Thursday, June 9, 2011

The Savy Shopper

Glen Sather might actually have made himself a fan in my household after the New York Ranger's General Manager sent the 2 second round picks to the Coyotes in the Tim Erixon trade. The Rangers after the trade now as of this writing only have the 15th pick in the first round , the 106th in the 4th as well as the 134th and 136th picks in the fifth round.

That means someone is not going to spend the money to attend the 2011 NHL Entry Draft in Minnesota even though the New York Islanders will have a total of 9 draft picks. Los Angeles one can make a case to spend a lot of money to attend a draft but sorry Minneapolis you can not.

And while the focus here has been mostly on the Rangers, the Islanders have not been forgotten. The Islanders in their own way have not exactly set done a whole lot better than the Rangers when it comes to drafting.

In many ways they have less of an excuse than the Rangers since they have been drafting from a much higher spot than the Rangers over the last few years. When you have 2 picks in the first last year and 3 (at 31 you are getting a first rounder) in 2009 then you should have 5 NHL players here.

John Tavares is the only one of the 5 who has arrived in the NHL full time but Nino Niederreiter and Mikko Koskinen both had a cameo with the team last season with Nino has a good shot to stick next season. Calvin de Haan is a good bet to make the jump to the Islanders and Garth Snow has been busy in his own right.

The Islanders have signed no less than 6 of their draft picks previous draft picks to begin their pro career next season. It helps make Snow's life a bit easier as now he has some options of his own come draft weekend.

Those 9 draft picks that Garth Snow has are in nice spots starting with the 5th overall pick, then 2 in the second (34th and 50th), 2 in the third (63rd and 65th), 1 in the fourth (95th), 2 again in the fifth (125th and 127th), none in the sixth and finally the 185th in the seventh.

Snow can do many things having 5 of the first 100 draft picks but rather than use all of them in the 2011 draft we would urge him to save some for a rainy day say in 2012. The 2011 draft is not seen as deep in quality but the first glance at the 2012 draft says that draft will be.

Signing Al Montoya to a 1 year deal was a good move by the Islanders who have to find homes for 3 promising goalies but the better move for Snow is to put the Rick Dipietro mess out of the Islander's misery and exile him to the AHL. The future of the Islanders is going to come from a Kevin Poulin or an Anders Nilsson so they need to play.

My favorite for the Islanders to pick at 4 remains Dougie Hamilton who unless the Devils grab him is the better fit for the Islanders. They need size on the blueline, they need someone who is going to be a good fit with Calvin de Haan and that remains Hamilton who in our eyes is the best 2 way defender in the draft.

But if Jersey does take Hamilton then the Islanders would be best served then by going for Niederreiter's Portland teammate Sven Bartschi. Yes go right ahead and tell me how much of a reach the pick is but it is not a reach as Bartschi was 7th when the CSB issued their final rankings.

That ranking was made well before Bartschi went out and showed that he was Portland's best player in the WHL finals. Against Kootenay, it was Bartschi who had 5 goals which was 3 more than Ryan Johansen (3rd pick in 2010) and 4 more than his fellow Swiss teammate Niederreiter.

Any argument you think you can make for someone else can be matched by what Bartschi did all of last season. Yes go ahead and say I am a Portland Winterhawk fan but other than being under 6 feet that is the only strike against Bartschi.

You want to say Ryan Strome is ranked higher? Sure no problem but Garth Snow will tell you that Casey Cizikas and his teammates shut him down and out in the OHL playoffs with physical play.

Sean Couterier you say sorry nice sized kid but when you have a chance to add a player who already has a season full of proven chemistry with another of your own highly ranked players then you take him. Bartschi may not be the biggest dog in the fight but he will not back down from anyone.

Then if we are Snow we do package up some of those extra picks he has and offer them up to see if he can get a 2nd first round pick. If it costs you the twin 2nd rounders to get at least up to 20 then go for it and then use that pick on a defenseman like a Connor Murphy.

Murphy is the defender that was mentioned in yesterday's post and is going to surprise a lot of people. But if Snow can not gain that 2nd first rounder it is not a total loss since 34 is not that far off and that is where you can still get someone who belonged in the 1st round.

34 could get you a Joel Edmundson of Moose Jaw who is a 6'4 200 defenseman who is a bit in the mold of Ranger pick Dylan McIlrath. Good kid who plays a decent defense, needs work on his footwork but has a mean streak in him.

50 puts you where you can take a Lucas Lessio of Oshawa 6'1 left wing who put up 27-27-54 in 66 games. Good nose for the puck, needs work on his skating and reaction time but can give you energy with an offensive touch.

At 63 you can take a risk and grab an Adam Reid (6'4 205) who is heading to Northeastern in the Hockey East. A product of the USNTDP is a good risk as he grows into his game while letting his body mature.

65 then Austin Wuthrich (6'1 190) is going to join Anders Lee at Notre Dame. Wuthrich is coming off a broken leg but was one of the top scorers at the USA 93 Select Camp.

Also heading to Notre Dame is Steven Fogarty (6'2 194) a righty center who just so happens to be from Edina Minnesota just like new teammate Anders Lee. Use the 4th on him as he needs to improve his skating as he does not have a good quick step but projects to be a 2 way player.

Then once you get to the fifth round and beyond take advantage of the European rules and take a couple of Swedes as late round Swedish players have a history of developing into NHLers.

Once last thing for the Islanders if Blake Kessel and Jason Gregoire think they will get more money from other teams by testing free agency; be careful for what you ask for as you might not like what you see.

Kessel is not worth higher than 3rd round money and if he has not noticed Matt Donovan offers more offense and I would have signed Tony DeHart who is the ideal role player.

As for Gregoire, yes he had a very good second half for North Dakota but his best ticket to the NHL would be through the Islanders. Looking elsewhere just might lead you to a couple of years in the minors rather than a quicker route with the Islanders.

The other thing is that NHL GMs not named Sather are not going to give you one-way contracts when you really have not won anything. Really sign with the Islanders on a shorter term contract and earn your bigger money that way.

Oh you were waiting for us to get to the Rangers? With 2 picks in the 5th round your hint will be who shows up on Saturday to the draft table. If it was us we leave Mark Messier with James Schonefeld and Gordie Clark to get some training.

If Sather is not there then expect the unexpected as Schonefeld and Clark would make moves (and yes Glen will be on his cell phone from the golf course).

(Glen Sather courtesy of the New York Rangers)


Ethan Kaiser said...

First off, the Isles have the 5th overall pick, not the 4th, because of the lottery. That said, I don't think that a matter of a year of chemistry in Juniors should make Bartschi the 5th overall pick. If Hamilton or Larsson is there, you have to take them if you're Garth Snow. If not, that means Huberdeau did drop to 5th and it wouldn't be wise to pass on him (I can't imagine Landeskog or Hopkins falling out of the top 3 by any stretch of the imagination). If they really want Bartschi that badly, I'd trade down to the 8th or 9th spot, then use those extra picks acquired and the 2nds or whatever to trade up for another pick in the first round, to get the big 2 way defenseman they need.

Jess Rubenstein said...

Thanks for the correction on the 5th pick.

If you read what I said I did say Hamilton is my first choice to begin with.

Most Mocks that I respect have it

1-RNH, 2-Huberdeau, 3-Landeskog, 4-Larsson

which opens up the door for Snow to take Hamilton.

But I would take Bartschi if I had the chance because of his chemistry with Neiderreiter.

You have a player who you know already fits in with what you have rather than hoping someone might mesh. Bartschi had a great regular season followed by an equally good post-season.

Bartschi was 7th by the CSB so it was not a reach. He outplayed a lot of the folks who were supposedly

And if all things were equal give me a WHL player or a QMJHL player any day/