Draft Watch: Getting to know those ranked in the late 20s

May 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.

Olli Maatta

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.

Oscar Dansk 

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 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.

Brady Skjei

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.

Categories : Draft


  1. rob sahm says:

    i know this has nothing to do with the draft but how far away do you think st,croix is from the n.h.l.

    • Zen says:

      Probably a couple years away, if he even makes it. It is important to realize that he is on the smallish side and plays in a league that is not known for playing much defense. You never know how a player like that will perform in the pros. He might be a star, but the jury is out. Remember that we are all raving about Thomas last year and now there isn’t a peep about him.

  2. Rickyrants13 says:

    For this moment we dont need anymore D men that dont excell somewhere on the Ice. We need a D man who is okay in all areas. But is even better in one. We need either a D man who is great at clearing people out of the crease and banging guys around. Or someone who can really run the powerplay. Someone who people dont want to see with the puck when he has it.

  3. paulronty says:

    I like Ulfie Samuelsson’s kid a lot & so do the Rangers but I doubt he’s around at #28. We’d probably have to trade up to get him.

    • Rickyrants13 says:

      He was drafted two years ago by Pitt in the 2nd round in 2009. I think you are thinking of Stefan Matteau,

  4. Spozo says:

    Steve Zipay with an injury wrap up “gaborik: we will know more in a few days”. So Great Job to everyone who jumped on the Trade Gaborik bandwagon for being a playoff choker. The guy was injured and played through it.

    Yes I know this has nothing to do with the above post but I can’t stand people who are ready to dump our star players after a game 6 ecf playoff loss.

    • Mikeyyy says:

      if he was that hurt he should have sat out unless it required surgery. Or placed on the 4th line and let someone fresh on the ice. Still think we shoul dump him. He is a playoff. besides his first trip with Minny he has a line of. 36gp. 9-9-18. Not an elite scoring player in he playoffs. An extremely weak along the boards. Plus his first step is slow. So he needs o be moving at all times to be dangerous.

      • Spozo says:

        I would still take an injured Gaborik and his ten points this postseason over dressing John Scott or whoever else could have played. Newsday is reporting shoulder early in the playoffs but I guess we will have to wait and see exactly what it is. Bottom line is it sounds like he wasn’t 100% but still a better option than anyone they could have dressed.

  5. Walt says:

    If Gabby was indeed hurt, and I won’t question it, then why wasn’t he moved down to maybe the third line, and let someone else get some more playing time. Torts should know better, and if it’s true, shame on him!!!!!

    • Mikeyyy says:

      I like you. I don’t care what everyone says about you.

    • The Suit says:

      He was moved down to the third line with Feds. This likely occurred because the injury was starting to really affect his game. Still, this injury report is very vague, too early to judge till we have all the facts.

      • TommyT says:

        Take into consideration the fact that everyone plays hurt for playoffs. I had said since the end of the 1st round that gabby was injured. Cheers to him for sticking it out and playing through pain. Next year he will be even better, he is elite talent and without him we may not have been the 1 seed in the playoffs.

      • Walt says:

        the move was made real late in the play-offs, remember he sat him for a while!!!

  6. voidoid says:

    I agree that defense should be the priority with the first round pick. Aside from Erixon and McIlrath the organization is thin on top-end prospects.

    Going back to a previous post, I like what Dalton Thrower brings to the table a lot. The guys above look good, although according to the ISS rankings Maatta may not be on the board at 28 – is he worth potentially trading up? Hockey IQ is enormously important for d-men; give me smart players like Girardi, McD and Staal over purely talented guys like Del Zotto any day of the week…

  7. Alan says:

    Don’t know where you’re getting Dansk as the No. 1 goalie in this draft. His consensus is No. 3 behind Subban and the kid from Russia, Vasilevski. To me if any of them are available at our first pick we should grab them. And Vasilevski and Subban are potential first round picks so for you to say the goalie pool this year is suspect makes me suspect of any of your comments. Do your homework.

  8. Alan says:

    And hating to pile on, I must: The other two guys you write about are dmen. That is without a doubt the last thing we need to be drafting with any of our first few picks. And if we are going after Justin Schultz as rumors suggest, you couldn’t be more wrong.

  9. TeaneckMike says:

    How about we don’t use a first rounder on another defenseman? How many more defensemen do we want in the system? We still have Ericson and McIlrath to assess. We need forwards, the well is running dry, given the trades.