Archive for Draft
It has been around two weeks since our beloved New York Rangers were knocked out in 7 games against the Tampa Bay Lightning. For most the loss still stings and is still tormenting us. Not being able to watch the Rangers is rough, but luckily for us it is still early in the off-season. This means there is quite a bit to talk about, such as the 2015 NHL Entry Draft.
For those who have not been following the draft, this draft has been compared to the ’03 entry draft where you could have been blind folded, with names of draft eligible prospects on a dartboard and when you threw a dart you would end up with an NHL All Star (I guess you can say maybe we are lucky we do not have a first so we don’t draft a Hugh Jessimen incarnate). Luckily, the Rangers have a 2nd round pick this year because this round is loaded with talent. I will be briefly discussing some targets I hope the Rangers draft in the 2nd round that I have personally watched.
I will be splitting these targets into 3 tiers with 3 players from each tier; Early 2nd round (31-40), Mid 2nd round (41-50) and Late 2nd round (51-61*) because with so many trade rumors surrounding the Rangers this summer we may as well look at all possibilities.
* Because the Blackhawks lost Kevin Hayes they received an extra pick in the draft as compensation giving the 2nd round 31 picks.
Re-evaluating drafts is always a difficult endeavor. Hindsight is always 20/20, and people tend to call out the failures in the draft rather than the successes. For the Rangers, the 2009 draft was an interesting one. This draft started to set the tone of the types of players on which the Rangers built their farm system. Chris Kreider, their first round pick, was skilled, big, smart, and fast. He had all the tools, but was a bit of a project pick since he was committed to Boston College and at least three or four years away from turning pro.
This is a bit subjective, but I’d say it takes about five years before you can fairly evaluate a draft. Again, this is all with the benefit of hindsight, but it’s fun nonetheless.
I’ve been on the record many, many, many times stating that we like where the team stands and the direction the front office has taken to get here. That said, I thought this would be a fun exercise, and it doesn’t change my opinion of the front office moves or draft choices. This post is meant to be satirical, don’t take it seriously.
During my normal internet time-sucks, I stumbled upon this post from Canucks Army, talking about the Canucks drafting problem, which is pretty rough following the 1999 draft. So they performed an exercise by taking the Vancouver draft history and pitting it against a potato. The idea was piggy-backed from Pension Plan Puppets and their running “Can the Leafs out-GM a potato” gag. So basically I’m piggy-backing off the piggy-backed post.
The phrase out-GM a potato made me laugh uncontrollably. I still giggle like a little school girl when I hear the phrase. You can imagine how long it took me to write these first two paragraphs.
Anyway, since the potato is a non-sentient starch product incapable of progressive thinking, there are set rules for said potato. The potato does not have access to game video, analytics, has never seen a game, and has never spoken to a scout, ever. After all, it’s a potato (or the Isles front office from 1995-2001, either one). It will draft following this set of rules (1-6 are the same rules followed at Canucks Army):
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.