Sunday, June 20, 2010


Barring a trade which might lead to rioting at the various New York Ranger draft parties, somewhere around 8-8:30 EDT on Friday we should know who the Rangers have used their first round pick on. It has been a lot of fun to watch people try to guess who the Rangers will use their pick on.

The hard part of playing guessing games is that nobody really knows how things will shake out once Taylor Hall and Tyler Seguin are picked. The variables of how the NHL Entry Draft goes begin with the 3rd pick as nobody knows for sure what the Florida Panthers will do there.

Most people expect the Panthers to go for one of the 3 top prospect defensemen but what if the Panthers toss a huge curve and go for say a Brett Connolly? If not for the injuries Connolly suffered last season in Prince George; the odds were excellent that Connolly would have been at the top of the draft with Taylor Hall.

All it will take is one team to toss a curve and by the time the Rangers select at 10 that they could face a very difficult decision. There is no question that the Rangers need more scoring in their system and that taking a forward would be the easy choice.

But what if a Brandon Gormley is sitting there when the Rangers pick? How do you really draft at that spot? Do you go with what you need or do you grab the best player available?  Would you trade down to get the most use out of that pick and regain some of the lost picks the Rangers have traded away?

It is easy for me to sit here and go boy let me do this or that move. I think it is no secret that given any say in the matter that if it was up to me then I want Nino Niederreiter of the Portland Winterhawks. Niederreiter will bring more than just his on ice ability to whoever drafts him and in many ways that is just as important to a franchise these days.

Niederreiter is going to bring excitement to his new team which in turn will put people in the stands and that helps all of the NHL. We forget at times that we also expect our players to be entertainers and that their charisma can do a ton for fan support.

For Ranger fans the best example of this was Mark Messier who's presence alone gave Ranger fans hope of winning and was the identity of the Ranger team. Messier was not the most talented player on the Rangers during his time as Brian Leetch was but there was never denying that without Messier there is no 1994.

In it's own way charisma is going to decide who goes number one in the draft as in my eyes it is Taylor Hall who the Edmonton Oilers select more because of his name value than his talent. It is something that few teams want to admit is a factor when they make their draft picks.

Come Friday night we will find out how this plays out when the Rangers make that pick.


If I was a betting man then I would say that even if Pavel Valentenko comes back to North America that he won't make the Rangers next season. Too many questions about his heart and work ethic make him highly suspect in our eyes.

What the Rangers should hope happens is that Valentenko does enough to attract interest from another team as the Rangers can not afford to have another problem player in the system. Refusing to report to Hamilton when Valentenko belonged to the Canadians should be one huge red flag.

That he is leaving his KHL team not for opportunity but because of money should raise another. It is sad to say that about a player but can anyone picture Valentenko not winding up in John Tortorella's doghouse?
See why I am not excited about his coming back to North America? The Rangers still have better options among their other prospects at defense.


Tomorrow night I will be joining the folks at Blueshirt Banter for a chat about the draft. Come check it out as I would enjoy getting a chance to talk to anyone about the draft. Go to the Blueshirt Banter and join us at 8:30 PM EDT.

I will be in LA starting on Friday and will be filing reports though out the day. Still unsure whether we will be hosting a live chat here or at the Blueshirt Bulletin. We will know later this week.

(Niederreiter courtesy of the Portland Winterhawks)

No comments: