Archive for Scott Stajcer
The Rangers will have a very keen eye (or at least they should) on the OHL playoff finals which start on Tuesday. Rangers draft pick and Owen Sound goalie Scott Stajcer kicks off in the finals against Mississauga after beating a good Windsor Spitfires team in their conference finals, 4-1.
Stajcer – a goalie not yet even guaranteed to be offered a contract by the Rangers – has been a difference maker for Owen Sound. The 2009 5th round pick boasts an 8-1 record along with an impressive 2.08 goals against average and a .931 save percentage. Stajcer has risen to the challenge of playing his best hockey at the right time, the most important time, of the year. With Owen Sound making their way to the Memorial Cup after the league finals, the Rangers will also be represented in the Canadian Junior’s showpiece event.
Stajcer’s play should earn him a Rangers contract. One minor concern in the organisation is that there is no real clear cut NHL calibre goalie on the horizon should anything long term happen to Henrik Lundqvist’s situation. Stajcer’s play is suggesting he could be the one to change that. A low draft pick who has had , at times an indifferent junior career, Stajcer started this year on fire and got injured but came back to play brilliantly in the playoffs. With minor league veterans and unproven goalies in the system (Grumet-Morris, Missiaen) the Rangers could do with a young goalie with some pedigree to come up and look like being able to be an NHL goalie.
Since Lundqvist established himself as an NHL elite goalie the Rangers goalie situation beyond the NHL level has been a bit of a mess. Come and gone have been the likes of Chris Holt, Miika Wiikman, Antoine LaFleur, Alvaro Montoya, Cam Talbot, Matt Zaba and Chad Johnson – none of whom made themselves irreplaceable in the system. Stajcer, should he get his deserved contract, should have a chance to make inroads in to the franchise regardless if he starts in the ECHL or AHL. Chad Johnson is coming off a disappointing year, surely the organisation won’t see veteran Grumet-Morris as a long term solution and Talbot has already won and lost a starting job at the AHL level. As you can see, Stajcer may have an opportunity.
The OHL finals start on Tuesday. Rangers’ fans should monitor the progress of Stajcer as he may become a recognisable face over the next few years with a bit of luck.
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
Three Ranger prospects have been selected to represent Team OHL at the annual Subway Super Series, beginning on November 11. Center Ethan Werek (Kingston Frontenacs), winger Christian Thomas (Oshawa Generals), and goalie Scott Stajcer (Owen Sound Attack) will each play in the series. Each are off to strong starts and carrying their respective clubs through the beginning of the year. Werek has put up over a point per game in six games (6-4-10), while Thomas has been lighting the lamp at will in the first eight games of his season, putting up a whopping ten goals and almost two points per game (10-5-15). The biggest surprise could be Stajcer, who has been a rock in net for the Owen Sound Attack, with a GAA of 1.86 and a SV% of .943. Werek, Thomas, and Stajcer are the only Rangers prospects selected for the Subway Super Series.
The Rangers were somewhat fortunate today as Tim Kennedy (and his bargain contract) and Todd White both cleared waivers. The Rangers now have the luxury of assigning either player to Hartford within the next 30 days at no risk of losing them. Both players will stay with the club for the time being and each player’s future with the Rangers is possibly closely linked to Vinny Prospal’s health. How long will Prospal be out? That is a very difficult question right now.
Only two players around the league were placed on waivers today which was somewhat surprising. Nathan Paetsch in Florida and epic disappointment, Toronto’s Matt Lashoff (once a top prospect) were the two put on waivers. A name missing from today (and yesterdays) list? Sheldon Souray. Souray hasn’t been placed on re-entry waivers so anyone who may get him in a trade (by 3pm eastern, today) will be on the hook for his full contract. Unless he comes up on re-entry waivers later in the season, for the time being you have to assume this rules the Rangers out of any Souray stakes. The Rangers simply can’t afford to be on the hook for 5.4m for the next 2 years. 2.7m would have been manageable (yet still not ideal) although in my humble opinion there’s nothing wrong with keeping cap space. If it has to be spent there are better places to spend it. Also, it may be better to let the team play a few games and see where the team is heading before spending the cap space. With the benefit of a few regular season games it may be that the defense is solid and more rugged than last year’s, while the team may need more offense.
Following on from today’s Prospect Watch post… Congratulations to Scott Stajcer who was today named the CHL’s ‘goalie of the week’. It’s good to see Scott Stajcer start the season so well in Owen Sound. The young goalie needs a good season – to remain relevant and to kick on – and a 1.00 GAA and a 3-0-0 record to kick off his season is a great reaction to a so-so camp. The Rangers are high on Stajcer and given the disappointment in their goalie development in recent years (Antoine Lafleur, Al Montoya anyone?) it would be good to see the Rangers bring along another goalie. If Stajcer can develop well he’ll have a good chance to get serious playing time in Hartford in two years time and get the opportunity to showcase his talent there, for the big league. With Marty Biron’s deal up in two years and Chad Johnson likely in NY or another organisation by then, Stajcer does indeed have an opportunity to progress within the organisation – it’s up to him to take it.
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.