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World Junior Championship Begins Today

Today marks the beginning of the 2012 World Junior Championship Tournament, taking place in Edmonton. The Rangers have a big history in this tournament, as current players/prospects Derek Stepan, Chris Kreider, Ryan Bourque, and many others have participated in this tournament. The Stepan-Kreider-Bourque led squad won gold in 2010.

This year, the Rangers only have two prospects playing in the tournament: JT Miller (1st round – 2011) on Team USA, Peter Ceresnak (6th round – 2011) on Slovakia, . It is assumed that Jesper Fasth would have played in this year’s tournament for Sweden if not for his current injury.

For those in the US, the NHL Network will be covering the tournament this year. In Canada, TSN will be covering the tournament. You can check out the full schedule here.

Draft Rounds 2-7 Recap

The Rangers entered today with three picks, but wound up making five, as they made two trades to acquire additional picks in this draft. The first trade saw Evgeny Grachev pack his bags for St. Louis in exchange for a third round pick (#72). The second trade was a swap of sixth round picks with Nashville, as the Rangers sent their 2012 sixth rounder for Nashville’s 2011 sixth rounder (#172). Let’s go round by round:

Third round (#72) – Steven Fogarty (C, Edina High School)

This is the pick that is going to get a lot of scrutiny because the Rangers traded Evgeny Grachev to acquire this pick. So in evaluating just Fogarty (go to the Grachev post for commentary on the trade), the Rangers got themselves a skilled center who, according to Kirk Luedeke, is a bit underrated. but has some serious long term potential. Fogarty is definitely a project pick, but the work ethic is second to none. This kid lives to play the game, and will do everything in his power to make it professionally. He competed in the USHL this year after finishing high school, where he was a little over matched against kids much bigger and more mature than him. Standing at 6’1″, 195 lbs, Fogarty is no small kid, but needs time to mature and develop. Although he appears to be a project pick, he has some high potential.

Fourth Round (#106) – Michael St. Croix (C, Edmonton Oil Kings – WHL)

St. Croix is another guy who is a great skater with terrific hands. He has a great release on his shot as well, making him a great offensive threat. The knock on St. Croix is that he sometimes lacks concentration and desire in the defensive end, which caused him to slide in the eyes of scouts. St. Croix is very small (5’11”. 163 lbs), but that didn’t scare people away. There were initially rumblings of him potentially sneaking into the first round, so this may be a potential steal of a pick for the Rangers. That is, if St. Croix continues to show he actually cares about playing in all three zones.

Fifth Round (#134) – Shane McColgan (RW, Kelowna Rockets – WHL)

This is a great pick by the Rangers. McColgan is like lightning on ice, and has hands that can keep up with his speed. The kid was initially thought to be a potential top-ten pick, but a slow start and worries about his size (5’8″, 168 lbs) saw his stock drop drastically. He didn’t really increase his production in the WHL form his rookie season (where he scored 25 goals), which is a trait you like to see from kids playing Canadian Juniors. McColgan is a pick with serious potential and serious offensive flair. He reminds me of a smaller Scott Glennie.

Fifth Round (#136) – Samuel Noreau (D, Baie-Comeau Drakkar – QMJHL)

This kid is big and tough. Standing at 6’5″ and 215 lbs, Noreau is just plain old mean. The kid doesn’t have much, if any, offensive skill, but he is big, tough, nasty, and could be a potential bottom pairing defensive defenseman if he works on his skating. Skating is generally an issue with big defensemen, so that isn’t as much of a surprise or a detriment as some might think.

Sixth Round (#172) – Peter Ceresnak (D, Dukla Trencin – Slovakia)

Another big, stay at home type defenseman, Ceresnak is a bit more tame than Noreau, but equally as physical. Ceresnak plays his game “like a freight train”, lining up players for hits all over the ice. Like most big guys (6’2″, 200 lbs), he needs to work on his skating. Also, like most physical guys, he gets caught out of position looking for the big hit.