Draft Watch: Getting to know those ranked in the late 20sMay 28, 2012, by
It’s official, the New York Rangers will draft at #28 on June 22. Sure, all the top talent will be gone, but there are always gems to find in the late rounds. After all Chris Kreider was drafted in the early 20s, and the Rangers organization has proven time and time again that they are great at finding players who are talented and intelligent. Don’t forget that all our draft analysis can be found on our Draft Coverage page.
Position: D Height: 6’2″ Weight: 198
The first thing that most scouts say about Maatta is that he is very well rounded. He doesn’t necessarily excel at any facet of the game, but he has no real weaknesses either. Basically, he’s just one of your well rounded defensemen who has tremendous hockey IQ and positioning skills. Generally those go hand-in-hand, but for a guy like Maatta, it’s his greatest strength. He is capable of carrying the puck up the ice and starting the rush, and is also capable of getting back and playing solid defense in his own zone.
Maatta is not the guy that’s going to throw a big hit to remove player from puck, but he does use his body enough to stymie the rush. I hate making comparisons, but his overall game is reminiscent of Dan Girardi’s game, without the 5,000 blocked shots.
Position: G Height: 6’2″ Weight: 183
It is incredibly unlikely that the Rangers go ahead and use a first round pick on a goalie. In fact, I will put it at a zero chance that the Rangers actually draft a goalie in the first round. That said, the depth in the organization at goalie isn’t exactly a strength, so they might look to address it in the second round or later. The reason why I looked at Dansk is because he is just 17 years old, and would be a bit of a project pick in terms of drafting. You never know what might happen in three or four years, so it’s always better to air on the side of caution.
Dansk is actually considered to be the top goalie in this year’s draft, and considering he’s ranked in the 30s, that speaks volumes about the depth of the goalie pool this year. There isn’t much on Dansk available, as he plays in the Swedish Elite League, but his numbers appear to be very good. Bill Placzek of Draftsite.com had this to say about him:
Cool, quick-legged, butterfly goalie who displays strong positioning, good balance, and has size to the top of the net. The top goalie available from Sweden. Lets the play come to him, anticipates well, and is pretty agile, so he recovers well. Very sharp and in control during games and forces shooters to commit by being more patient than they are. Gives few rebounds and has great feet to reposition himself quickly.
Drafting goalies is a tricky business (see: Montoya, Al; Lundqvist, Henrik), so it’s important to recognize skill as opposed to numbers. Placzek had good things to say, but that’s only one scout.
Position: D Height: 6’3″ Weight: 200
Skjei is one big dude. Generally bigger defensemen aren’t the best of skaters, but Skjei is not in that mold. He is incredibly mobile which makes him a threat in all three zones. He is one of the rare defensemen that has the size and quickness to force turnovers and transition quickly for a counter attack. With foot speed comes an ability to cover for himself if he gets caught transitioning to offense a bit too quickly. The appeal of a guy like Skjei is that he has tremendous potential if he can harness the offensive side of his game. Defensively, he’s superb.
The drawback on Skjei is that most scouts agree he is incredibly raw at the moment. That’s not necessarily a bad thing, but it makes him more of a project and less of a sure thing. Of course projects with high potential like Skjei can lead to very productive NHL players if they meet that potential. Skjei appears to be a bit of a high risk, high reward type of pick.