Prospects

Cloudy futures for Kristo, Bourque following cuts

Photo: NHL.com
Photo: NHL.com

The two big names that were cut yesterday were Danny Kristo and Ryan Bourque. Both likely aren’t pleased with being part of the second round of cuts, but neither stood out over the other competition. I’m not even talking about veteran competition, I’m talking about prospects: Jesper Fast, Oscar Lindberg, Kevin Hayes, Anthony Duclair, Ryan Haggerty, and Marek Hrivik all played their way ahead of Kristo and Bourque in the prospect pipeline.

Both have their own unique situations that make their future with New York cloudy at best. Bourque, as we mentioned yesterday, is no longer waiver exempt. He will need to clear each time the Rangers send him down. Passing through now may not be a surprise, as teams are still evaluating their own prospects. Any team claiming him would need to give him an NHL roster spot or waive him again. Few teams are in a position to do that during camp evaluations.

Kristo, on the other hand, is in a very unique situation. He does not need waivers, but if he does not play 80 NHL games this season (unlikely), he becomes an unrestricted free agent at the end of the season. Since Kristo is best suited in a top-nine role with an Alain Vigneault coached Ranger team (assuming the fourth line gets most of the defensive zone starts), Kristo is very far back in the pipeline.

Both can be considered trade bait, especially because the Rangers are looking to clear a contract for Duclair. Both would have a fairly low return though. Why would a team trade for Bourque when they can claim him on waivers? Why would a team trade an asset for an unknown prospect (Kristo) who will be a UFA at the end of the year?

That doesn’t mean neither will be traded, in fact I’d probably bet that one of them won’t be a Ranger by the end of the year. However, expecting equal return (third round pick for Bourque, second round pick for Kristo) is pretty much out of the question. We are looking at mid-round picks for these guys now.

Some people –foolishly– will count this as “another sign of Gordie Clark and Glen Sather not drafting properly.” It is in fact the opposite, they’ve drafted well and targeted unsigned draftees (Hayes) and undrafted UFAs (Hrivik, Haggerty) so well that they’ve simply passed the others on the depth chart.

It’s kind odd saying this, but the fact that Kristo and Bourque are now in the middle of the prospect pipeline instead of the top is a good thing. It shows depth of prospects who can contribute at the NHL level. It’s great for the team, but it looks like at least one (if not both)¬†of Kristo’s and Bourque’s futures lie outside the organization.

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  • You are taking a positive spin, which is okay. I do feel that since these 2 guys have slipped down the depth chart speaks to the reasons why vets were brought in. Gordie did take these guys. He has to take some of the criticism for them not being NHL caliber players at this point. Sure Ranger brass patched this problem with other kids ready before they are expected to be (Duclair for one), but 2nd and 3rd round picks should make their way onto an NHL team 2-4 years after drafted. These guys didn’t.

    • While I agree with you that kids taken in the earlier round you hope to develop into NHL players, these two, along with some of our other prospects, are the victims of how solid our top-6, and even our top-9 is.

      There simply isn’t room on the NHL roster for every kid that shows promise or talent. Duclair, who has been impressive in every game he’s played so far, can’t even crack into our top-6 if we didn’t have an injury.

      This isn’t a bad problem to have in my opinion. If anything, it’s giving us a collection of assets that could be used to trade for either a top-C or a solid defensive prospect.

      • There was also a comment made on training camp live that address this point don’t recall exact wording something like the drafting system has changed in recent years to a limited number of rounds. so mid range pick are worth more because the old system drafted till the pool was empty So you need to look at everyone and slats seems to find diamonds in the rough Duclair was round 3, 80th pick and wasn’t Ryan Haggerty undrafted?

    • Not all picks make their way to the clubs that drafted them. Kristo was a 1st rounder that the Rangers acquired for Christian Thomas (2nd rounder, having his own struggles).

      The goal of any draft is to get 1 kid to make it to the NHL, the Rangers have done just that in multiple draft years now.

      • These 2 kids may not make any club. Is it only talent or are they not showing the drive, heart and tenacity that is needed as well?

        • Neither. Kristo would probably be an interesting kid to watch on a team that needs scoring, he didn’t have a bad camp.

          Bourque is a bottom-six guy, and effort was never an issue. He’s a good three-zone guy, but there are just better prospects in the system.

      • There’s a reason we got Kristo for Christian Thomas… neither had a seemingly bright future, but Kristo at least had more offensive upside.

    • It is a total myth that “2d and 3d round picks should make there way onto to an NHL team 2-4 years after drafted”.

      Let’s take a look at the 2d round of the 2008 draft where Kristo was taken by the Canadiens before his trade to the NYR for Christian Thomas.

      * Only 7 of the picks can be considered established players in the NHL (including Voynov, Josi, Hamonic, Justin Schultz and…..Derek Stepan).
      * Not one of the 7 established players has played more games than Stepan’s 294.
      * Only 8 picks are sure bets to make NHL rosters this season with 4 more on the bubble.
      * 21 of the 30 picks have played less than 50 games in the NHL
      * 8, including Kristo, have yet to play a game in the NHL.

      The record is, of course, even spottier in the 3d round.

    • Kristo might me a top 9 player on some NHL teams. Borque might be a serviceable 4th liner on some NHL teams.
      The other side of the coin is if 3-4 of the Ranger prospects play significant NHL games this season. Then these two will be needed to keep talent at the NHL ranks. At least with Kristo I wouldn’t give up on him yet. One more full AHL season could be helpful to him. He’s a great skater. Probably NHL caliber right now and has a real deceptive shot. He would be an ideal 3rd line RW on an AV team. He has the tools to be a serviceable NHL player. AV should give him a game or 2 or 3 to see if there’s hope for him before moving him.
      If the Rangers need to move a contract then it should be Bourque. He’s a small 4th line player. He plays the body well but he’s like 170 with wet towels on. He’ll fall down hitting NHL defenseman.

  • I don’t think anyone picked after the second round is expected to make the team, especially within 2-4 years. It’s pretty much a crap shoot with later round picks. As for picks that did make it for the Rangers, let’s not forget Hagelin, Stepan, Sauer (I still miss him) in the same era as Bourque and Kristo. The presence of other kids like Hayes, Duclair, Buchenivich (sp?), Allen, et al, is what pushes the Bourques and the Kristos down the list.

  • Maybe the NHL is ready for expansion. Kristo was good in camp. He does have the skill to be a player in the league. Rangers are set for this year, however next year we have Zuccarello, St Louis, Stempniak and Hagelin will be hitting the market/retire. Some of these kids who won’t make it this year will have shots of making it next year. Some may get a cup of tea this year. They should look at it as a year long tryout not a preseason tryout

    • Interesting take. I don’t know if Kristo or Bourque are NHL players, but would be interesting to see them get a shot in the right role.

    • But also consider the players he-Kristo- is behind on today’s depth chart. Not all of them will make it and stick. There will be opportunities for next year but now we have a very nice mixture of picks and semi-vets competing. Darwin’s theory.

  • Not everybody that’s drafted works out. Sometimes players, consciously or unconsciously, don’t really understand that they have to improve every year to get to the NHL. They look around the organization assess the competition, and do what they need to do to stay on the team, instead of improving, improving and improving some more. It’s possible these guys did that; I don’t know their situation from the inside and neither do any of us. Sather and Clark are evaluated on the final product, as they should be. The final product looked pretty good last spring, and it looks pretty good now. Press on; Oct 9 comes soon enough.
    Regards- orange

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