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Posts tagged: Roman Horak

Prospect Watch

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%

Prospect Watch

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

USA Loses in Shootout

Team USA lost its first game at the World Junior Championships last night, falling to Canada 5-4 in a shootout. Rangers prospects Derek Stepan (one assist) and Chris Kreider showed tremendous skill and skating ability during the game. I have been very high on Stepan since the Rangers drafted him, but Kreider is the one that is starting to turn heads. His skill set is there, and now he is putting it together against some tough competition.

Kreider and Ryan Bourque was held off the score sheet during the loss.

Roman Horak, playing for the Czech U20 team, contributed an assist in the Czech Republic’s 5-2 loss last night, eliminating them from the competition.

Kreider Scores Winner, USA 2-0

The U20 Team USA increased their record to 2-0 last night, beating the Swiss 3-0. Two Ranger prospects again impressed during the victory, as Chris Kreider netted the eventual game winner, with Derek Stepan picking up an assist on the goal. Ryan Bourque picked up his first point of the tournament, an assist, on the second goal of the game.

The Rangers have a fourth prospect participating in the tournament. Roman Horak (2009, 5th round), playing for the Czech Republic, netted his first goal of the tournament in a 4-3 loss to Finland. The Czech team is 0-2 thus far.

2009 Draft Review

Well, it’s about time I reviewed the draft. It’s been a busy weekend, and the sun being out all weekend has made it impossible to do a decent blog entry. Sorry, but the sun > blogging.

Anyway, let’s go through each of the picks:

1st Round (19th overall) – Chris Kreider, Center, Andover Academy

As touched on earlier, the kid is real fast, probably faster than a lot of NHLers at this point, and his speed is definitely his calling card. He isn’t small, at 6’2 200 lbs, so being able to package size and speed is rare. He can dangle with the best of them, even at top speed. He is tearing up Division I High School Prep, putting up 96 points in two seasons.

The knock on him is that he hasn’t seen any real competition at his current level, so the numbers may be incredibly skewed. The kid is a project, as he is committed to Boston College for the 2010-2011 season (he still has a year of high school left), and has a lot of raw talent that needs to be honed into hockey skills, specifically playing to his size, and his defensive zone abilities.

I’m not sure how I feel about this pick. The kid probably has the highest ceiling of the mid-first round picks, but as already stated, he is a big project, and won’t be in the NHL for at least four years. He will spend a year in HS, a year at BC, and maybe will come over to the AHL after his freshman year. To be honest, that’s not what the Rangers needed right now. They need someone who can be an impact within two seasons, not four.

I compare this pick to the Blake Wheeler pick by the Coyotes in 2004. Questionable at best, but could have high rewards, if he remains with the organization. Personally, I would have preferred they pick Jordan Schroeder, an initial top-10 pick who slipped all the way to #22.

2nd Round, 47th Overall, Ethan Werek, Center, Kingston (OHL)
Werek is a blue collar guy with an offense touch. A slow accelerator when skating, but once he gets going, he has decent speed. He put up 64 points (32 goals) in 62 games with Kingston of the OHL in his rookie season. He gets his goals by crashing the net and looking for rebounds, something that the current Ranger team is lacking. He is 6’0, 190 lbs, so he still has room to grow, but needs to learn how to utilize his size to better position himself on both sides of the puck. Like most young kids, his defensive game needs work, as does his discipline.

Werek is at least three seasons from the NHL.

3rd Round, 80th Overall, Ryan Bourque, C/LW, USA U-18 Team
Yes, this is Ray Bourque’s son. So he has the pedigree working for him. Ryan was one of the top players on the U-18 USA team, putting up 43 points in his first year. He has limited size (5’8, 165 lbs), but never quits and is definitely another blue-collar guy who plays hard in front of the net. He has a lot of skill, speed, and creativity, but it does not translate into making those around him better. A great work ethic and team-first attitude, which is definitely something he learned from his father.

Ryan is committed to the QMJHL next season.

5th Round, 127th Overall, Roman Horak, Center, Czech Extraliga
The 6’0 189 lb center from the Czech Republic, averaged roughly a point per game in his first two seasons (2007-2008, 2008-2009) in the Czech U-20 league, but was held pointless in 8 games at the elite level. That shouldn’t surprise anyone, he’s just 18.

There isn’t much available about the mystery Czech, other than what’s available from Hockeys Future:

Horak has a lot of offensive skill and breakaway speed, but the rest of his game needs work. He doesn’t put in much effort when he doesn’t have the puck.

Lots of skill, no work ethic. It’s a 5th round pick, I guess if he had a work ethic, he would have been drafted higher. This is a very hit-or-miss draft pick.

5th Round, 140th Overall, Scott Stajcer, Goalie, Owen Sound Attack (OHL)
Stajcer went 15-15, with a 3.05 GAA and a .906 SV% in his rookie season with the Owen Sound Attack. The 6’3 goalie’s numbers shouldn’t scare you away, as his team was awful on the defensive side of the puck. He improved greatly as the season progressed, and thus salvaged a .500 record for himself. He participated in the CHL Top Prospects game this year, and while he has the desired size of an NHL goalie, he needs to work on his positioning to be an effective NHL goalie.

6th Round, 170th Overall, Daniel Maggio, Defense, Sudbury Wolves (OHL)
The Rangers brass loves themselves some OHL defensemen, but Maggio is different from the most recent OHL defensemen picks of the Rangers. Maggio is a stay-at-home defenseman, putting up 36 points in 108 games with Sudbury in two seasons. He is a fighter, putting up 156 PIMS in those 108 games. There’s not much else on him.

7th Round, 200th overall, Mihail Pashnin, Defense, Russia
The name Mihail Pashnin should sound familiar, as he was the #1 overall pick in the 2009 KHL draft. He is just 5’9, and put up 16 points in 32 games with his Russian (not KHL) team last season. He put up two assists and a +6 in 7 games at the U20 Worlds this year.

This was probably the best value pick the Rangers made. If he comes over to North America after finishing up his two years in the KHL, he should make the roster and be an effective player.

Overall Thoughts: The Rangers definitely addressed their need for forward prospects and a decent goalie prospect in the draft, but the Kreider pick is definitely a gigantic question mark for a lot of people. He will not help the Rangers in the immediate future, and probably not until 2013. The Stajcer and Pashnin picks were great value picks, as Stajcer’s team hurt his stats, thus hurting his draft position, and Pashnin’s KHL contract hurt his NHL draft position.

Back to Kreider, the kid has a lot of talent, and definitely merited a first round selection, but the issue here is that the Rangers need immediate help. Kreider will definitely be an effective NHL player, but when remains to be the question.

If I had to grade the draft, I’d give it a C+. Not terrible, addressed some needs, but left the glaring hole of an immediate help to the lack of scoring.