Recap of the 2016 draft for the Rangers


The draft is finally over and we can begin traveling to the next checkpoint in this franchise’s 90th year in the NHL. First and foremost, sorry if the post may be a little late. I decided to let all of the picks settle in before I talk about them. Not only does that let me do more research and write with a leveled head but it also prevents any knee jerk reactions. I feel that this is very important because it would be pretty messed up to be harsh to a 17 year old on one of the biggest days in his life.

About the draft in general, it seemed like the Rangers lucked into some teams choosing goalies early, giving them more skater options to choose from.  Considering the depth in net for this team, that was pretty wonderful. Also while I am happy with the picks, there are some guys that I wished we still drafted considering that they were available. Guys like Dmitri Sokolov,Vladimir Kuznetsov, Sebastian Aho, and Maxime Fortier.

Gripes aside, this draft gave me a lot of hope, as the Rangers are truly one of the best in drafting after round three over the last few years, especially when they go with the philosophy they had this year over the 2014 draft. Hopefully they realize not only the overwhelming support of this philosophy –drafting for skill and talent opposed to size and need– and its benefits, but also realize that they truly are a great drafting team.

Sean DayI discussed him in one of my target posts and the Rangers hit all the points that I expected them to. His skating truly is phenomenal and something that can help him get to the next level. The biggest thing that stood out to me when Jim Cerny of Blueshirts United interviewed him was how he talked about going to the gym and eating dried fruits/more meat and less carbs. He cut his body fat from 19% to 12% over the last couple of months. This is great to hear, it sounds like the player is truly getting committed to reach that next level after almost being handed everything earlier on in his life.

A lot of people’s concerns with Day is his “drive” and while I may be just optimistic, I think getting drafted may be the necessary inspiration to continue working. When given exceptional status, he knew he was going to get drafted. Now he is at that stage, he understands he needs to work to get to the NHL and I am confident that he will. One of my favorite things was when he talked about how happy he was that the Rangers selected him. Day’s skating and two way game are superb, he has the raw talent to be a top 4 defenseman if he puts it together.

Tarmo Reunanen – Tarmo was seen as a reach, but his low ranking was probably due to being injured for most of the year. Due to this injury, I wasn’t able to see him play at all so I won’t pretend I have a scouting report on him. That said, Reunanen is a puck moving defenseman, someone this team sorely needs in the prospect pool. This is a guy who can begin the breakout with ease. He’s also a solid skate, adding to his effectiveness in breaking out and creating chances.

Due to his injury there is not a lot of information on how his defensive game has progressed, but I would assume given his age, like most defensemen would need some work. That is fine, we can hope he develops and can use his skating to be tough to play against one-on-one. I’ve read that Tarmo is also a bit feisty and not one who will just give the puck up in a boards battle.

During the 2014-2015 season, Reunanen had very similar stats in the same league with the 5th overall pick of this year’s draft, Olli Juolevi. This is important because I want to see if Reunanen gets picked up in the CHL import draft. I would absolutely love to see what an organization like the London Knights can do for him; or maybe even the Kelowna Rockets which just constantly produces good defensemen prospects. It is expected for Reunanen to play next season in Europe but as was the case with Daniel Bernhardt last season, it may be something to keep an eye on.

Tim Gettinger – I know for some this may be your favorite pick. The massive 6’5 left winger is an interesting case and probably the Rangers’ project pick of the year. The issue with Gettinger is that he was “underwhelming” by most accounts by a few scouts. Many pegged him as a 2nd round pick early in the year because of his combination of size, skill, and skating. Only hitting 39 points however did not do him any favors as he obviously dropped to the 5th round.

I spoke to someone who watches Gettinger and the Soo Greyhounds regularly to try to get more information on Gettinger. He said that he was unfairly tagged as this possible first or second round pick because of his size and skill, so he wouldn’t have been seen as such a disappointment if they rated him as what he actually was a potential third or fourth round guy. He said that Gettinger does have skill that may catch people off guard. The issue is that he is not overly physical for someone his size and may need to identify the kind of game that he is best suited for playing.

In my opinion, without trying to get overly excited about a 5th round pick, players his size take a while to get used to their body at his age. The learning curve may be longer but hopefully it will get there. The team is expecting him to keep getting stronger and keep getting better as he gets older. Once that happens he can absolutely explode into a quality player. Gettinger is constantly learning and improving, and at the worst he can be a Brian Boyle type player if he makes the NHL. The chart below shows how he progressed through last season

Dashboard 1 (57)

Gabriel Fontaine – Tenacity and intelligence. That is the name of the game for Fontaine. I do not like that as a 19 year old he wasn’t able to produce that much in the QMJHL –and it may become a pressing issue– but the other things he does, well he does them very well. Fontaine is one of the best defensive forwards in the entire Q and was given the task to be the shut down guy for the QMJHL champions the Rouyn-Noranda Huskies. Fontaine uses his speed and smarts to be a major cog in not only the penalty kill but also the forecheck.

As I said he is tenacious and willing to do whatever it takes to win. Although his offensive stats aren’t great in the regular season (45 points in 63 games), he was way more productive in the playoffs with 16 points in 20 games. Before the draft I decided that “my” QMJHL team would be the Huskies (good program, awesome dog) so I hope to be able to get a more concrete report on Fontaine when I can watch him some more. I truly do love how smart and active Fontaine is. He has a long way to go and it would be great to see him improve offensively, but if he does he has all of the makings for a fan favorite.

Tyler Wall – I will not pretend that I know goalies, but Wall brings up a few points that I want to address. People may be confused about why the team took a goalie and I admittedly was too, I really wanted us to take one of the prospects that I mentioned earlier. The Rangers have great depth in net as well, but then I thought about it some more and became pretty content with this pick.

The Rangers have arguably one of the best goaltending coaches in the entire NHL, taking at least one goalie now in each of the last four years provides Benoit Allaire with a lot of projects. Each of these goalies must have raw talent and something Allaire must love to see early in a career. This way he can try to make the best possible pro that he can out of them. Hopefully, at least one will end up becoming a quality starter in the NHL, so there is nothing wrong with stockpiling a bunch of them who all play in different areas to let develop.

Wall, who obviously has the name to be a Vezina winner 15 times in a row, will be playing in UMass-Lowell for the next four years. That gives him four years of development time in a solid program. while we have other goalies in the NCAA as well, AHL, KHL and maybe one getting ECHL time just to give him playing time. In regards to Wall himself, he had an absolutely dominant season in the GOJHL.

Since I do not know much about Wall, I decided to DM him on twitter to just find some things out about him. Wall says he is a big goalie who likes to use that to his advantage, I assume to cut angles. He also plays a very relaxed game, showing great poise in net. His favorite player by the way is Ed Belfour.

Ty Ronning – This guy has all of the characteristics to become a favorite prospect among the Blueshirts faithful. Although he is small at 5’9, Ronning is truly a steal in the 7th round. He was seen as a possible 3rd or 4th round pick by many final rankings, but his size and injury two years ago probably led to him sliding.

That said, him being able to rebound from that injury plagued season to score 31 goals in his draft year is promising. It is also worth mentioning that the Vancouver Giants aren’t exactly a great team, so Ronning’s production is hopefully a sign for more good news eventually as he develops.

Ronning plays with speed. He is a quick strike player who can get to the scoring areas and use his accurate shot or nice hands to get the puck on net. The issue with small players is getting the puck or protecting it from the large opponents. That is null and void when the smaller player simply wants the puck more, and Ronning definitely tries to get the puck 1000% of the time.

Quick snippet, I’ve seen people compare him to Johnny Gaudreau, the only similarity is the size. Gaudreau definitely plays a more creative and offensive game than Ronning. I haven’t watched Ronning a whole lot this year but he reminds me more of Ryan Callahan offensively than Gaudreau.

If you are a long time fan Ronning’s most comparable player is his own father Cliff. Many scouts say that Ty is practically a splitting image on the ice. I take it from my dad that this is good news.

Dashboard 1 (58)

I really love this pick, I have attached my trend visual to this post and the thing that sticks out to me is the GF% and how much of an elite even strength player Ronning is. Ronning is someone to keep your eyes on.

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  • As I see it, and I hope I’m wrong, we stand to get one true NHL player out of this draft, Day. If we get anyone else, then that would be a surprise, and that would be icing on the cake. Really, what can we expect drafting so late???

    • Very pessimistic outlook Walt. If you get one NHLer per draft, it’s considered a successful draft.

      No matter what, the draft is a crap shoot. Tarmo and Ronning are high ceiling guys, along with Day. You draft for skill/ceiling and hope for the best.

      • I don’t think this is right — one really good player maybe, but not just one NHLer. At one a year, it would take 22 years to restock your team and players don’t play anywhere near that long. Yes, there are undrafted players like Zuccarello and Hrivik, but they are the minority and the average career is certainly well below 15 years. Two or three hits is more reasonable.

        Then again, one really good player trumps four mediocrities.

      • As Ray said, one per draft isn’t anything to write home about.

        It’s going to be very interesting watching the Flyers for the next 10 years, or so, Hextall really got his act together, drafted very well for the third year in a row. He knows, and values the draft !!!!!!!!!!!

        I hope that Gorton will value the picks from here on out……….

  • Just want to say all in all you guys did a great job covering the draft, giving us lots of good info before, during ans after. This is a nice write up…thank you

  • “If you are a long time fan Ronning’s most comparable player is his own father Cliff. Many scouts say that Ty is practically a splitting image on the ice.”

    His father was also a 7th round pick who went on to score 305 goals in 18 seasons. I’d be happy if Ty achieves half that.

      • Cliff Ronning played in an era when icing a 5’8″ skater was unthinkable. He was always the smallest skater on his team by a fairly wide margin. There’s something to be said about that.

        You’re 100% right about the smaller talent pool. The Russians hadn’t come over yet, and the only Eastern Bloc players were the handful of players that managed to defect. The league was comprised mainly of Canadians, some Scandinavians, and the odd American sprinkled around the league.

  • I can see why scouts kept saying Day has an attitude problem, look at that dirtbag mustache he’s sporting!

    I kid, I kid. I think Day is going to be another 3rd Round steal for the Rangers.

    • We have to get very lucky to get a kid like him, if he works out, but imagine being at the table, and having a shot at some of the cream of the crop that was on display??????? It just rubs me the wrong way !!!!!!!!!

  • This year will tell us a lot about Sean Day. We know he has all the skills but the big question is what happens between the ears. Hopefully he is not another Pavel Brendl or Kyle Wellwood, guys with elite skills who just didn’t have the dedication to be physically fit. All in all, given our draft position, the Rangers did pretty well. Reunanen sounds like an intriguing pick and I like that he has the rep of being a board battler. As we’ve seen time & time again, skill is not enough to bring success. Attitude & work ethic separates the men from the boys, MSL being the quintessential example of that.

    • Paul

      Go on the Blueshirts United web site, listen to how Gordy Clarke refers to Day. He is described as a beast, huge shoulders, and back, sounds like the physical aspect isn’t an issue here !!!!!!!!!!

      • A beast yes but an unfit beast, at least last year, still needs to shed body fat from the looks of him.

  • “He also plays a very relaxed game, showing great poise in net. His favorite player by the way is Ed Belfour.”

    Did anyone else chuckle when they read that from the Tyler Wall section? In all seriousness, I think you nailed it with Benoit Allaire and developing goalies. It seems like he tells the scouts he needs certain characteristics and attributes in young goalies and the scouting team finds one or two guys every year that fit his mold. It’s always big guys that play angles and use a conservative, puck blocking style. It’s how Hank plays, it’s how Talbot played once he broke out, and how Raanta plays now. It’s not flashy, but it leads to success at the NHL level.

    Great post, Josh. So glad you waited, you clearly used the extra time to your advantage and we got a thorough, meaningful review.

    I have a great feeling about Ronning. Produced on a bad team, great bloodlines, slipped way down the draft board. Sounds like a solid bottom 6 contributor.

    Josh, is it my imagination or do the Rangers seem to draft a few kids that slide big time each year? Could that be why they have an excellent track record with third round and later picks?

    • I think you are totally right about the Rangers targeting players whose reputation suffers before the draft, whether is is because of injury or other issues. Fontaine is the only guy I think we reached on. Would rather have taken Sokolov as Fontaine may have still been available in the 6th or 7th. As for Wall, I trust in Benoit Allaire.

  • Considering that the Rangers didn’t have early picks, their staff seems to have done an excellent job of finding players with some potential. Imagine what they might do if they were able to work with earlier picks.

  • I think the goalie pick is because they DO have a plan. They know this kid Wall is a minimum 3 years away. There are 3-4 guys ahead of him. There may be teams asking for Skapski or Halverson. Wall can backfill that position while he plays at college. I also think Pitt showed that a capable young goalie behind a good defense can win big games. Why not get some depth here, besides, he may have been the best available at the 170th+ pick.

    I too think Day may be the only one to wear the NYR sweater. That’s okay. Lord knows we need help on the blueline. I hear we may be playing a 3-1-1 setup next year. 3 forward, 1 defense and a pylon in the crease named Staal/Girardi.

    Still no news on a Defensive bench coach. Hmmmm. Doubt Beuk is playing hardball, so they must be looking elsewhere.

    Let’s do a +/- on points for next year. I say 88 (since Lindros got in the HOF).

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