Some quick notes (before I head off to Aruba…yea, be jealous) about the prospects, free agency, and those who left the Rangers.
- Brady Skjei, who by all accounts appears to be NHL ready, will be returning to the University of Minnesota for his junior year. Skjei is a first pairing defenseman with the club, and was instrumental in leading them to the inaugural B1G Championship last season. Skjei wants to win a Frozen Four before turning pro.
- Anton Stralman, who turned down a three-year, $9 million offer from the Rangers mid-year, was disappointed that the Rangers never “really” negotiated with him. That offer was rumored to be increased to four years and $4 million per year. Stralman eventually signed a five-year deal worth $4.5 million per season.
- Mats Zuccarello knows the Rangers are right up against the cap, and will work with the team to settle on a deal. However, he understands that he can’t take a pay cut either.
- Jeff Gorton is on the record saying the Rangers want another forward. I wouldn’t expect this to be a big landing, probably just a journeyman on a “show-me” deal like Benoit Pouliot’s last year.
- Derick Brassard, Chris Kreider, and Mats Zuccarello have all filed for arbitration.
Probably the most ready (Photo: Blueshirts United)
It doesn’t matter if you liked what happened on Tuesday or hated what happened on Tuesday. We are all Ranger fans, and we will all cheer for the team. What we can all agree on, based solely on numbers, is that some of the kids in Hartford are going to need to step up and take a roster spot. When I say numbers, I mean this:
In: Dan Boyle, Tanner Glass, Mike Kostka (AHL: Steve Kampfer, Matt Hunwick, Chris Mueller, Chris Bourque, Cedrick Desjardins)
Out: Anton Stralman, Derek Dorsett, Brad Richards, Brian Boyle, Benoit Pouliot, Raphael Diaz, Justin Falk
Seven NHL players left the Rangers on July 1, and only three came back. The defense was more or less a one-for-one swap, with Boyle replacing Stralman and Kostka replacing Diaz (Falk I consider to be a #8 defenseman at this point). So, barring any trades, the Rangers are pretty much done with the defense. It is also unlikely we see Dylan McIlrath or Conor Allen on Broadway this year. The roster numbers just don’t work.
As for the forwards, one forward came in and four left via free agency. If you assume Glass takes Boyle’s spot on Dominic Moore’s left, that leaves two RW spots open for competition (or a 3LW and 4RW, as Mats Zuccarello can play both sides), and a 2C/3C. There are really only three names that come to mind when it comes to kids on the cusp: J.T. Miller, Jesper Fast, and Oscar Lindberg.
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Halverson (Photo: OHL Images)
The Rangers went into the 2014 draft with four picks, and wound up making seven selections. They acquired the extra picks by dealing Derek Dorsett to Vancouver and trading down twice in the fourth and fifth rounds. Considering it wasn’t a particularly deep draft, in that there were few impact players, the Rangers made some good selections to not only restock the prospect cupboard, but address organizational needs within the system. It’s worth noting that most of these picks are project picks, and will take around three or four years to develop.
Brandon Halverson (G, Soo Greyhounds, OHL – 2nd round)
Halverson is one of the two picks that intrigue me the most. Goalie was a big position of weakness in the system, and Halverson was the first of two goalies taken by the Rangers. He didn’t get much playing time in OHL last season because he was backup, but he will be main guy this year. At 6’4, Halverson is certainly a big kid. Corey Pronman says he is big, athletic, and an elite puck handler. Vic Carneiro (Director of Player Personnel for the Greyhounds) mentioned he’s like having an extra defenseman, and a very good goalie. Halverson does need to fill out a bit, and will attend the US WJC camp this year. Overconfidence in his puck handling has been an issue, but it should right itself as he plays more.
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The Rangers released the 2014 Prospect Camp roster last night. As always, the roster includes current prospects, 2014 draftees, and undrafted free agents.
- C: Nickolas Latta, Vinni Lettieri, Kevin Rooney, Michael St. Croix, Adam Tambellini, Steven Fogarty, Matt Neal, Eric Neiley
- LW: Anthony Duclair, Chris McCarthy, Bryan Moore, Richard Nejezchleb
- RW: Pavel Buchnevich, Kevin Duane, Ryan Haggerty, Keegan Iverson, Michael Kantor, Logan Nelson, Josh Nicholls.
Defense: Calle Andersson, Justin Baker, Travis Brown, Mat Bodie, Luke Curadi, Troy Donnay, Spiro Goulakis, Ryan Mantha, Vojtech Mozik, Tyler Nanne, Sam Noreau, Brady Skjei, Daniel Walcott, Petr Zamorksy
Goaltending: Brandon Halverson, Matt O’Connor, Mackenzie Skapski, Colin Stevens
The one curious omission is Boo Nieves, the Rangers 2012 2nd round pick.
The Rangers started the 2014 NHL draft with just four picks (2nd, 3rd, 4th, 5th), but eventually made six selections (2nd, 3rd, 4th, three 5ths) in the draft. We will be taking an in-depth look at the selections, but here is a brief summary of the past two days (live blogs here and here):
- Traded Derek Dorsett to Vancouver for a 3rd round pick (#85 overall).
- Selected goaltender Brandon Halverson with their 2nd round pick (#59 overall).
- Selected center Keegan Iverson with a third round pick (#85 overall).
- Traded a third round pick (#89 overall) to Washington for a pair of fourth rounders (#104 and #118).
- Selected defenseman Ryan Mantha with a fourth round pick (#104 overall).
- Selected goaltender Igor Shesterkin with a fourth round pick (#118 overall).
- Traded a fourth round pick (#119 overall) to Tampa Bay for a pair of fifth round picks (#140 and #142).
- Selected RW Richard Nejezchleb with a fifth round pick (#122).
- Selected defenseman Daniel Walcott with a fifth round pick (#140)
- Selected defenseman Tyler Nanne with a fifth round pick (#142)
Last night was fairly anti-climactic. Despite all the talk about trading top picks and players on the move, there were only three non-Vancouver trades last night, and only one involving players. Florida kept the top pick, the Isles kept the 5th pick, and only a pair of teams traded up (Chicago, Isles). The draft was made a bit interesting, at least from a local point of view, when the Isles traded up to get pick #28 from Tampa Bay. That pick was originally the Rangers pick, but was dealt to Tampa Bay in the Martin St. Louis draft.
Only one of our reviewed prospects was taken last night (Travis Sanheim), so there are still a lot of solid prospects available for the Rangers to pick at #59. We will be live-blogging rounds 2-7 this morning, and the action begins at 10am on the NHL Network.
10:19: Washington traded up to get the #39 pick from Buffalo, giving up #44 and #74.
10:30: Predators traded pick #46 to San Jose for pick #51 and a 5th rounder in 2015.
10:36: Vancouver traded the #50 pick to LA for Linden Vey.
10:45: Rangers select Brandon Halverson, a goalie out of Sault Ste Marie in the OHL with pick #59. Halverson had a 2.96 GAA and a .904 SV% with SSM last season, his rookie year.
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Original Post: Day One of the 2014 NHL Draft is upon us. We will be live-blogging the event, and will be updating this post with all big news from around the league. The first big deal was made this afternoon, when Ryan Kesler was sent to Anaheim. The Canucks also dumped defenseman Jason Garrison’s contract, sending him to Tampa Bay. The Rangers also sent Derek Dorsett to Vancouver for a third round pick (#85).
As for the Rangers, they may stay quiet. Gordie Clark said that the Rangers likely won’t trade into the first round. That doesn’t mean that they will be entirely quiet tonight (despite the Dorsett trade), as they have the negotiating rights to Anton Stralman, Benoit Pouliot, and Brian Boyle. I’m not saying they will be traded to recoup draft picks, but it wouldn’t surprise me if, at the very least, teams aren’t kicking tires on Stralman and Boyle.
7:19: Despite the rumors, Florida does not trade the first overall pick. They select Aaron Ekblad after some funny stalling from the Panthers.
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As the draft approaches tonight, Andrew Gross spoke with Gordie Clark to discuss the prospects, and any chances that the Rangers would move into the first round. Clark noted that it is unlikely that the Rangers move into the first round, citing the lack of depth in this year’s draft as one of the main reasons. Clark expects that only the top 15 picks will be impact players. Clark also said that the Rangers will use the “best player available” approach instead of drafting towards a need.
The 2014 NHL Draft is just hours away, and the Rangers will draft in the second round with the 59th overall pick in the draft. The Rangers traded their first rounder this year in the Martin St. Louis trade, so this will mark the second straight year without a pick in the first round.
Chase De Leo
Position: C Height: 5-8 Weight: 175
De Leo broke out in his sophomore campaign with the Portland Winterhawks in the WHL, putting up a great line of 39-42-81 in 72 games. Like most small forwards with offensive upside, De Leo is a quick skater that plays a creative offensive game. His hands are very quick, and he is very strong with the puck, allowing him to continue rushes into the offensive zone. He has a great hockey IQ, which helps in his positioning in both zones, making him not just an offensive threat, but a solid two-way player. But like all small forwards, his size and strength are a concern. He will need to build solid core and leg strength to be as effective as the Marty St. Louis’ or the Mats Zuccarello’s.
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The draft is almost upon us, and the Rangers could land in the second round with the 59th overall pick in the draft. The Rangers traded their first rounder this year in the Martin St. Louis trade, so this will mark the second straight year without a pick in the first round.
Bunting (Photo: Terry Wilson/OHL Images)
Position: LW Height: 5-11 Weight: 175
Bunting is a bit of a late bloomer, but put up solid numbers (15-27-42 in 48 GP) in his rookie year in the OHL with the Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds. His strong rookie campaign moved him up to #37 North American in the ISS rankings. He seems to be a mid-round pick for the Rangers, but his stock is rising. Bunting is a solid forechecker, and uses his physical to force turnovers and begin a transition rush. The odd weakness he has, considering his size, is that he needs to work on his skating, specifically his speed. He could turn into a solid depth player, one who would probably be loved in New York for his work ethic.
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