Draft Watch: Ludvig Bystrom, Zemgus Girgensons, Scott LaughtonJune 3, 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: 5’11″ Weight: 187
Bystrom is another product of the great Swedish hockey system. Like most Swedes, Bystrom is a tremendous skater. Considering the large ice surface in the Euro leagues, the top Euro prospects usually are great skaters. It just comes with the territory. Offensively, Bystrom is a solid puck carrier and creates plays in the offensive zone. His hockey IQ is above average, which helps with his decision making when it comes to carrying the puck or running the offense. Defensively, he isn’t a bruiser, and will generally use that skating ability and hockey IQ to be in solid position. He’s not going to be the guy that plays a physical game, but he’s not going to shy away from contact either.
Like most youngsters, Bystrom can be caught out of position a couple of times. With the bruisers it is generally because they are going for the big hit, but the biggest concern with Bystrom –as he is not a bruiser– is that he sometimes gets caught chasing the puck too much. He is still a very raw talent, and a team picking Bystrom would be in it for the long haul. He will need several years to fine tune his game.
Position: C Height: 6’2″ Weight: 178
This Latvian center is a bit of a surprise in that he transitioned to the North American style of play relatively quickly. Committed to the University of Vermont for next season, Girgensons is a center with solid hands and size. Although he may need some time to fill out, Girgensons doesn’t shy away form physical contact, and actually makes it a strong part of his game. A two-way center with good skating ability, Girgensons has put up an average of a point per game in his two seasons with the Dubuque Fighting Saints of the USHL while playing solid three zone hockey. Perhaps his greatest asset is that he has a great work ethic and a solid head on his shoulders, two things the Rangers covet in the draft.
As noted by his height and weight, Girgensons will need to fill out a little bit more to be successful in his physical style of play at the next level. With that comes more strength in his legs, which will hopefully help him become a faster skater.
Position: C Height: 6’ Weight: 170
Considering his size, Laughton is what you would consider to be a bit of an anomaly. He is probably one of the most physical players that project to be first round picks, and has no qualms with dropping the gloves if need be. Another player with a great work ethic, Laughton outworks his opponents on the ice and outworks his teammates off the ice. In that regards, he’s a lot like Girgensons. Laughton is not going to light up the opposition, but he will produce offensively when given the chance. He’s a grinder that wears down his opposition, then finds ways to produce.
Laughton isn’t necessarily a bad skater, but like almost every prospect not named Nail Yakupov, his skating could use a little bit of work. He also needs to fill out a bit, but that will come with age.