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Posts tagged: Roman Horak

Tim Erixon is a Ranger because of Al Montoya

When I get bored, I like to research how specific players came to the Rangers organization. One of the first ones I researched was how Matthew Barnaby’s acquisition led to Brandon Dubinsky becoming a Ranger. Another I did was how Vladamir Malakhov’s signing led to Marc Staal becoming a Ranger. Now in some more research, feast your eyes on how Tim Erixon became a Ranger:

  • 2004: New York Rangers draft Al Montoya with the sixth overall pick.
  • 2/26/2008: Rangers trade Montoya and Marcel Hossa to the Phoenix Coyotes for Frederick Sjostrom, John Gratton, David LeNeveu, and a conditional fifth round pick. The conditions of the pick were that LeNeveu did not re-sign with the Rangers (he did not) and that Montoya played at least 15 games with the Coyotes (he did).
  • As a result of these conditions being met, the Rangers were award the fifth round pick in 2009, which they used on Roman Horak.
  • 6/1/11: Rangers deal Roman Horak, and two second round picks to the Calgary Flames for Tim Erixon and a fifth round pick (Shane McColgan).

Your mind has been blown. Stop hating on drafting Montoya already.

Rangers Acquire (And Sign) Tim Erixon From Calgary

In a bit of shocking news, the Rangers have acquired Tim Erixon and a 2011 5th round pick from Calgary in exchange for Roman Horak and two 2011 second round picks.  Erixon, Calgary’s first round pick in 2009 (23rd overall), had until 5pm today to reach an agreement on an entry level deal with the Flames.  Calgary, realizing that a deal could not be reached, dealt the 20 year old defenseman to the Rangers around 4pm.  If Calgary did not make this trade, they would have received the #53 overall pick as compensation for not signing Erixon.  The #53 pick set market value for Erixon, even if he would have been an instant top-10 pick in this draft due to the lack of depth in this year’s class.

Erixon is 6’2″ and 190 lbs.  He completed his second season in the Swedish Elite Leagues, finishing with a line of 5-19-24 in 48 games.  In the playoffs, he finished with a line 3-5-8 in 18 games.  The name might sound familiar, as he is former Ranger Jan Erixon’s son.  Erixon projects out to be a top-four defenseman, who is a fluid skater and just smooth in almost every aspect of the game.  He won’t stand out, but as a defenseman, that’s probably a good thing.  He could chip in offensively too, as the SEL is a notoriously low scoring league.

The Rangers have until 5pm to sign Erixon, or they get nothing in return as compensation.  Expect a deal to be announced shortly.

Update 4:03pm - Erixon has been signed to an entry level deal.

Update 4:20pm - Press release is after the jump

Read more »

HF: Rangers “Loaded” In Juniors

The Rangers upper management sure has been busy this month.  In all, the Rangers have signed six prospects out of the Canadian Juniors, with only one eligible player (Dan Maggio) remaining unsigned.  Leslie Treff at HockeysFuture took an in-depth look at the nine prospects that the Rangers had in juniors, which includes the six signed and three unsigned (including Maggio).  Treff predicts that only one player has a legitimate shot at making the club next year (Christian Thomas), while another top prospect (Dylan McIlrath) is likely headed back to Juniors.

It’s tough to disagree with Leslie here when it comes to where the prospects wind up.  Due to age restrictions, Thomas is either going to play for the Rangers or return to the OHL.  At the risk of repeating myself, I still think he makes the squad outright.  McIlrath is also a lock to be returned to the WHL.  As for the other players that signed (Ryan Bourque, Roman Horak, Scott Stajcer, Jason Wilson), all four will be spending at least one season with the CT Whale, as Leslie states in her article.

Where things get interesting are with Maggio, Randy McNaught, and Andrew Yogan. Treff states that Maggio likely will not be offered a contract, which means the Rangers rights to sign him will expire next week.  I am a little disappointed to hear that, because once Maggio was traded to Oshawa (Thomas’ club), he showed vast improvement in his game.  I was hoping he would be signed, and to be honest, I assumed he would be.  However, it appears that the Rangers are done signing their prospects, which leaves him out of the bigger picture.

McNaught, who was initially drafted to be a tough guy for the Rangers, he suffered a sever ankle injury that required surgery.  With last season being his over-age season in Canadian Juniors, he cannot return there next year.  Treff states that he likely will not be given an entry level deal because of this.

As for Yogan, the Rangers will retain his rights for at least another year, as he was a 2010 draftee who was not in his overage year in the CHL.  Yogan has talent, but his shoulder injury really hampered the Rangers decision making ability.  He played well in his ATO with the CT Whale this year, registering three points in two games.  With the Rangers approaching the 50 contract limit, there is no need to sign Yogan now, especially when there is a significant shoulder issue.

In regards to long-term development of these prospects, Thomas is the only one likely to be with the Rangers next season.  McIlrath is also going to be a Ranger at some point (barring a significant trade).  Stajcer’s path is blocked by Henrik Lundqvist, so the best case scenario is that he becomes either a viable backup for The King.  Bourque, Horak, and Wilson will likely be in CT for at least a season and a half, possibly longer.  None really project out to be top-six guys at the NHL level.  It doesn’t mean they aren’t useful pieces though.  I wouldn’t be surprised to see any of them packaged in a bigger deal.

More On Horak

Just because we are on the press release list for the Whale doesn’t mean we can’t go more in depth about the Roman Horak signing.  Horak, the Rangers 5th round pick in 2009, had a pair of productive seasons in the WHL before signing his entry level deal.  The soon-to-be 20 year old has had two productive seasons in the WHL, finishing at more than a point per game in this year’s campaign.  In the playoffs, Horak continued on his point per game pace, but his Chilliwack Bruins were outsted after five games. 

Horak will likely be with the CT Whale next season, as he is going to need more seasoning and time to develop in order to make it to the NHL.  He projects out to be a bottom-six guy, and is currently the #15 prospect in the Rangers system (as per HockeysFuture).  As for the contract, I would expect his cap hit to be relatively low, definitely six figures.  My guess would be around $700,000 or so.  He will be with the Whale for at least a year, maybe even two.  Horak is a good prospect who has the same skill set as Carl Hagelin, but will be unlikely to achieve Hagelin’s success.

Between Horak, Hagelin, and Ryan Bourque, the CT Whale is looking to be mighty stacked with good prospects.  Expect players like Jason Wilson, Scott Stajcer, and possibly Christian Thomas (although he can’t play in the AHL) to sign soon too.

Rangers Agree To Terms With Roman Horak

From the CT Whale Press Release:

RANGERS AGREE TO TERMS WITH FORWARD ROMAN HORAK
New York, May 6, 2011 – New York Rangers President and General Manager Glen Sather announced today that the club has agreed to terms with forward Roman Horak.  Horak, 19, skated in 64 games with the Chilliwack Bruins of the Western Hockey League (WHL) this season, registering 26 goals and 52 assists for 78 points, along with 60 penalty minutes.  He established career-highs in goals, assists, points, and power play goals (19).  Horak tied for 12th in the WHL with 15 power play assists, and led all Chilliwack skaters with a 1.22 points per game average.  He also tied for first on the Bruins in assists and shorthanded goals (two), ranked second in goals and points, and third in power play goals.  Horak posted a career-high, 11-game scoring streak from October 16 vs. Vancouver to November 12 vs. Red Deer, tallying 14 points (six goals, eight assists) over the span.  He recorded a career-high, 19 multi-point performances, including four straight multi-point efforts to begin the season from September 25 at Kamloops to October 9 vs. Seattle (five goals, six assists during the stretch).  In addition, Horak tallied one goal and two assists in five playoff contests.

The 6-1, 180-pounder has skated in 130 career WHL contests with Chilliwack, registering 47 goals and 78 assists for 125 points, along with 99 penalty minutes and a plus-eight rating.  In 2009-10, he tied for first among WHL rookies with six game-winning goals and a team record, five shorthanded goals.  Horak tied for fifth in the league overall in shorthanded goals and 17th in game-winning goals, and tied for third on Chilliwack in goals (21) and ranked fourth in assists (26) and points (47).  Horak has also registered nine points (three goals, six assists) in 11 career WHL playoff contests.  He tied for the team lead in points (six), ranked second in assists (four) and tied for third in goals (two) in six games during the 2010 WHL playoffs.  Horak made his WHL debut on September 18, 2009 vs. Kamloops, and recorded his first career point with an assist on September 19, 2009 at Kamloops.

Internationally, Horak has represented his native Czech Republic in several tournaments, including the 2010 and 2011 World Junior Championships.  In 2011, he recorded one assist and ranked third on the team with 15 shots on goal.  Horak tallied one goal and one assist in six tournament contests in 2010.
The Ceske Budejovice, Czech Republic native was originally the Rangers fifth round choice, 127th overall, in the 2009 NHL Entry Draft.

USA, Sweden Fall; Will Play For Bronze

Last night, Team USA saw their hopes of winning two straight gold medals at the World Junior Championships crushed at the hands of an incredibly stacked Team Canada. The USA, featuring Rangers prospects Chris Kreider and Ryan Bourque, played a very lackluster game, and lost 4-1 to the Canadians. The only bright spot for Team USA was goalie Jack Campbell, who stood on his head and was the only reason why this game wasn’t 10-1 at the end. Both Bourque and Kreider played strong games, but the overall play of Team USA left something to be desired.

As for Team Sweden, with Rangers prospect Jesper Fasth, they fell in a shootout to Russia 4-3, and will face USA for the bronze medal. Fasth made the Rangers proud, playing a solid game and netting an assist while playing top line minutes. The bronze medal game will begin at 3:30pm on Wednesday.

All four Ranger prospects, including Roman Horak of the Czech Republic, have played solidly in this tournament. Kreider, Bourque, and Horak are three names you generally hear when talking about Ranger prospects, but Fasth really landed on the map after this tournament. Fasth still has two years left on his contract with the Swedish Elite League, but Kreider, Bourque, and Horak will likely turn pro after their seasons end in the NCAA, QMJHL, and WHL respectively.

Kreider, Fasth Score; USA, Sweden Win

Team USA, one of the strong teams at this year’s World Junior Championships, won its games last night to improve to 3-0 in round robin play. Chris Kreider (first round, 2009) scored for Team USA in their 4-0 win over Germany. In a game utterly dominated by Team USA, Kreider scored a powerplay goal in the second period, his first of the tournament. Ryan Bourque (third round, 2009) also added an assist. In the three games thus far for Team USA, Kreider has a goal and two assists, and Bourque has two assists. Both are seeing significant ice time.

Meanwhile, in a game that saw two Ranger prospects square off, Sweden knocked off the Czech Republic 6-3 to also remain 3-0 in round robin play. Jesper Fasth (sixth round, 2010) netted two goals in the game, giving him a total of three goals to go with one assist in Sweden’s three games thus far. In the game, Czech winger Roman Horak (fifth round, 2009) did not score, but played a very strong game and was one of the Czech’s key players.

Each team plays their final games of round robin play today, with Sweden taking on Canada at 4pm, Czech Republic taking on Russia at 7pm, and Team USA taking on Switzerland at 8pm. Both USA and Sweden have wrapped up spots in the single elimination tournament, but the Czechs need a win against Russia to secure that final spot.

WJC: Team USA, Sweden Win; Czech Republic Loses

Team USA continued their winning ways last night, crushing Slovakia 6-1 to increase their record to 2-0 in the tournament. Rangers prospects Chris Kreider (first round, 2009) and Ryan Bourque (third round, 2009). Both players earned assists in the contest, giving Kreider two for the tournament, and Bourque one. Although neither player has scored a goal, both look very strong and have been playing very well, including getting considerable time on the powerplay. Bourque was also used on the penalty kill. Kreider also finished with a +1 rating, while Bourque was even for the game. Team USA’s next game is tomorrow against Germany at 7pm.

Jesper Fasth (sixth round, 2010), playing for Sweden, scored a goal and finished with a +1 rating in Sweden’s 2-0 win over Russia. Sweden, like the USA, is 2-0 so far in tournament play.

Roman Horak (fifth round, 2009), playing for the Czech Republic, was held off the score sheet as the Czechs were dominated by the Canadians. Sweden (with Fasth) will face the Czech Republic (with Horak) tomorrow at 7pm.

USA, Sweden Win Openers in World Junior Championship

The Rangers have four prospects playing in this year’s World Junior Championship, and three of them played last night in Buffalo. Team USA, who won gold last year, has Chris Kreider (1st round, 2009) and Ryan Bourque (3rd round, 2009) returning for this year’s tournament. Team USA started off strong, beating Team Finland 3-2 in overtime last night. Kreider assisted on USA’s first goal, playing on the first line. Bourque was held off the score sheet while playing on the third line. Both finished with an even rating.

Jesper Fasth (6th round, 2010) was also in action for Team Sweden yesterday. Fasth had an assist in Sweden’s 7-1 rout of Norway while skating on the top line. Fasth also finish with a +1 rating. This is his first World Junior Championship.

The fourth Rangers prospect participating in this year’s tournament is Roman Horak (5th round, 2009), playing for the Czech Republic. Horak, like Kreider and Bourque, is playing in his second straight tournament. He will suit up today as the Czechs take on Norway.

Big Change Awaits The Rangers

Looking ahead to the summer there appears to be potential for significant change in the Rangers organisation. With players such as Vinny Prospal, Alex Frolov, Ruslan Fedotenko and Todd White from the current roster all with expiring deals, and each unlikely to return, there is scope for major roster re-shaping. Then there’s also the potential of major change in Connecticut. Dale Weise, Evgeny Grachev, Mats Zuccarello, Ryan McDonagh, Pavel Valentenko and perhaps even Tomas Kundratek are all possible, legitimate Rangers candidates leaving major holes in the Connecticut roster. When you also consider the likes of Tim Kennedy and Brodie Dupont (unlikely to stick around if he sees little chance of an NHL call up) are likely to leave the organisation as well, all this potential change really emphasises the importance of good drafting. The ‘cupboards’ constantly need re-stocking and just one or two bad drafts can leave a big gap in an organisation. That is when an organisation has to make up for the lack of prospect development through free agency which is where the significant risk lies. We saw how bad it can go during the dark years the Rangers recently experienced.

Since the lockout the Rangers have done an excellent job at drafting well and Rangers fans are seeing the fruits of the draft right now, as the current roster is populated with talent such as Brandon Dubinsky, Ryan Callahan and Marc Staal leading the Rangers during a productive season. With the prospect of youngsters such as Chris Kreider, Carl Hagelin, Roman Horak and Ethan Werek possible candidates to turn pro, the youth movement really will accelerate next summer. This, like free agency, does represent some danger. Both levels of the organisation will be very young and inexperienced which can lead to inconsistency, a potential lack of immediate success and stagnation but it is a danger that is worth taking on as much as it was a necessary one for the Rangers.

This all brings us back to the upcoming summer. Whether the Rangers compliment the current core with a Brad Richards type or not, significant change is indeed coming. With some cap space available and plenty of talent to choose from within it will be interesting to see how the Rangers go about the next phase of re-tooling the organisation. The most important additions may be the ones that come up from Junior and college, to the AHL, to keep the process moving or it may be free agents but it needs to be remembered that it’s not always about the headline grabbing signing. Looking at recent Cup champions such as the Hawks who added effective players like Tomas Kopecky or the Penguins who added Fedotenko or Billy Guerin successfully shows that it isn’t just the big name players that lead to success. Another example of organisational development is the way the Penguins let Gonchar walk this past summer but were only able to do so because of the development of younger players like Letang and Goligoski.

The Rangers do need a top line center but it doesn’t necessarily need to be a marquee addition. The Rangers need to play this season and then assess. With the development Stepan is going through there is no reason why he couldn’t take the job next year on a full time basis. The Rangers have their marquee guys in Gaborik, Lundqvist and the way he is developing, Marc Staal. There’s no guarantee the Rangers will win the Richards sweepstakes should he make it to July so it’s important to remember a team can win the cup with depth and commitment to a system. The Rangers’ best opportunity for sustained success may lie in this area and this is why drafting and managing the organisation effectively next summer could be pivotal. It should be exciting to watch it all unfold.