Saturday, June 27, 2009

Scratching the Head

History is going to eventually judge how good or bad the New York Rangers did with their selections at the 2009 NHL Entry Draft turned out to be. For now when looking at the selections there are some that do leave us scratching our heads and wondering why.

Day 2 in our eyes got off to a promising start when the Rangers selected Ethan Werek of the Kingston Frontenacs. Werek is a player we do like because he is what we wanted out of the first round; a rugged hard working player willing to get his hands dirty to make plays.

Werek is coming off a good rookie season with Kingston but we think he is going to have an even better 2009-10 season now that he is understanding what he needs to do as a top level player.

Even better was how Werek ended his rookie season with the Frontenacs as despite not making the playoffs, Werek played his best hockey in February (6-7-13 -1, 6 PIM). Werek is coached by Doug Gilmour who took over as the coach of Frontenacs last November and from that point forward Werek became a player (26 goals).

Werek needs work on his defense as well as his hockey sense but the presence of Gilmour is going to help mature Werek.

Werek is listed as a center but we do see his future out on the wing as his willingness to play a physical game will open up the ice for his linemates. Look for him at Hartford in 2 years.

Ryan Bourque is an interesting pick as the son of Ray Bourque is going to have to listen to how great a player his father was. Stop those thoughts right there because other than the last name and the drive to work hard there is nothing in common.

Bourque nobody is going to question his offensive skill but if people were worried about Prucha or Dawe's size then Bourque is even smaller. In a division where physical play is on the upswing then Bourque who is 5'9 170 is going to need to a bodyguard.

Bourque is going to be a playmaker at the NHL level if he gets there but there are concerns about his ability to play defense as there have been with anyone who is Bourque's size.

Bourque is going to play for the Quebec Remparts of the QMJHL rather than attend the University of New Hampshire. It is a move we like because Bourque will get a chance to show he can play against the goons and be forced out of a comfort zone.

Roman Horak was taken by Rangers with the 127th pick (5th rd) and we will be honest we do not know anything about him. Nobody has a solid scouting report so we are going to wait to see who picks him in the CHL Import Draft as the team (league) that selects him will give us more of a clue about him.

The Rangers say that Scott Stajcer will get to spend the next couple of years playing at Owen Sound growing and developing but if the Rangers really wanted a goalie at this spot then Brandon Maxwell is who we would have taken.

We are just not sure that Stajcer is as promising as the Rangers do. Yes Stajcer was the 5th rated goalie in North America on the final ranking from Central Scouting.

What the Rangers are not saying is that Stajcer dropped from being the 2nd ranked goalie at the midterm ranking. We also disagree that Stajcer was the Attack starter because it looked more like Stajcer split time with Tyler Beskorowany (2008 2nd Dallas).

Stajcer has a lot to prove but the advantage he does have is that in the OHL goalies are always at a premium so if he does not start for Owen Sound then odds are good that he will be traded and given other chances to earn a starting role. We will be impressed if Stajcer actually gets to stay with Owen Sound for the next 2 years.

In the 6th round the Rangers selected a project defenseman from the Sudbury Wolves in Daniel Maggio. This in our eyes is a project player worth gambling on for a number of reasons.

We will start with his size (6'2 200), Maggio is a stay at home defender who will play the body and he plays for Mike Foligno who has a proven track record of producing NHL talent. There is also one other detail which encourages us; our experience with teams that have former Ranger defensemen as assistant coaches.

The Wolves just hired Jeff Beukeboom from the Barrie Colts to become an assistant coach. We have no doubt that if Maggio's knee is sound and he works as hard as his new coach used to then the Rangers might have themselves a steal here.

For the Ranger's 7th round pick we will direct you over to Lauri at Beyondtheblueshirts as her take on Pashnin is the best and most objective out there. We know little about him other than what we read at Lauri's site.

In checking our notes from the previous World Junior Championships Pashnin's name did not come up very often but this is a no lose pick for the Rangers. Without a transfer agreement the Rangers will hold on to Pashnin's rights forever as it stands now.

If the KHL falls apart and Pashnin decides to try the NHL then the Rangers will have first crack at him. If not then considering where the Rangers were selecting at that point (200th) then they really did not lose anything here.


Post Draft Thoughts

Maybe it was because the Rangers did so well with the 2008 that our overall grade here after looking at everything is B-. Sather talked about how important the draft is but yet some of these picks were suspect when you see what the other options were.

Time as we said at the start will tell whether these picks will pan out.

The trade for Chad Johnson is a sign to us that the Rangers are not so sold on the future of Miika Wiikman who lost his starter's job to Matt Zaba. Johnson we saw play against Michigan is a good trade as he brings size and some skill to the position.

The other deal for Brian Boyle smacks of Sather doing an old friend a favor (this case Dean Lombardi) and trying to fix the career of a first round pick that has gone nowhere. Think Sather is 0 for all of them as a Ranger GM.

The Islanders had a chance to walk away from this draft a franchise to fear in the next couple of years. They started strong with Tavares, did not need to pay extra to get a solid defender in De Haan but then went goalie crazy.

The Rangers should send Garth Snow a huge thank you because the Islanders should have had 5 solid picks in the first 2 rounds and came away with just 2.

And the Winner is

In our eyes the Colorado Avalanche came out of this draft with the best prospects. Duchene at the top is a Sakic clone, Ryan O'Reilly of Erie gives them leadership, Stefan Elliott a strong defender, Tysen Barrie a power play QB, and a goalie who is going to help Windsor repeat as Memorial Cup Champs in Brandon Maxwell.

Be happy the Rangers only face the Avs twice a year.

(Pictures: Werek and Stajcer: Aaron Bell/OHL, Bourque: USA Hockey, Maggio: Sudbury Wolves and Pashnin: Day Life/Euro Sport)


Kalel9 said...

I liked this draft better than you seem to have. Other than the ponderous Boyle deal, I thought they were using the same intelligent methodology they used last year to make their picks. They got very productive forwards who have scored, a developmental goalie and a nearly ready goalie, another Dman who had fallen on injury, and an intriguing Russian D. So, they addded talent and production and took advantage of some players who had fallen late. Seemed like a continuation of last year's fine draft.

Amos said...

hey jess i googled kreider the other night and came upon an incredibly long HF boards thread about him. it was really interesting, and it got me looking forward to seeing kreider maybe line up with stepan one day... what do you think?

Kalel9 said...

Here are some Grachev Highlights to cheer you up, Jess.

Mike said...

Jess any thoughts on any of these prospect camp invites that the rangers have. some of them while slightly older obviously like Pither and Chappel but seem to have put up good numbers this past year. is that just because they were old for the league are could they be late bloomers? thanks