Tuesday, April 13, 2010

And the Winner Was Not Us

If you blinked and missed out on the NHL's Draft Lottery there is no need to worry as nothing happened. The Rangers went into the lottery with the 10th pick in the 2010 Entry Draft and came away in the same spot.

It would have been nice to see the Ranger able to make that move up to the 6th spot but the options for this year's 10th spot are not too shabby. Barring a miracle the hopes of getting Nino Niederreiter are gone as the number of NHL scouts at Portland Winterhawk games increased as the season went on.

By playoff time, I doubt that anyone had not taken a look at Niederreiter and he is more than likely going to go 5th -7th in this year's draft. But the Rangers can remain in Portland and still get a high quality player as just like Niederreiter there is another Winterhawk who's draft stock has been rising with a bullet.

We are talking about Niederreiter's linemate and center Ryan Johansen who is a nice 6'3 190 lbs. Johnansen is coming off a 25-44-63 +17 rookie season with the Winterhawks (toss in a 6-12-18 +3 in the WHL playoffs) and could be the answer to the Ranger's problems finding a first line center.

Johansen was part of Portland's "four letter word" line and actually put up better numbers than Niederreiter (but only because he played 6 more games). Johansen is a talented center who could and should be able to remain in the middle.

Really like his skating, his decision making and his willingness to jump into traffic. Do not let the 53 PIMs fool you as Johnansen does play a physical game and the best part about him is that I think he is still growing.

What makes this a good pick is that Johansen can go back to Portland next season and be a part of what should be a WHL Championship contender. There is no question that Johansen is going to be an impact player as those playoff numbers I put up earlier meant he not only led the Winterhawks in playoff scoring but was 3rd overall in the WHL.

I will get into other options as the post season goes by as we are going to have a long way to go before June 25th.

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