Saturday, June 23, 2012

Plenty of winners with 1 huge loser

(Courtesy Edmonton Oil Kings)
Rest easy New York Islander and New York Ranger fans; the first round of the 2012 is over and both teams used their picks well. The Islanders selected Griffin Reinhart of the Edmonton Oil Kings with the 4th pick of the draft and this one is the future leader of the Islander defense.

Reinhart is a player I am very familiar with having covered his teammate Micheal St. Croix last season. The Islander fans will like Reinhart's steady presence on the ice as he doesn't rattle under pressure.

Reinhart's nickname is "Big Cat" and it is well deserved as the 6'3 defender is a smooth skater who knows when to pounce. Strong presence who had a good 12-24-36 +23 season for the WHL Champions and was one of the Oil King assistant captains last season.

Islander fans will like Reinhart's on ice discipline as he doesn't rattle under pressure, Reinhart is also not afraid to take a hit in order to make a play and will fight to protect a teammate.

Sorry Islander fans, Reinhart is not a serious candidate to make the Islanders next season. Let him grow into his body and he also has a chance to play in a second Memorial Cup (and most likely the WJC too).

Toss in adding Lubomir Visnovsky from the Ducks for a 2nd round pick improves the Islander defense right away and Visnovsky's veteran presence will help teach some of younger Islander defensemen how to play at the NHL level. It was a move that the Islanders really needed to make as they make over the team (yet again).

I knew that the Rangers would do as they have done during the last 4 drafts with their first round pick and that is go against the "experts." But when you look at the whole picture of Brady Skjei then once again the pick makes sense and fits what the Rangers are trying to do.

U.S. NTDP head coach Danton Cole

“His game has improved greatly, both offensively and defensively. He's a tremendous skater and a good example of a guy who understands the little nuances of playing defense. He's thrived in the [USNTDP] program and is a physical specimen; he's big and strong and has made great strides in learning how to play the game. His angling is good and he has put himself in a really good position moving forward in his career.”

Basically we have a defender who does the blue collar act like Tortorella prefers. He is no Brian Leetch but playing at Minnesota will hopefully allow him to work on his offensive side of the game.

If you are upset with this pick but sorry you don't have a legit reason to be because this was a player that the Rangers felt would fit in with what they as a franchise are trying to do. It is not a reach pick (final CSB rank was 19th) and sorry if you want to argue that this was a bad pick then forget it, you already lost because you aren't following the blueprint.

Pick prospects who are physically strong, can skate, and are used to winning. Players who think team first, glory second and that is Brady Skjei.

Skjei is coming off a gold medal with the USA Under-18 team, he was already invited to the USA Hockey Summer Evaluation Camp joining JT Miller and Steven Fogarty and he is going to play for Minnesota which is a traditional US College hockey power so he will be playing against the best in NCAA college hockey.

Yes he has warts like he doesn't have a great shot from the point, his passing game is for the most part weak and at times he doesn't look for his offense. Those are areas that are fixable but his body is already NHL ready, his skating is as well (his uncle runs an NHL level skating academy)

Results work for me and while not every pick is going become stars; Clark's track record since taking over as Director of Player Personal has had a lot more winners than misses.

I had the Rangers picking Ludvik Bystrom of Sweden if they could not get Henrik Samuelsson. This is an even better pick when you look at how he fits in with previous Ranger picks and what John Tortorella is trying to do.

In his own way you might think Ryan McDonagh when he was a freshman at Wisconsin. McDonagh couldn't get his shot on goal unless it had a seeing eye dog leading it.

Skjei for 28 is a winner in my book but now what do the Rangers do tomorrow? No offense but I am not getting up at 7 AM on a Saturday morning to find out.


Wow really NHL and Comcast, you show me the NFL or NBA being kicked off ESPN for track and field. Are you kidding me track and field qualifiers for the Olympic games gets the NHL shuffled off first to CNBC and then the NHL Network.

On many cable systems CNBC is buried at the bottom of the channel lineup and for many a viewer in the USA, unless you got Center Ice or the expanded sport's package then you did not get the NHL Network.

Then at 10 PM EDT, poof the NHL draft was booted off CNBC for "American Greed." The only thing we were missing was the clown car with 30 midgets exiting the car.

Maybe it was better than watching the Pierre McGuire love affair with the Pittsburgh Penguins. Once the Jordan Staal trade was announced, it became the Pittsburgh Penguins and 29 others at the NHL draft.

Gee Pierre wonder why with each passing day, you lose more and more credibility as a hockey "expert?"

BTW anyone got a place for me to stay when the draft is held next year in New Jersey? Man that is going to be one more black eye for the NHL when the Ranger and Flyer fans buy up all the tickets to the draft.


Jay said...

Jess, Interesting quote, supposedly from Gordie Clark, according to Brooks.
"Skjei, a Minnesota native described as “an elite skater with a bomb [of a shot]” by Rangers director of player personnel Gord Clark, is entering his freshman year at the University of Minnesota."

Kind of disagrees with your comments. I hope Brooks is actually right on this one.

Kmp said...

Well they traded their third and NAshville takes the guy you wanted. Can't believe NIck EBert hasnt been taken.

Jess Rubenstein said...


You're not exactly going to get anyone pointing out the weaknesses. I hope Clark is right and I'm wrong but I do expect Skjei to improve on his shot while he's with the Golden Gophers.


Effective immediately Gordie Clark is off my Christmas card list until he drafts to Portland Winterhawks in the next three drafts.

It happens, I would love to ask him why but that one would be off the record because Leispic was a personal favorite.

It's been a strange year this year because some very old habits reared their ugly heads and people with size were getting selected over those who were smaller but had much more skill.

At least Nick Ebert got drafted by the cup champions but really, I saw several players that I couldn't believe dropped to the fifth and sixth rounds.

There is a goalie who is going to play in the 2013 Memorial cup and is gonna be a lot of people regretting not drafting him.