Archive for Ethan Werek


Thomas Gets More Praise

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Even though his season is over, Christian Thomas has been praised once more, this time by Hockey’s Future. In their regular column called ‘on the rush’ HF look at some of the ‘most notable performances’ of the season in the pros, college, juniors and Europe and discuss at some length, the season of Christian Thomas.

To recap; Thomas exploded this season to finish the year with 54 goals and 99 points and did it all in just 66 regular season games. Indeed, Thomas’ numbers allowed him to finish second in the OHL in goals and 6th overall in points; a truly impressive season. HF had a few things to say about Thomas and while some Rangers fans may be concerned about his apparent lack of size (5’9, 170 lbs) they do note that he has a sturdy frame that helps him outwork opponents, aiding his goal scoring ability. Adding fuel to the thought that Thomas may be a Rangers’ dark horse come training camp was this comment;

His offensive game is already fairly polished, and he kills penalties, so the forward doesn’t have much left to do as far as diversifying his game at the OHL level. He could stand to add a little weight to his 5’9 170 pound frame though.

As many believed, it seems those who watch Thomas regularly also don’t think he has anything left to achieve in the OHL and offensively speaking he may already be able to handle himself at higher levels. A lot of work in the gym over the off season, getting his body ready for the pros would give a better chance at an immediate opportunity to stick at the next level. Whether the development of players such as Thomas had a part to play in the trade of Ethan Werek, well you never know, but Thomas seems to be on the fast track to success.

The Rangers could sorely do with an additional goal scorer and in a perfect world one that doesn’t cost assets or big dollars to acquire; hence Thomas may have a legitimate chance in September. His chances may depend on whether a guy like Chris Kreider decides to turn pro or not but one thing is for sure, training camp will once again be full of competition – only a good thing.

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Werek/Lindberg Press Release

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Here is the press release from the Ethan Werek / Oscar Lindberg trade last night:

New York, May 8, 2011 – New York Rangers President and General Manager Glen Sather announced today that the club has acquired forward Oscar Lindberg from Phoenix in exchange for Ethan Werek.

Lindberg, 19, skated in 41 games with Skelleftea in the Swedish Elite League this season, registering five goals and nine assists for 14 points, along with 31 penalty minutes.  He also appeared in 18 playoff contests with Skelleftea, tallying three goals and four assists for seven points, ranking sixth on the team in scoring and tying for fifth in goals.  The native of Skelleftea, Sweden appeared in six games at the World Junior Championship, collecting two goals and two assists, tying for fifth on the team in scoring.  He tallied the game deciding goal, registered five shots and a plus-two rating in a 6-5 shootout victory over Canada on December 31.

The 6-1, 190-pounder has skated in 77 career matches with Skelleftea, registering six goals and 10 assists for 16 points, along with 66 penalty minutes.  Lindberg has also appeared in 78 contests with Skelleftea’s junior team, tallying 36 goals and 46 assists for 82 points along with 108 penalty minutes.  He recorded the league’s best faceoff percentage in 2008-09 (63.4), 2009-10 (60.4) and 2010-11 (69.6).

Lindberg was drafted by Phoenix as their second round choice, 52nd overall, in the 2009 NHL Entry Draft [DS Note: He was taken #57 overall in 2010].

Werek, 19, skated in 47 games with the Kingston Frontenacs of the Ontario Hockey League (OHL), registering 24 goals and 28 assists for 52 points along with 51 penalty minutes.   He was originally drafted by the Rangers as their second choice, 47th overall in the 2009 NHL Entry Draft.

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Rangers Trade Ethan Werek To Phoenix

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In a bit of a surprising trade, the Rangers have traded 2009 second round pick Ethan Werek to the Phoenix Coyotes in exchange for center Oscar Lindberg.  Lindberg was Phoenix’s 2010 second round pick, and has been playing in the Swedish Elite League.  This year in the SEL, Lindberg picked up 14 points (5-9-14) in 41 games.  Lindberg was the #10 prospect in the Coyotes system (per HockeysFuture), and is more of a defensive minded center who excels in the face off circle (a point of weakness for the Rangers).

Werek has more offensive upside, as he put together a fine season with the Kingston Frontenacs of the OHL, with a line of 24-28-52 in 51 games.  Werek has had several injuries throughout his career in Juniors, and that may have been a reason for concern on the Rangers part.  It’s a bit early to give up on Werek, despite his injuries.  He has a ton of offensive skill, and while the trade for is of second round picks, it looks like Werek has more skill, but will be more of a project.

Lindberg is much more polished than Werek, and appears ready to make the jump to the AHL next season.  From a business perspective, there could be two reasons the Rangers made this trade.  First, Werek could have asked for too much, which I doubt.  Second, and more likely, is that the Rangers are coming up on the 50 contract maximum for next season, and Werek was due an entry level deal.  Lindberg, since he is not playing in Juniors, does not require a contract right away, and the Rangers will still retain his rights.

This is another trade with Phoenix, but the first where we can really say we don’t know if there was a winner or a loser.  Considering the track record of trades with the ‘Yotes (Rozisval/Wolski, Korpikoski/Lisin, etc…), that may be a good thing.  This is one of those trades that we won’t be able to evaluate for another few years.  There are clearly reasons why the Rangers lost faith in Werek, be it injuries or business.  Lindberg is supposed to be more of a sure thing to make the NHL, and has been SEL’s best face-off man for a while now.  That is an area where the Rangers desperately need help.

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Artem Anisimov is a very good, responsible hockey player and should be a solid player for the Rangers for a long time however right now he is struggling mightily on the offensive side of the game and could benefit from the same time in the press box as the young defenseman, Del Zotto. Anisimov is currently mired in a 9 game point drought and is looking off the pace. While he is still making solid plays in his own zone the Rangers need him to contribute at both ends. The roster simply doesn’t have enough skill to carry players offensively and right now Anisimov is indeed being carried. A game or two in the press box would perhaps allow Anisimov the chance to see where he needs to be on the ice. He’s a good puck handler and is pretty strong on the puck (with room to grow) but doesn’t go to the net nearly enough given his skill set and size. Anisimov is also a player whose confidence levels are very critical to the way he plays the game. He’s admitted in the past to suffering confidence dips and again, seeing where he has gone wrong with the aid of a coach alongside him in the stands could really help his game.

Since starting the year on a tear – on a line with Callahan and Dubinsky – it’s been Anisimov who has carried the least momentum forward from the three young Blueshirts. Earlier in the year it may have been a nice alternative to see if Anisimov could have handled centering Gaborik but without confidence and form he’s further away from that prospect than he has ever been. Make no mistake, class is permanent and form temporary and the lanky Russian has shown enough in New York and Hartford to suggest he has the ability to be a good top 6 center for New York but he is entering a key period for his Rangers career. Given the way Derek Stepan is developing (and getting opportunities with Gaborik), given the continued development of juniors Roman Horak and Ethan Werek and the constant – likely accurate – reports the Rangers will pursue Brad Richards should he reach free agency, Anisimov needs to make sure he has a role on the Rangers long term. There are a lot of potential centers waiting for a chance, especially when the above list doesn’t count Erik Christensen, Chris Drury and 2010/11 revelation(?) Brian Boyle. All of a sudden, Anisimov needs to kick on; maybe the best way to do that is to watch from off the ice for a while.

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Prospect Watch

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Plenty more prospect news to report from the past week but first of all a reminder that three Rangers prospects face Russia in the Subway Super-series on Thursday representing the OHL. Ethan Werek, Christian Thomas and goalie Scott Stajcer are all slated to play for the OHL side, it will be interesting to see how they fare.

Back to prospect performances and the hottest current prospect is probably Ryan Bourque of the Quebec Remparts. After their incredible start the Remparts are 0-2-1 in their last three but Bourque has continued to produce. On Saturday Bourque netted his 9th assist but his side dropped the decision, 3-2 to Montreal. The diminutive Bourque has now tallied 7+9 in just 12 games on the season.

A player who has got better as his season has worn on is Carl Hagelin. After a modest, penalty minute filled start the Swedish prospect has now got 3+7 in 10 games  as he grabbed 2 assists as his Wolverines won 5-2 in Alaska. Hagelin continues to look like a strong prospect and hopefully can help the beleaguered Hartford offense next year as he grows into an NHL player.

Another player that is becoming as reliable as a Swiss watch is Ethan Werek. As his OHL Kingston side has climbed into the division lead Werek has continued to rack up points. On Saturday Werek grabbed an assist and a shootout goal as his side won 3-2 against Bellville in the SO and he’s  now got 21 points for the year. If the talented center can do something about the slightly ugly +/- rating he’ll have himself a very fine season to take in to his pro career.

Over the Atlantic and Jesper Fasth is trying to stick with the men’s club of HV71.  After playing strongly back in junior, Fasth now has 1+1 and a +2 rating in 14 games for the big club. Fasth won’t be seen for a while in America as he’s a project and will be given a chance to fully develop in Sweden unless he has a real spike in his development.

The best news of recent prospect play is the constant improvement of Dylan Mcilrath. The 2010 1st round pick has played strong hockey both ends for a few weeks now and in 18 games this season is now 2+5 and has an even rating. More than the stats though are his team’s performances. After a very slow start to their year the Moose Jaw Warriors are on a 6-0-0 streak and have an overall record of 10-8-0-1 to surge into 2nd place in their WHL division. It will be fun watching Mcilrath continue to try and lead his club throughout the year. The Rangers could use his physicality sooner rather than later.

Key Prospect Stats:

Ryan Bourque 12 GP 7G 9A 16pts +5 5PIMS

Roman Horak 15 GP 10G 13A 23pts +2 16PIMS

Dylan Mcilrath 18GP 2G 5A 7pts E+/- 37PIMS

Christian Thomas 15GP 11G 10A 21pts+8 9PIMS

Ethan Werek 16GP 11G 10A 21pts -4 22PIMS

Carl Hagelin 10GP 3G 7A 10pts +6 21PIMS

Chris Kreider 8GP 2G 1A 3pts -4 6PIMS

Jesper Fasth 14GP 1G 1A 2pts +2 2PIMS

Scott Stajcer  12GP 9wins 2L 2.65GAA .911SV%

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Prospect Watch

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It has been a busy (and mainly) productive week for many Rangers prospects. Since we last wrote about the future Blueshirts one player in particular has gotten ‘back on track’. We said all along that what Ryan Bourque needed to do was stay healthy and then, he could be productive. Well it seems that’s what the undersized forward has done. In the last 3 games since returning from an injury Bourque has caught fire offensively scoring 7 points in the 3 games, going 2+5. Last Sunday in particular was a highlight game for Bourque as he paced his Quebec side with 1+2 and a +1 rating. It will be interesting to see if Bourque can keep up the pace when the Remparts play 2 games this weekend.

Another player (still) on fire is Czech center Roman Horak. 5th rounder Horak had a 3 assist night as he was named first star of the game as his Chilliwack Bruins beat the Brandon Wheat Kings in the WHL, 6-3. Horak now has a great stat line of 6+10 in just 9 games. Elsewhere, he might not have scored a goal (shock horror) for two games but another player keeping his offensive game going is winger Christian Thomas of the OHL’s Oshawa Generals. Thomas recently had a 2 assist game as his side managed to grab a losers point in the shootout against Ottawa 67’s. Oshawa were 3-0 down before losing 4-3 in the SO. Thomas now has a nice line of 10+7 in 10 games.

Perhaps the most important Ranger prospect to his current team is Ethan Werek. The 2nd round pick is front and center of the Kingston offense and is co-leader in points with Nathan Moon despite playing 2 games less. Both players have 15 points (both with 8+7). Werek was particularly clutch this past weekend as he led his side to a come-from-behind win scoring the game tying and game winning goals, to lead the Frontenacs to a 3-2 win over Sault Marie. Werek, like Horak and Thomas, has produced all season long and the Rangers thanks to these 3 players in particular look well set in terms of offensive prospects coming out of junior. All 3 players are also looking like great draft steals with none of them being drafted higher than the 2nd round.

Not every prospect has enjoyed a great start to their seasons however. A source of frustration is the continuing funk Chris Kreider finds himself in. 4 games into his season the Boston College winger still finds himself pointless. Given his rapid rise and almost dream season last year it’s surely only a minor blip for Kreider however it will be interesting to see how he rebounds from what is likely his first taste of adversity.

Another player who has had a little less success this week is goalie Scott Stajcer. The young goalie finally experienced his first loss but still boasts a record of 8 wins in 9 games, a .921 save percentage and a more than reasonable 2.52GAA. Stajcer was never going to go through the entire year undefeated so his first defeat is no great cause for concern.

Key prospect stats (correct at 5pm eastern Tuesday):

Chris Kreider 4GP 0G 0A -1 4PIMS

Carl Hagelin 6GP 2G 4A +3 19PIMS

Dylan Mcilrath 12GP 1G 2A -8 27PIMS

Roman Horak 9GP 6G 10A E+/- 8PIMS

Ryan Bourque 7GP 4G 7A +4 5PIMS

Ethan Werek 9GP 8G 7A +2 15PIMS

Jesper Fasth (stats from Swedish Junior) 6GP 3G 7A +8 4PIMS

Mikhail Pashnin 11GP 0G 0A -5 6PIMS

Max Campbell 6GP 3G 3A -2 0PIMS

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Prospects To Play For Team OHL

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Three Ranger prospects have been selected to represent Team OHL at the annual Subway Super Series, beginning on November 11. Center Ethan Werek (Kingston Frontenacs), winger Christian Thomas (Oshawa Generals), and goalie Scott Stajcer (Owen Sound Attack) will each play in the series. Each are off to strong starts and carrying their respective clubs through the beginning of the year. Werek has put up over a point per game in six games (6-4-10), while Thomas has been lighting the lamp at will in the first eight games of his season, putting up a whopping ten goals and almost two points per game (10-5-15). The biggest surprise could be Stajcer, who has been a rock in net for the Owen Sound Attack, with a GAA of 1.86 and a SV% of .943. Werek, Thomas, and Stajcer are the only Rangers prospects selected for the Subway Super Series.

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Ethan Werek – The Prospect Dark Horse?

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Everyone talks about Grachev, Kreider, Stepan, McDonagh and Sanguinetti and rightly so –they’re all important prospects but given the Rangers (lengthy) list of needs one of the prospects that may help the Rangers the most is Canadian Junior, Ethan Werek. Considered first round worthy in his draft year the Rangers were fortunate to have him slip to 47th overall in the ‘09 draft where they gratefully accepted this talented pivot. At 6’2 and 200lbs Werek is a physically sound center that can play both center and wing. Not afraid to use his body Werek could help the Rangers down the middle with his size, style of play and scoring ability.

With a knack for scoring (30 and 32 goals in two years in the OHL, on a young side too) Werek has proven he can fill the net. Better still, Werek has shown development; the left shooting Kingston Frontenac’s player has gone from -5 as a rookie to +14.Werek only didn’t top his career best 64 points because of injury however he reached the same total in 9 fewer games this year. His first playoff exposure on an inexperienced Frontenac’s team this spring saw Werek score 5 points in 6 games playing good 2 way hockey along the way. All good signs.

What may be best for Werek’s development right now is his head coach. Ex Leafs legend Dougie Gilmour left the AHL Marlies to take over in Kingston and since then the team has shown improvement and Werek himself has certainly improved. Not afraid to go to the net or try a fancy move Werek appears to be equally comfortable looking for a rebound or with the puck on his blade. He accepts responsibility on the ice and that trait will serve him well if when he gets to NY.

Some people have been touting Werek to have an inside chance at cracking the roster this summer. With Derek Stepan signed and experience sought, that may be unlikely but not beyond possibility. Werek’s intention is to come to camp and have a good crack. With his size and ability making the team isn’t out of the question and the Rangers should take a long look at him and give him every chance to succeed. Depending on how the 2010 draft goes Werek could find a spot in the line up. With Tortorella’s preference for Dubinsky on the wing, Prospal being equally adept wide and with Drury also being given time on the flank should Werek leave a positive impression one has to feel a roster spot is there for the taking. A lot of variables to contend with but it’s not beyond him.

At this stage of his career Werek is already looking like a good pick, at worst, helping the Rangers depth for the future. Less touted than those mentioned above, he may well leave his mark quicker than expected. Prospect dark horse? Why not?

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Bourque, Kreider, Werek Invited to Juniors Camp

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Rangers prospects Ryan Bourque (USA), Chris Kreider (USA), and Ethan Werek (CAN) were invited to their respective World Junior Championships camps for 2011. Bourque and Kreider both played on Team USA, which won Gold, in 2010. Kreider, the Rangers first round pick in 2009, finished with the tournament lead in goals, putting up a line of 6-1-7 in seven games. Bourque, the Rangers third round pick in 2009, provided solid third line minutes while netting three assists in the seven games. Werek, the Rangers 2009 second rounder, did not play for Team Canada last season, and this would be his first World Junior Championships.

The fact that the Rangers have their top three picks from the 2009 draft invited to their respective World Juniors camps highlights the strength of the Rangers drafting in 2009. Drafting has become a strength that we as Rangers fans are not accustomed to, and it is starting to give us hope that this team is on the right path.

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Rangers With Five in Top 80 Prospects

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Yesterday, Puck Prospectus released it’s Top 100 prospects, and it is nice to see four Rangers on this list, all within the Top 80. The five Rangers within the top 80 shouldn’t come as a surprise to anyone, as these are generally the top five prospects that we all want to see wearing Rangers blue in the very, very near future. What is very nice to see is that three of these prospects sit in the top 35, something that Rangers fans are not used to.

The highest rated prospect starts at #23, where Evgeny Grachev sits comfortably. Despite his off year in Hartford, the 19 year old LW has some of the highest potential in the Rangers farm system. What many Ranger fans forget is that Artem Anisimov had a rough start to his AHL career, but he came back and averaged a point per game the year after. AA is now one of our favorite rookies with some great potential. It isn’t far fetched to see Grachev follow that same route, assuming he figures out how to play without the puck.

Just two spots below Grachev, Wisconsin center Derek Stepan sits at #25. Stepan was one of the highly touted prospects in the system before the World Juniors. After captaining the US team to Gold while leading the tournament in scoring, his value skyrocketed. Stepan has all the tools to be a top six forward. The 20 year old center will be spending at least one more year at Wisconsin, where his Badgers were the Frozen Four runners-up in this year’s tournament. Stepan will also serve as an assistant captain next season for the Badgers.

Read more after the jump

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