The 2007 NHL Entry Draft has been almost a total disaster for the New York Rangers; first round pick Alexi Cherepanov passed away, second round pick Antoine Lafleur failed to develop and seventh round pick David Skokan bolted to Europe rather than play in Charlotte.
With the Rangers not having picks in the third or fourth rounds, then the only remaining prospects are three late round college prospects Max Campbell (Western Michigan 5th Rd), Carl Hagelin (Michigan 6th) and Danny Hobbs (UMass 7th). Of those three, Carl Hagelin has been the most noticeable playing for Michigan which has been an annual NCAA Frozen Four contender.
The problem for Hagelin though has been his getting off to slow start during his first 2 seasons at Michigan; a problem that Hagelin acknowledged because he was not able to get his off-season ice workouts in. That might not have been a problem during this past off-season judging from the performance Hagelin put on in 2 exhibition games this weekend.
Saturday against Team USA's Under-18 squad, Hagelin scored 2 goals including the game winner. On Sunday Hagelin repeated his performance of 2 goals including the game winner and added an assist to earn First Star honors as his Michigan Wolverines whipped the Windsor Lancers 6-2.
Instead of just talking about Hagelin's efforts head over to here and take a look at the video yourself as "The Carl Hagelin Show" starts at 1:10 and goes for 3 straight Michigan goals. 2 straight goals and an assist to give the junior from Sweden a 4-1-5 weekend.
We are not the only ones to take notice of Hagelin's play as his own coach the Legendary Red Bernenson had this to say about Hagelin from the post game report (courtesy of www.mGoBlue.com):
On Carl Hagelin's two power-play goals ... "It will be interesting. Carl has shown that he is able to play. We're definitely seeing some really good things from him. Carl felt that he played really well last year, but he wasn't capitalizing on his chances. Now you can see that the puck is going in for him. So even last night there were a couple loose puck goals or rebound goals or he might have been standing in front of the net and found the puck and put it in. Last year they would have hit the post or the goalie. It's good that he is gaining some confidence and he had a great weekend."
Hagelin has always been a very good defensive forward who has offensive skills but if this is any indication of what to expect from him on offense then 20 goals just be too low a prediction for him.
You Know You Wanted to Ask
Cmon you know you want to know how 2009 1st round pick Chris Kreider did in his debut with the Boston College Eagles? How would you judge a 1 assist, 2 shots, +3 evening as Boston College had little trouble defeating St. Francis Xavier 4-1 in an exhibition game.
Kreider also showed an aggressive side too taking a charging penalty late in the contest.
It may be one game but it was not bad to see Kreider used in a variety of situations to see what he is made of and even harder to find fault with the performance. We are talking a major jump in quality of competition for Kreider and BC coach Jerry York can not be unhappy with Kreider's preformance.
For the record, Krieder's first college point was a secondary assist on Matt Lombardi's goal just 1:49 into the game. Kreider did not look nervous as one might have expected given the circumstances and it will be interesting to watch as BC plays a pretty tough schedule.
Rest of the Prospects
It took Tomas Kundratek (2008 3rd) just 2 games to settle back in with the Medicine Hat Tigers as Kundratek earned 2nd Star of the Game honors as his Tigers earned a 4-3 shoot out win over the Edmonton Oil Kings. Kundratek had one assist but was an important factor on the Tiger penalty kill which held the Oil Kings to 1 for 8 on their power plays.
It is understandable that Kundratek was disappointed not to be kept by the Rangers but he deserves some praise for sticking it out in the WHL instead of heading back to Europe as other prospects have done.
Kundratek as we have said in the past is the ideal defensive prospect in the Tortorella system; he is a smooth skater who has a great first pass out of the defensive zone. Our concern has been about his maturity level as he at times wants to be "Too North American" (fight, make the big hit Dion Phanuef is his idol) rather than go with his strengths and be Tomas Kundratek.
Ryan Bourque (2009 3rd) scored his 3rd goal of the QMJHL season but his Quebec Remparts lost 5-2 to the Lewiston MAINEaics. Bourque is looking like he is almost back to full strength just in time for his team to start playing like they are sick.
Ethan Werek (2009 2nd) was not in the lineup for the Kingston Frontenacs as they were beaten by the Windsor Spitfires 6-3. The Kingston Frontenacs reported that Werek missed the game due to the Flu (UPDATED 10/5 4:20 PM)
Luke Pither (Traverse City) saw his 6 game scoring streak come to an end as his Barrie Colts were beaten 6-2 by the Mississauga St. Michael's Majors. Pither was 9-4-13.
Luke Walker (Traverse City) set up linemate Chris Francis at 2:49 of overtime as the Portland Winterhawks upset the Kamloops Blazers 4-3 on the road. Walker also got into his first fight of the season a draw at best with Brandon Underwood.
It was an ugly penalty filled game where both teams combined for 30 infractions and 74 minutes in penalties. The WHL thought they were going to lower the amount of fighting when they came up with their new rules.
After 3 weeks they might want to revisit those rules cause fighting appears to be on the upswing.
(Hagelin/Michigan, Krieder/New York Rangers, Tomas Kundratek/New York Rangers)
7 hours ago