2015 nhl draft

Well everyone, the draft is in a couple of days. As we are nearing draft day we still have 2 more rounds in which the Rangers pick as of right now. I will be combining rounds 6 and 7 into one post because for the most part some prospects may fall into round 7 or I wouldn’t mind us drafting in round 6.

Cameron Askew Askew headlines the short list of players I am really interested in during round 6. The thing is he is a little bit of a wildcard and I just cannot predict if he will go in round 5 or make it to our pick in round 6. He is ranked 154th on the North American skaters list by central scouting so if that holds suit he should be available here. Cameron is a player I really want the Rangers to take a chance with, I am sure some of you think that I don’t like players with size but that is the exact opposite, that said Askew may be the perfect blend of size, skill, work ethic and risk.

The 6’2 203 lbs Massachusetts born center has an NHL body already and he is still growing. This kid is tough and he has skill that has been seen in flashes as he has 45 points in 66 games for Moncton. Those point totals are probably what caused him to drop to 154 but at this position the Rangers need to take a risk to add this power forward into the system. Askew is a player that is tough as nails and has a good hockey mind that should help him be successful not only next season but the years after.

His skating needs some work but luckily I had the privilege of speaking to Cameron’s father recently about his son and he gave me some pretty nice information. Firstly, he is working on his skating a lot this summer, especially getting that explosive first step that will make him a bull on the ice. Secondly, Cameron is still growing and with all of the training he is doing this summer to improve some are expecting a season with high point totals and high Pims. Finally, and arguably the most relevant piece of information about Askew that has to do with the Rangers is that the NYR have interviewed him 5 times. That is a huge amount of interviews for the draft, something similar happened last year involving current Rangers goalie prospect Igor Shestyorkin who if i recall correctly had 4 interviews.

Askew played for former Ranger Matthew Barnaby last weekend and really impressed him. So much so that it made him write this tweet:

As Barnaby said, Askew is big, strong and has underrated skill. He seems to have caught the Rangers attention and I wouldn’t be surprised if they move up in order to draft him. It looks like Cameron Askew is one of their guys. He also plays with one of my other targets that I talked about earlier Conor Garland so it would be awesome for me if the Rangers drafted both.

Olivier Galipeau- Ranked 142 on Central Scouting’s list of NA Skaters is defenseman Olivier Galipeau. The 6’1 201 lbs defenseman was originally looking like he would be a pretty good two way defenseman which got some scouts very excited in the beginning of the year and was seen as a potential second round pick. The problem is his offense did not improve this season and that resulted in him dropping quite a bit in their rankings.

With all of that said the physical defenseman kept growing defensively giving me some hope that he can grow a bit offensively as well. He is an average skater but that is being improved as well. Galipeau will be getting a heightened role on the Val-d’Or Foreurs with his coach even saying that he is the future captain of that team.

An underrated thing about Galipeau is that he possesses a nice first pass out of the zone. This is huge. It is becoming really difficult to be a successful defenseman in the NHL if you can’t get a good outlet pass out of your zone and with him being a player that can take a while to develop he absolutely needs to keep working on that and his skating. Galipeau can be taken with our 6th rounder and this physical defenseman will be a project pick that the Rangers can hope will follow former Val-d’Or Foreurs defenseman and Ranger prospect Ryan Graves and round out his game becoming a steal in the late rounds.

Ziyat Paygin- I like to stay away from some overaged players but this 6’6 209 lbs defenseman may be worth the risk. Paygin is not young by draft standards (he turned 20 in February), normally that would be a turn off if he played in a junior league. However, instead of playing in a league like the OHL, Paygin was an important member to the AK Bars Kazan team in the KHL.

Paygin is a defensive defenseman, I personally believe the Rangers should shoot for the stars in this draft and take a risk on offensive players that can turn their game around and become legitimate prospects but drafting Paygin would be ok with me late in the draft. Paygin plays against grown men right now and is playing a pretty strong defensive game on one of the top teams in the KHL. The kid is a player and may be NHL ready by the time his KHL contracts runs out after the 16/17 season (he will be 22).

Paygin isn’t the best skater but is pretty good for his size. Thankfully, he also possesses a pretty nice outlet pass out of the zone, which is great considering he also has pretty good vision and on ice intelligence that help him slow the game down first and then start the breakout. In the offensive zone, I really wish that Paygin would use his shot more but he doesn’t have a quick release. That said when the play is being set up in the zone and he has some time from the point or as the trailer in the odd man rush Paygin has a pretty fast and heavy shot. While he is more of a defensive defenseman, his shot makes it really easy for a coach to try him on the PP where he does pretty well with his passing and his big heavy shots.

For a big man Paygin has pretty sweet hands which he uses to help control the puck and keep it away from forecheckers. Defensively he isn’t overly physical but with his surprising skating and long reach it is pretty hard for teams to get the puck off of him. When he gets the puck he shields it with his body incredibly well too.

Overall, I think Paygin is a great risk to take for the NYR if they decide to draft a defensive defenseman. He plays against men and will keep doing so for his career allowing him to really develop. For a big man he is a good skater but should he work on that he can be an imposing and a responsible force on the blue line which is a steal in the 6th round. If we had to take any defensive player I want to take Paygin late.

Henrik Tornqvist-  Taking a Henrik in the later rounds is the best way to succeed in the NHL (See Zetterberg and Lundqvist). I have noticed that many Scandinavian players tend to slide in the draft to the later rounds and I am sure that will be the case for Tornqvist. Tornqvist is a 6’1 176 lbs RW that not too many people know about. While he did not put up crazy offensive numbers this year, it is important to remember that Henrik played as an 18 year old against grown men in the SHL for Linköping. The winger skates well enough for anybody that can be drafted late this year but is something that he should work on. He has nice hands and can dish out some nice passes.

His 4 points in 48 games may scare some but its pretty rare for young Swedish forwards that aren’t 1st round prospects to produce much, even current NYR prospect Oscar Lindberg scored 2 points in 36 games during his draft year in the SHL and he was drafted in round 2.

Tornqvist knows how to use his body and goes to the front of the net to try to score which is always nice to see. As most Swedes he is intelligent on both ends of the ice. He may not be a sure fire top 6 guy but I can see him being a nice 3rd liner which is always great to find in the 6th or 7th round. Who knows, maybe he is another Zetterberg.

Kay Schweri- He is ideally my top target in this later portion of the draft. What surprises me is that he isn’t ranked on Central Scouting which is truly insane. I don’t know about you, but when a player scores 68 points in 53 games during his first year in the QMJHL that is at least worth a 7th round pick to me. Whether he is the top choice or a backup option for the Rangers I think he can be a nice addition and would get behind the Rangers somehow acquiring another pick either in the 6th or 7th round to draft him along with another player. One thing going against Schweri is his 5’10 frame but in the 7th round a team that takes a chance on him is making a brilliant decision.

First of all the kid is fast, and I mean really fast, the cool thing is his hands keep up with skating making him a dangerous player on the rush. The thing that I love the most about him is how he quietly makes high percentage plays for his teammates causing odd man rush opportunities nearly every game. His game primarily revolves around his speed but the kid is a good passer. When it comes to scoring he has no problem either setting up in the slot or setting plays up below the hashmarks.

The kid is a dynamic player and a team should take a chance on him. The last overaged player I can easily remember from the QMJHL that was drafted in the 7th round even though they put up way over a point per game was Ondrej Palat who was a year older than Schweri would be now.

Take the chance on this kid, especially if the Rangers draft a bigger powerforward earlier in the draft, I think he will surprise us all.

Dmitri Yudin- Yes this is another 19-20 year old Russian defenseman. Yudin is a kid with nice size at 6’2 and nearly 200 lbs and at a young age is already becoming an important member for one of the KHL’s top teams SKA St.Petersburg.

Yudin skates pretty well as most Russian players do, he has the on ice intelligence and awareness that really helps him to read plays as they unfold. He may not be the best prospect but at the end of the 7th round the young potential two way defenseman is making leaps in terms of his development in the KHL. When a 19 year old kid is trusted on defense like he is by one of the top teams that says something.

Yudin doesn’t mind hitting people but will probably be more efficient at it when he is older and fills out while playing against these grown men. He has an active stick and is responsible defensively as well. Looks like he can be a #4 defenseman but more realistically a #5 that produces a nice 20 points or so per season while still being responsible defensively.

Nikita Pavlychev- Pavlychev is an interesting prospect to me. the 6’7 lanky Russian is a defensive specialist that will be a project pick. He spent this season in the USHL and will be playing for Penn State starting next season.  He is an ok skater in terms of acceleration so that should be on the top of his list on things to improve upon but he has incredible balance and is strong on his skates. That said when the puck is on his stick it is very difficult to get it away from him because he really knows how to use his body to shield the puck.

Pavlychev is another one of these really intelligent prospects that I would love an extra 7th round pick to take a chance on him. He is not super proficient offensively but when he carries the puck and shields it we do get to see some flashes of offensive aptitude in his game. He has the makings to be a nice playmaker and a good player along the boards but really just needs to keep improving. Playing in the NCAA should help him bulk up over the next 3-4 years while continuing to perfect his defensive game. I doubt he will be given many offensive opportunities until his junior year but I am sure he will improve there as well.

He reminds me a little bit of Brian Boyle.

Reid Gardiner- Gardiner isn’t the biggest player but it really surprised me to see that he wasn’t drafted last year after a not too bad season (some believe he was a product of Leon Draisaitl). After going undrafted Gardiner impressed the brass in the Minnesota Wild Prospect Camp but unless they use a pick on him it looks like he won’t be able to attend this summer.

Thee 5’11 187 lbs right wing / center is taking the right steps after going undrafted. With more ice time he continued to produce more points showing a nice progression and without Draisaitl who was now playing for Kelowna. Gardiner is an intelligent player that really works hard on both ends of the ice. He is already responsible defensively, is a nice skater and has an average shot so as he gets older it is looking more like he can be a nice two way forward on a 3rd line. For a smaller player Gardiner is feisty too, being a pest on the forecheck makes him get some enemies so he also fights a bit playing in the WHL. All in all he looks like an intelligent responsible two way pest that can fit in a team’s bottom 6 while providing some offense every other game or 2.


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