrow
(Wiese picture courtesy of the Swift Current Broncos, Jon Keen: Keen's Korner)
5 hours ago