Monday, July 27, 2009

It Makes Some Sense

The New York Rangers continue what to many of their fans appears to be a hoarding of defensive prospects by signing Sam Klassen on Monday.

To many the addition seems a bit puzzling but after looking closer at the situation as a whole it makes a big of sense what the Rangers are doing.

Klassen is closer to 6'1 195 than what the Rangers listed him as but was a steady defenseman for the Saskatoon Blades of the WHL. His numbers are not going to shatter any records but at the very least Klassen does play a responsible defensive minded game.

Klassen best trait is that he is a very strong skater which in the Tortorella system is a huge key, that he plays a strong defense is also going to help his cause since odds are his partner is going to be an offensive minded defender.

As to why he signed when the Rangers are getting closer and closer to the 50 contract limit is not as big a mystery once you look at the prospect picture as a whole. There are going to be homes for all of the Ranger defensive prospects but where each player winds up is the bigger question.

The Ranger prospect page currently lists 16 defensive prospects not including the just signed Klassen (which makes it 17) but once we start doing some moving around then you might see why they keep adding defensemen. This list also does not include any players signed to either Hartford or Charlotte contracts as we do not consider them as Ranger prospects until they earn a Ranger contract.

Right off the bat one can scratch Ivan Baranka, Ilya Gorokhov, Pavel Valentenko, and Mikhail Pashnin off the list as those four are going to play in Russia next season. Ryan McDonagh is not going to attend training camp but will return to the Wisconsin Badgers for his junior year so that brings the number down to 12 prospects.

Michael Del Zotto may get a long look at training camp but unless a miracle happens he will be returning to London of the OHL where he can work on improving his defensive skills. Mitch Gaulton (Erie OHL) and Daniel Maggio (Sudbury) will also be sent back to their respective CHL teams so now the number is down to 9.

Despite the wishes of Ranger fans odds are that Wade Redden as well as Michal Rozsival will join Marc Staal and Dan Girardi as the top 4 Ranger defensemen. Which leaves the question: will the Rangers gamble on carrying 2-3 rookies to start the season?

Say for argument's sake the Rangers choose Matt Gilroy, Corey Potter and Bobby Sanguinetti as the 3 rookies. That now leaves the just signed Klassen, Michael Sauer, Tysen Dowzak, Nigel Williams, Tomas Kundratek, Ilkka Heikkinen, and David Urquhart (Hartford contract) for the Wolfpack to start next season with.

And as much as Rangers fans might not like this but it means that the Rangers are still short defensemen. Expect the Rangers to add at least 1 more defenseman for the Rangers as well as another 1-2 more for Hartford.

Reason why we believe this is that one can not take into account injuries or defections to Europe.
Tomas Kundratek is going to be hard to send back to the WHL because he will count as both an import player and an overager. Most junior teams try to avoid situations like that so if he can not make the Hartford roster he might return to Europe rather than play in Charlotte.

So what appears at first glance that the Rangers have too many defensemen, it turns out they actually are still short at least 2-3 more for the entire system.

Got to give them some credit here folks as they are in the right.

Note: Sam Klassen does have WHL eligibility remaining so he could wind up returning to the WHL for another season if he is not AHL or ECHL ready.


I grew up exactly 4 stops away on the 7 train from Shea Stadium; to say that I was not a diehard Mets fan as a kid would be an understatement. Now I am glad I am 3000 miles from the embarrassment they call the Mets.

I should be proud that a former high school classmate of mine has done something special in becoming the General Manager of the Mets. Yet I wonder how the guy who once was the class president in high school turned out to be such a jerk.

After seeing what Omar Minaya pulled on Adam Rubin of the Daily News I wonder if I can root for this team again as long as both Omar is General Manager and the Wilpons own them. I never thought I would see the day when someone could top the Glen Sather "They are a bunch of assassins" description of Ranger fans.

Now I have after the crock that Minaya tried to pull in explaining why he had trouble at first believing that his former assistant Tony Bernazard did what Adam Rubin wrote about. Minaya implied Rubin was after Bernazard's job and then a couple of hours later offer an apology that he really did not mean but offered it anyway

I walk in Rubin's shoes myself all the time as I have my own dreams of growing a career bigger than what I do here. I dream of getting a NHL scouting position, a place in a hockey team's front office or even writing for a larger audience than where I am today.

To make those dreams a reality would it not make sense to ask those who are already in positions like I dream about how the best way to get there is? When I started doing this for the Blueshirt Bulletin I asked 2 experienced writers how to do the job, how to write and how to grow as a writer.

As I learned to scout I asked those who scout for NHL teams how to do the job, how they got their start and what advice they had to offer. The same is asked of coaches, GMs, owners and anyone who works in the hockey field.

It is the very best way to learn what it takes to make a dream come true. You are not going to find this stuff in a textbook someplace. Asking these people also helps you get your name out there as you never know who might suggest where to look for a job.

Even Jeff Wilpon conceded that Rubin never lobbied directly for a job as he acknowledged that he gets those kinds of questions all the time. Yet Omar sure did his worst to toss Rubin in the path of a 7 train in a lame attempt to divert attention from the real issue which was Bernazard's behavior.

If anything Adam Rubin did more for me than he will ever realize by seeing that he too wants to make a dream of his own come true. Sadly for him Omar may have ruined Rubin's dreams for but what Rubin went though strengthened my own resolve to make my own dreams come true.

Thank you Adam.

(Klassen pic courtesy of the Saskatoon Blades)


A Simple Rangers Fan said...

Now that the D is covered, what about the offense? Are there enough forwards in camp to make this work?

Ed said...

Jess, in some ways Wilpon's situation is very similar to the Dolans at NYR. When in doubt, call Daddy.

Ed K

Jess Rubenstein said...


There are numbers yes but are they the right parts NO.

They lack playmakers to feed the scorers


Actually I was thinking that both Ranger and Met fans are wishing that both kids had run away from home as kids and never returned

Lee said...

If Kundratek is still 19 (Dec.26'89 per HockeyDB) does he count as overager?