Monday, June 11, 2012

So you think you can draft?

Gordie Clark, NY Rangers
This is the strangest of the year, the period between when the New York Rangers stop playing and the NHL Entry Draft. I won't lie and say that that the longer the Rangers play the less time there is for some of these "draft experts."

Let me start off with some friendly advice, put your wallets away and stop buying all of these draft guides. The real information you need can be found in several locations on the web for free and like the old saying "a fool and his money are soon parted."

The second advice I have to share comes from Gordie Clark the director of player personnel of the New York Rangers. Nobody ever lets never let you forget the mistakes you made but they will never remember the ones you got right.

I have to admit that this was the hardest lesson for me to learn but you know something? The hardest part was acknowledging right here when I was wrong about the prospects.

In 2009, I wanted the Rangers to select Jordan Caron not Chris Kreider and I can tell you exactly why I was wrong. I did not do my homework for if I had; then I would have known that Glen Sather does not use his first-round picks on players from the QMJHL.

I think the number is something like over 35 first-round selections going all the way back to his early days in Edmonton and Glen Sather has only twice picked players from the QMJHL (both flopped too)

2008, I wanted John Carlson then playing for the Indiana Ice of the USHL, Rangers took Michael Del Zotto and it became even better when Del Zotto wound up playing with Carlson on the London Knights of the OHL.

I think this one is a draw.

2007, I don't think it matters who I wanted because nobody ever thought Cherepanov would suffer such a tragic death. But at the same time, this is why drafting is so very hard as you are trying to predict how some 18-year-old kid is going to grow up to be in the next five years.

That's why today's New York Rangers are doing it the right way, it's not just one scout who determines the first-round pick, but rather they get as many eyes on that player as possible. The hardest part has to be being discreet so nobody knows what your plans are.

And that just might be Gordie Clark's greatest strength as a draft master. You can't tell which directions the Rangers are thinking even up to the moment they make the pick.

This season will be the latest the Rangers will have selected since the 2002 draft when they did not have a first round pick and did not draft until the 33rd selection. The good news is that this is actually pretty decent draft and the Rangers should be able to find a solid prospect.

The bad news is that you most likely will boo the selection when the Ranger's made their announcement as to who they are selecting. I can tell you who I would take because my own thought process is when you get down to 28 then you take the best possible player regardless of the position.

At 28, your pick is going to be greatly influenced by the other 27 picks made in front of you. Would I want to see the Rangers trade to move up in the first round?

No not this year because I think the Rangers need to go the opposite direction and pick up a couple extra picks since they only have four (28th 59th, 89th, and 119th). I do believe the Rangers need to use one of those pick on a goalie because Henrik Lundqvist is 30.

If it was me, I trade down because I see 3 high quality players who will fall down because others had better scores at the combine. One is a college-bound defenseman, second is another high schooler with a New England flavor to him and the third is a Swede (no not Henrick Samuelsson because I think he just moved up too high for the Rangers)

Each of these players would be there in the middle of the second round but they're good enough to be picked at the end of the first round. Third and fourth rounds is where you find a very good goalie.

And yes I do have one prospect who selfishly as a fan I want to see the Rangers pick. Brendan Leipsic of the Portland Winterhawks. Every time I watch him, I am watching Ryan Callahan back in 2005 when he wasn't the biggest dog on the ice but nobody outworked him just like the Ranger captain.

Callahan was a skinny as a rail fourth round pick that nobody ever thought would make it to the NHL, that's why I really like this kid. One never has enough Ryan Callahans in the lineup.

I will guarantee you this much, Rangers pick him and Ranger fans will go crazy for him, just like Winterhawk fans already have.

So who wants to go house hunting this week?


Anthony M. said...

Must have been reading my notes, because I would target Tampa Bay who has three second round picks.

Anthony M. said...

You must have bee reading my notes :-) I think the Rangers might be smart to trade down. Tampa Bay has three picks in the 2nd round and I think a goalie would be a nice choice with one of those picks.

Anthony M. said...

Tampa Bay is the team to watch in reference to trading down. They have three picks in the 2nd round so they might be in play to move up.

Anthony M. said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Jess Rubenstein said...

Tampa or Colorado are the possible trading partners. Colorado does not draft until I believe 41st.

Anthony M. said...

Let's see if I can guess your three picks :-)

Is the d-man who might find the ice "greener" in college than by the bay?

Does the N.E. kid have "hart" or is that a "boo" on me?

Hmm, Swedish d-man I don't have any puns so I would have to go either with Bystrom or Linholm?

Jess Rubenstein said...

You went 1 for 3 Anthony

Dan Shea said...

I want the Rangers to take some chances on some high reward type players. They are loaded with 3rd and 4th liners and 3rd pair D prospects. Get a future goalie and some guys that be snipers and/or offensive D.