Entries with the tag: the prospect park
PH: With their first pick in the 2012 NHL Entry Draft, the Blueshirts took defenseman Brady Skjei. Tell us what you know about him and if you think this was a good pick or not?
JR: Good skater and is a product of the USNTP program. He has a very good ability to read the ice. I disagree with the Rangers about his offense as he needs a lot of work there. His defensive skills are very good and he is not afraid to use his body to make plays.
Skjei is heading to Minnesota, which is one of the top NCAA programs in the U.S. (They were WCHA regular season champs)
Skjei reminds me of Ryan McDonagh when he first entered Wisconsin, but I see this as a three to four year development time player.
With the 2012 NHL Entry Draft right around the corner, I figured now would be the perfect time to get the pulse of what the New York Rangers need to do this year.
PH: What do you think the Rangers’ overall goal should be at this year’s NHL Entry Draft? Why?
JR: Increased depth. 28 is really a 2nd rd pick so the Rangers ought to be looking for the best player no matter which position. This draft is full of good solid defenders, which in turn would mean some good forwards will fall down in the draft as well. The biggest thing I see is that those I really like, Tanner Pearson of Barrie, Nicolas Kerdiles of USNTDP, Cristoval Nieves of Kent HS and Ludvig Bystrom of Sweden are all guys who I see slipping down into the middle of the 2nd round.
PH: Based on where the team is picking this year, who do you think the team should target? Why?
JR: I actually want to see them either trade down to try to regain the lost picks (3 of them) or use the pick as part of a trade package. It is not the Rangers who will be picking a franchise player. If they did keep the pick, I believe they will wind up looking on defense because depth there is now a problem not only because of Sauer’s status, but also the failures of Valentenko and a couple of others defensive prospects failing to show they are NHL material.
Jess Rubenstein, a prospects expert and creator of the New York Rangers’/New York Islanders’ propsect site The Prospect Park, was kind enough to take time out of his busy schedule to tell us about what the Rangers should be doing at the draft as well as how the Blueshirts have treated the prospects in general.
PH: Not too long ago, the New York Rangers used to be terrible at handling prospects. Tell us how you think Rangers’ GM Glen Sather and the coaching staff have improved in that area?
JR: It is funny as Glen Sather can not sign a free agent to save his life but he did hire Gordie Clark in 2002 and then promoed Clark to Director of Player Personnel when Tom Renney was named Head Coach. You can look at it like the row of dominos as Clark has brought in Jeff Gorton (former Asst GM of Boston), Danny Dore (Boston), Tom Thompson (Former Wild Asst. GM) to bolster what was already a very experienced scouting staff.
Give Sather some credit for doing some of the things that most people will not notice like having Adam Graves and Mark Messier to go look at the draft picks and offer them advice. Want to talk about how to get someone’s attention, what kid is not going to take advice from a Messier?
But it also goes into prospect development as well as that the post draft camps the Rangers run for the prospects. They are not photo ops but rather chances for the entire Ranger staff to work with each of the prospects in attendance. Having John Tortorella run the camp sets the tone for the prospect as what is going to be asked of them to further their development. Then you have the training staff who send each prospect home with a guide on how to train, how to improve their diet and tips on improving weak areas of their game.
Jess Rubenstein of the terrific The Prospect Park, a great blog that follows and covers both New York Rangers and New York Islanders’ prospects, was kind enough to take time out of his busy schedule to tell us about how the Rangers’ various prospects are doing this season.
PH: Which New York Rangers’ prospect has stood out the most to you this season? Why?
JR: Without a doubt Christian Thomas of the Oshawa Generals. For starters Thomas works hard at both ends of the ice which does not always get notice from a offensive weapon, and Thomas does not shy away from physical contact willing to go through traffic. Thomas is willing to take a hit to make a play.
PH: Who are some of the other Rangers’ prospects who have impressed you this season? Why?
JR: Carl Hagelin of Michigan is no longer a secret as he was when he was first selected in 2007. Strong 2 way game who can adapt to what ever situation facing him a big game player who wants the puck when the pressure is on him and produces.
Jason Wilson who was a 2010 5th round selection is an interesting player to watch, 6’3 power forward who has gotten better as the season has worn on. Very protective of his teammates.
Jesper Fasth of Sweden in his brief time in North America offers some very good potential and is a prospect to keep an eye on down the road.