With a new coach on board, the next order of business this offseason will be the NHL Draft, coming up on June 30th. The Rangers don’t have first or second round choices thanks to trades for Rick Nash and Ryane Clowe, but they do have three third round picks. The good news is that the 2013 draft is considered extremely deep, but by the third round there won’t be any sure things. Here’s a look at three guys that could interest the Rangers, but are definitely high-risk, high reward players.
Position: RW Height: 6-3 Weight: 214
Perhaps the feel good story of the draft, Fasching has overcome tremendous obstacles in his personal life to reach where he is today. The Minnesota native has two younger siblings, ages 16 and 14, that both suffer from a mitochondrial disease that keeps them in wheelchairs. Cooper and Mallory Fasching both receive meals through feeding tubes and are cortically blind – their eyes work but their brains can’t process what they see. Doctors believe that neither will live beyond adolescence. Helping to care for his siblings has forced Hudson to mature in a hurry and he will attend the University of Minnesota next year so that he can remain close to home.
On the ice, Fasching possesses an enticing combination of size and speed. Before the season he was considered to be a likely first round pick, but his stock has fallen a bit this year because Fasching’s production hasn’t been particularly impressive. Still, given his strength and skating alone, Fasching will be well worth the risk in the second or third round. The key for Fasching’s development is that he must hone his other tools instead of just relying on his size. That worked against younger competition but it won’t be enough as he advances. Though Fasching is adept at using his size around the net and to shield pucks, it would be nice to see him add a little more nastiness to his game as well.
Rangers fans are understandably wary of guys that are highly regarded mostly due to their measurements thanks to the Hugh Jessiman disaster, but Fasching has a unique set of circumstances driving him forward. New York has drafted a ton of Americans in recent years, so Fasching is definitely one to keep an eye on.
Position: LW Height: 6-3 Weight: 190
Sanford’s path to the NHL Draft is somewhat reminiscent of 2012 Calgary first-rounder Mark Jankowski. Like Jankowski, Sanford has dominated against weaker competition in the EJHL, which is often a warning flag for scouts. And like Jankowski, it took Sanford a while to get going in his draft year, but a strong late season surge caused him to fly up draft boards. Sanford has a long way to go to grow into his body, but he has the size and skills to make many believe that he can continue thriving against tougher competition as he climbs the ranks.
Sanford would be a major project pick, but he’ll be immersed in one of the best college programs in the country when he starts skating for Boston College in a year or two. After a few years of development, Sanford’s high upside means he might turn out to be one of the steals of the draft, but he could also just as easily be overwhelmed against more skilled opponents. New York is likely to do some maneuvering around the draft with their three third round picks, but using a flyer on a guy like Sanford with one of them would make a lot of sense.
Position: G Height: 6-2 Weight: 192
Martin’s draft stock has taken a nosedive this season due to maddening inconsistency, but he was previously regarded as a potential first-round selection. According to The Hockey News, the big knock on Martin is that he’s almost too technically sound. Martin is so adept at getting into perfect position in his butterfly stance that scouts seem unsure whether he actually has the athleticism and instincts that become critical for goalies at the higher levels. It’s one thing to block an 80 mph wrister square to a shooter in juniors, but it’s a little different when Zdeno Chara winds up for a big blast and the puck changes direction twice on the way to the net. As you’d expect from a pure butterfly goalie, Martin is very flexible and moves quickly side to side, but there is concern over his rebound control. Martin’s numbers at Mississauga – 3.02 GAA and a .06 SV% – weren’t eye popping, but he shared time in net for a poor team.
As we’ve discussed here, it’s a growing priority for the Rangers to begin seeking a potential heir to Henrik Lundqvist’s throne. Lundqvist himself is perhaps the most technically sound goalie in the league, so the Blueshirts might not be scared off by some of the doubts about Martin.