Archive for Neal Pionk

neal pionk

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Per Elliotte Friedman, the Rangers have made a big splash in the undrafted free agent market. They have signed defenseman Neal Pionk of Minnesota-Duluth to en entry level deal, a much sought after UDFA. Josh profiled him last month, and that’s definitely worth the read. For the cliff notes version: Pionk is a right handed puck moving defenseman that put up 34 (7-27-34) points in 42 games as one of the NCAA’s top scoring defensemen. He was also a second team All Star.

Pionk, at 6’0 and 190 lbs, plays with a bit of a mean streak as well. While his joy for laying people out with open ice hits can cause him to be out of position from time to time, Pionk is a three-zone defenseman who piqued the interest of most of the league. He will need some seasoning, having just completed his sophomore season, but this is a big time win for the Rangers in landing him.

I’m going to open up a can of worms here, but between Alexei Bereglazov, Radim Simek, and now Pionk, there’s some change coming to the Rangers’ blue line.

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neal pionk

Although the Rangers finally have a first round pick, they will need some more prospects to fill out the organization. They are already linked to KHL defenseman Alexei Bereglazov, but given their history of signing NCAA free agents, we should expect that again this year.

Undrafted NCAA prospects are interesting assets. A majority of them don’t make it to the NHL, most likely because of age. The older you are in the NCAA, the higher the expectations to succeed, since you are in your prime years. Over at Canucks Army have numerous methods in predicting prospect success. One major find is that undrafted NCAA players seem to have a higher chance at making an NHL impact if they leave during their sophomore year, junior the latest.

That said, an organization is run from top to bottom so if certain NCAA guys can become solid AHL contributors, then it is just as beneficial for the Rangers.

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Categories : Prospects
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