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Posts tagged: Ryan Bourque

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.

USA Wins Opener, Stepan Collects Three Points

Team USA got off to a great start in the World Junior Championships yesterday, downing Slovakia 7-3 in the opener. Team USA was down 2-0 early, but tallied four goals in a row en route to the rout.

Rangers 2008 second round draft pick Derek Stepan had a big game, netting a goal, two assists, and a plus-4 rating. Chris Kreider, the Rangers 2009 first round pick, also hit the score sheet with an assist and a plus-1.

Ryan Bourque (2009, third round) also played a solid game, finishing with a plus-1 rating.

Three Prospects On Team USA

The Rangers will be heavily represented on Team USA for the IIHF World Junior Championships in December / January. Three prospects will be joining Team USA: Chris Kreider (1st, 2009), Ryan Bourque (3rd, 2009) and Derek Stepan (2nd, 2008).

Although Kreider is struggling a little bit in college, it is a great sign that he was selected to be on this team. The pick of Kreider last June wasn’t meant to pay dividends until at least 3-4 years down the road, and this is one of those steps in a positive direction.

As for Bourque and Stepan, well they are both putting up great numbers in their respective leagues (Bourque – QMJHL, Stepan – NCAA). Personally, I’m very high on Stepan, and can’t wait until he (and teammate Ryan McDonagh) comes to play for the Rangers.

Prospects Make Preliminary US Junior Team

The Rangers have a very deep farm system, filled with great talent with great potential. USA Hockey has recognized this talent, and several Ranger prospects have been selected to the preliminary 29 player roster. The roster will be reduced in size prior to the IIHF World Junior Championship from December 26-Jan 5. The notable Ranger prospects included on the roster:

The interesting thing here is that they are all forwards. The Rangers excel in defensive prospects, such as Ryan McDonagh, but seeing as how the rest of them play professional hockey in some sense (NHL/AHL), no Ranger defensive prospects were taken.

The Rangers have done very well in the draft the past few seasons, and have done well with undrafted free agents as well. Kudos to the scouts for finding these guys.

Ranger Prospects Make Cut, Contribute in Win

I’m still in LA, and still with limited access to the internet. Luckily, there hasn’t been much going on in Ranger land other than the Zherdev to the KHL rumors.

In promising news, all three Ranger prospects made the cut for the US National Team (Chris Kreider, Ryan Bourque, Derek Stepan). Both Bourque and Stepan contributed points (1 G and 1 A respectively) in the US’ dominating win over Russia, 8-1.

It is good to see the prospects contributing on their level, and we should hope their development continues.

Stepan is going to be gold.

U-20 Rosters Set

The guys at Beyond the Blueshirts have the inside scoop on the rosters for the USA/Russia U-20 four-game series to be played in Lake Placid this year. The US roster has three Ranger prospects participating: Chris Kreider, Derek Stepan, and Ryan Bourque. Kreider, the Rangers 1st round pick in 2009, and Stepan, the Rangers 2nd round pick in 2008, will both be participating in their first U-20 tryout. This will be Ryan Bourque’s (2009 3rd rounder) second go-round with the club.

It will be interesting to see how Kreider, who has never played against this level of competition before, fairs in this tryout. He is definitely skilled, but hasn’t had the chance to showcase it against all-world talent his age.

Notably left off the Russian team was OHL rookie of the year, and Rangers prospect-extraordinaire, Evgeny Grachev. This definitely wasn’t a slight to Grachev, and the logical reasoning is that the Rangers requested he be left off the roster for fear of injury, which really shouldn’t surprise anyone. I guess this means the club believes that Grachev may actually have a shot at making the big club next season. Personally, I think he goes to the OHL for another season, and then may actually spend a year in the AHL. No need to rush him.

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.