Kyle Jean signing the latest victory for New York’s scouting staff

One of the most frequently asked questions this offseason after, “is Rick Nash a Ranger yet?” has been, “who the heck is Kyle Jean?”

The answer is simple: he’s the latest gem uncovered by Gordie Clark and New York’s superior scouting staff, which has developed something of a Midas touch over the last couple of years.

It wasn’t long ago that the Rangers were completely incapable of even getting a high first-round pick right.  But now, Clark and company are unearthing NHL caliber prospects not just through the draft’s later rounds, but even from the ranks of those that have long been completely ignored throughout their junior careers.

Jean, a 22-year-old forward out of Lake Superior State in the CCHA, is the latest of these, but the amateur scouting staff (Larry Bernard, Rich Brown, Brendon Clark, Daniel Dore, Ernie Gare, Peter Stephan and Tom Thompson) has outperformed its counterparts by leaps and bounds over the last 12 months.

Last summer the Rangers offered a 5-foot-9, 175-pound kid named Jonathan Audy-Marchessault an amateur tryout after seeing him put up lofty numbers in the QMJHL while teammates with Ryan Bourque.

J.A.M., as he’s come to be known, racked up 64 points (24 goals, 40 assists) with the Connecticut Whale last season, good for 10th among AHL players.  Unfortunately, Audy-Marchessault was inked to an Entry Level contract by Columbus this week, where he’ll have a much easier path to the NHL than he would have had with New York.

But no matter, because the amateur scouting staff had already uncovered its next coup, a 6-1, 197-pound left wing named Marek Hrivik, who had spent the previous three seasons with the QMJHL’s Moncton Wildcats.  Hrivik was quiet in his eight regular season games with the Whale, but exploded for five goals in nine playoff games and quickly earned himself a pro contract, which he signed following the season.

By this summer it should have become clear to frequently ignored prospects that the members of the Rangers’ scouting staff know what they are doing and that the organization is very willing to give players a shot even if they don’t follow traditional paths.

And that’s exactly what happened with Jean, who apparently spurned several other invites to attend the Rangers’ development camp, where he scored four scrimmage goals and wowed those in attendance.

Jean’s 6-4, 212-pound frame is perhaps his most eye-popping characteristic, but he is said to be a decent skater for his size with some finish ability.

It’s way too early to guess whether Hrivik or Jean will ever find themselves playing on Broadway, but they both earned a chance to develop under the watch of an organization that has had unparalleled success with prospects in recent years.

Don’t go penciling either player onto the Rangers’ 2013 roster, but if you’ve already got a writing utensil handy, Clark and the rest of the scouting staff could certainly use some thank you cards.

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  • These are depth players for the Whale, but could be diamonds in the rough! Your spot on, this scouting staff has become second to none in the NHL, and for that we thank them for their collective hard work.

  • It’s why even though we draft so well I’m hesitant to say that we “need” a Rick Nash in our lineup (if Gaborik is healthy). When the Devils won and won big from 1994-2003 they did it with excellent drafting. In the salary cap era the Rangers seem to be copying that successful model of how to run a team – build from the goalie out, make sure the AHL team plays the same system as the NHL squad, don’t cripple the team with horrendous contract (or stash them away in the minors – I feel bad for Wade Redden at this point) etc… Holik would lead the team in scoring every year with like 60PTS and they won cups (save for 00-01 when Elias played with Mogilny and they both scored 40). I’m rambling but I guess what I’m trying to say is that even if we don’t get Rick Nash we can still be a cup contender this year based on natural organizational development from the players.

  • Great post! And Scully is spot on. I say we tell Howson to go screw…
    I have heard Danny Dorrey’s name mentioned a few times lately…no relation to an old favorite Andre Dore!

  • NYR1579

    Re: Daniel Dore

    Dore was a long time scout for the Boston Bruins who were foolish enough to let him and Jeff Gorton walk after the 2006 draft.

    Dore covers the QMJHL for the NYR

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