June 2013

The NHL Lockout forced the league to turn the 2013 NHL Draft into a marathon draft session on Sunday, June 30. This year marks the 10th anniversary one of the strongest and deepest drafts in NHL history.

It is a topic that The Hockey News (THN) chose to highlight in their 2013 Draft Preview issue. Senior Editor Brian Costello offered up two quotes from their 2003 Draft Preview issue that spoke to the depth of the 2003 Draft.

One GM told THN, “There are 12 guys in our tops five.”

An Assistant GM offered up two opinions, “Anyone from one to 45 is real good. You’ll get a player at 45 and the guy could end up being as good as the guy at 10.” Costello pointed out that the 10th player drafted was Andrei Kostitsyn and Patrice Bergeron was drafted 45th.

He also said, “Some late first round and second round guys will turn out to be real solid, franchise-type players.” Costello pointed out that Corey Perry was selected 28th and Shea Weber was 49th.

When comparing 2003 to 2013 Costello writes “… the 2013 draft is shaping up to be the best since the 2003 edition. Most scouts love the depth of talent. One scout compares it favorably to 2003. That’s saying a lot.”

Detroit’s Director of Amateur Scouting, Joe McDonnell, confirms the depth of the 2013 Draft.

“I think it’s real deep draft,” McDonnell admitted to Mike G. Morreale of NHL.com. “We just finished up our year-end meetings [on May 26] and know we’re going to get a player if we’re picking in the 18th spot or lower. We think we’re going to get a real good player no matter where we’re picking in the first round.”

The 2013 Draft should please teams that like to take the best player available and teams that are looking to draft for need – especially at the top of the draft.

“It’s almost a what-are-you-looking-for type of draft. What do you need, and just pick one. I especially think that’s the case for a team in the top 10,” McDonnell explained to Morreale. “The players available are all so close and tight … even when you get past the top three, the list goes on and on.”

The conventional wisdom seemed to point the Avalanche in the direction of the Denver-trained Seth Jones – a defenseman some have compared to Chris Pronger.

However, the powers-that-be in Colorado seemed prepared to turn conventional wisdom into Draft fodder.

“If we do pick first, we’re leaning more toward one of those three forwards,” Avalanche Executive Vice president of Hockey Operations Joe Sakic told Adrian Dater of The Denver Post.

Dater writes that, if the Avalanche keep the pick, they would look at Nathan MacKinnon, Jonathan Drouin or Alexander Barkov.

There is a connection to the first two forwards and the Avalanche. Patrick Roy, Coach and Vice President of Hockey Operations, is very familiar with MacKinnon and Drouin who both played in the QMJHL.

While many think Sakic is bluffing, Dater said that is not the case. While the Avs may yet trade down in the draft in exchange for established NHL talent and a lower first round draft pick, if Colorado keeps the pick they intend to use it on a forward.

On June 25, ESPN The Magazine reported that Roy favors selecting MacKinnon with the first overall pick, with Drouin and Barkov as the next two choices in order.

As a result, it is very possible that the draft landscape could change very much if a team believes Jones is the missing piece of their puzzle.

If Sakic is willing to trade down, just how far down would he be willing to go?

Whether they have an interest in Jones or not, could Columbus or Calgary be active teams in terms of trades with each team owning three first round draft picks?

Could Jim Nill look to move his two first round picks in an attempt to get his tenure in Dallas off to a quick start?

In this Mock Draft, each player has ratings for the following scouting services: The Hockey News (THN), NHL’s Central Scouting (CS), McKeen’s (McK), and International Scouting Service (ISS). CS breaks down their ratings by North American skaters (NAS), European skaters (ES), North American goaltenders (NAG) and European goaltenders (EG). THN lists each prospect’s NHL Translation. ISS provides a prospects’ comparable NHL player.

The Draft positions utilized are those as of June 27, 2013 – with one exception. If Sakic and the Avalanche pass on Seth Jones, then I see Carolina swapping picks with Florida so the Hurricanes can draft Jones.

1. COLORADO AVALANCHE – Nathan MacKinnon – C
THN: # 1 (Two-way Forward) —– CS: # 2 NA—– McK: # 2
ISS: #1 (Jeremy Roenick)
MacKinnon out up huge numbers in the QMJHL (32 goals and 43 assists) in just 44 games as injuries cut short his season. Roy is saying that MacKinnon is the front-runner as the Oilers continue to stockpile young scoring forwards.

THN: # 1 (Two-way Defenseman) —– CS: # 1 NAS —– McK: # 1
ISS: #2 (Alex Pietrangelo)
Jones gives the ‘Canes an all-around solid d-man whose ability on the defensive end adds balance to their defense corps and addresses a need for defensive help on the blue line.

3. TAMPA BAY LIGHTNING – Aleksander Barkov – C
THN: # 6 (Offensive Forward) —– CS: # 1ES —– McK: # 5
ISS: # 5 (Ryan Getzlaf)
With Vincent Lecavalier being bought out, Tampa Bay will probably look to Barkov as the anchor for their second line and serve as a great one-two punch with Steven Stamkos for a long time.

4. NASHVILLE PREDATORS – Jonathan Drouin – LW
THN: # 2 (Offensive Forward) —– CS: # 2 NAS—– McK: # 3
ISS: # 3 (Pavel Datsyuk)
The Predators have long had a defensive system in place and have yearned for scoring help. Drouin projects out as much as a playmaker and he is a goal scorer – giving Nashville the big-time forward they have searched for.

5. FLORIDA PANTHERS* – Valeri Nichushkin – LW
THN: # 5 (Skilled Forward) —– CS: # 2 ES —– McK: # 6
ISS: # 4 (Jaromir Jagr)
There is always a concern about drafting Russian players in the 1st round since the NHL and KHL do not have a transfer agreement in place. However, Nichushkin is an imposing offensive force with a combination of size (6-4/202) and hockey sense.

6. CALGARY FLAMES – Sean Monahan – C
THN: # 7 (Offensive Forward) —– CS: # 5 NAS —– McK: # 11
ISS: # 9 (Mikko Koivu)
With all of the young turk forwards in the Western Conference, Calgary will turn to Monahan to help make up the difference. He is a playmaking center who has strong hockey skills

7. EDMONTON OILERS – Darnell Nurse – D
THN: # 8 (Tw-way Defenseman) —– CS: # 4 NAS —– McK: # 8
ISS: # 6 (Brent Seabrook)
THN compared Nurse to a Chris Pronger based on his playing ability and size (6-5/192). While he still has some filling out to do, Nurse has the ability to be a shutdown d-man with a developing offensive game.

8. BUFFALO SABRES – Elias Lindholm – C
THN: # 4 (Two-way Forward) —– CS: # 3 ES—– McK: # 4
ISS: # 7 (Zach Parise)
Sabres could use an impact d-man or forward, but should go with the best offensive forward left on the board. They can find a solid d-man later, but won’t be able to match Lindholm’s ability or NHL-readiness later in the draft.

9. NEW JERSEY DEVILS – Bo Horvat – C
THN: # 16 (Two-way Forward) —– CS: # 15 NAS —– McK: # 14
ISS: # 10 (Ryan O’Reilly)
The perennial search for Martin Brodeur’s eventual replacement continues. The Devils might need to replace Patrik Elias and David Clarkson and must forfeit their 2014 1st rounder as part of their penalty for circumventing the salary cap with Ilya Kovalchuk. After drafting Stefan Matteau last year, Max Domi could be a possibility here. In the end, it will be the solid Horvat who will fit in well in NJ’s system.

10. DALLAS STARS – Max Domi – C
THN: # 15 (Power Forward) —– CS: # 19 NAS —– McK: # 9
ISS: # 25 (Sergei Samsonov)
Domi might not have the size Jim Nill would love, but he does have his father’s heart to along with an offensive game that Tie could only dream of having.

11. PHILADELPHIA FLYERS – Rasmus Ristolainen – D
THN: # 22 (Two-way defenseman) —– CS: # 4 ES —– McK: # 21
ISS: # 11 (Niklas Kronwall)
This could be a potential spot for Zach Fucale with Ilya Bryzgalov being bought out. However, they will likely pair Steve Mason up with a veteran and use this pick to add a big-time blue line prospect.

12. PHOENIX COYOTES – Hunter Shinkaruk – C
THN: # 23 (Offensive Forward) —– CS: # 6 NAS —– McK: # 22
ISS: # 13 (David Perron)
Shinkaruk is as strong an offensive player in the Draft. He is an outstanding competitor with solid hockey sense. He still needs work in the defensive zone and has to get stronger, but he is natural-born leader who will be a Captain in the NHL.

13. WINNIPEG JETS – Nikita Zadorov – D
THN: # 14 (Defensive Defenseman) —– CS: #22 NAS —– McK: # 7
ISS: # 8 (Jared Cowan)
Zadorov is a nice combination of defensive ability and size (6-5/230) who left Russia to play in the OHL. His ability projects him out to a top four blueliner who is developing some offensive skills.

14. COLUMBUS BLUE JACKETS – Anthony Mantha – LW
THN: # 24 (Offensive Forward) —– CS: # 10 NAS —– McK: #24
ISS: # 24 (Wojtek Wolski)
Mantha was the only draft-eligible Junior player to score 50 goals. He has a sniper’s touch, but must his work level and physical play. With three 1st rounders, it is still worth taking the risk on the offensive potential.

15. NEW YORK ISLANDERS – Zachary Fucale – G
THN: # 25 (Starting Goalie) —– CS: # 1 NAG —– McK: # 28
ISS: # 1 G (Carey Price)
After using all seven picks on d-men last year, you have to figure GM Garth Snow looks to add depth to his forward corps. However, without an impact goaltender in the organization, Snow will snap up the best netminder in the draft. If he does select a forward, look for him to reach for someone like Michael McCarron or J.T. Compher.

16. BUFFALO SABRES – Samuel Morin – D
THN: # (Two-way defenseman) —– CS: # 23 NAS —– McK: # 13
ISS: # 32 (Tyler Myers)
Alexander Wennberg might also be a good call here, but Buffalo has to be tempted at thought of pairing Morin (6-6/200) with Myers (6-8/227). Despite his size, Morin is mobile blueliner who needs to develop his game and work on filling out his body.

17. OTTAWA SENATORS – Alexander Wennberg – C
THN: # 11 (Skilled Forward) —– CS: # 5 ES —– McK: # 13
ISS: # 15 (Jakub Voracek)
Ottawa will need to add depth to their defense corps, but Wennberg’s offensive abilities are too much to pass on. While he needs to bulk up and add a physical aspect to his game, his skating, puck-handling and hockey sense power his game.

18. DETROIT RED WINGS – Adam Erne – LW
THN: # 13 (Two-way forward) —– CS: # 26 NAS —– McK: # 20
ISS: # 37 (Kyle Okposo)
Erne, who will turn 19 in April, has posted back-to-back 28 goal seasons in the QMJHL. He is a developing player who does a little bit of everything well. One scout told THN that he is a “high-productivity/low-flash guy”.

19. COLUMBUS BLUE JACKETS – Curtis Lazar – C
THN: # 9 (Character Forward) —– CS: # 20 NAS —– McK: # 12
ISS: # 12 (Dustin Brown)
Jackets could look for a d-man, but they should have some options with their 3rd pick of the round. Lazar is a good two-way player that features an excellent shot. At 5-11/193, Lazar will have to work on getting stronger and he must find a consistency to his game for him to move from top nine forward to top six (and better) forward).

20. SAN JOSE SHARKS – Kerby Rychel – LW
THN: # 21(Power Forward) —– CS: # 17 NAS —– McK: # 25
ISS: # 20 (Chris Kunitz)
Rychel’s Dad (Warren) played in the NHL and Kerby’s Windsor Junior team has been very successful so Rychel should be well-prepared to take the next step to the NHL. He is a character-type player who has tallied two straight 40 goal seasons.

21. TORONTO MAPLE LEAFS – Valentin Zykov – RW
THN: # 31 (Power Forward) —– CS: # 7 NAS —– McK: # 32
ISS: # 19 (Devin Setoguchi)
Toronto might be better off with a center (Frederick Gauthier or Nic Petan), but Zykov’s offensive ability is too hard to pass up. Zykov left Russia to continue his development in the QMJHL and scored 40 goals in his rookie season.

22. CALGARY FLAMES – Robert Hagg – D
THN: # 12 (Two-way defenseman) —– CS: # 8 ES—– McK: # 19
ISS: # 31 (John Carlson)
Hagg got a huge break as injuries the Swedish WJC team wreaked havoc with their defense. Hagg stepped in and didn’t miss a beat. He is a mobile d-man who is a good defender. He will need a couple of years to develop his game, but he has NHL size already (6-2/204).

THN: # 10 (Offensive Defenseman) —– CS: 12 NAS # —– McK: # 15
ISS: # 14 (Dan Boyle)
THN pointed out that the Caps only have one blueliner under contract for 2014-15 so defense is a good way to go, although the gritty Ryan Hartman would look good too. Pulock would give Washington another deadly weapon from the point on the PP, and he kills penalties too. While good defensively, it is his big-time shot that is his calling card.

24. VANCOUVER CANUCKS – Ryan Hartman – RW
THN: # 28 (Power Forward) —– CS: # 16 NAS —– McK: # 36
ISS: # 41 (Brad Marchand)
If you are going to commit to John Tortorella as your coach then you might as draft a Torts’ player. THN called him the “prototypical guy you love on your team, but hate to play against.” He helped lead the USA to Gold at the WJC as part of their shutdown line. He plays bigger than his size (5-11/187) and has room to develop an offensive game.

25. MONTREAL CANADIENS – Frederick Gauthier – C
THN: # 30 (Defensive Forward) —– CS: # 8 NAS —– McK: # 23
ISS: # 18 (Brandon Sutter)
THN pointed out that the Habs have plenty of guys who play bigger than their size (e.g. Brandon Prust and Brendan Gallagher). Gauthier not only brings size (6-5/210), he also brings a solid two-way game. There are some concerns over his poor playoff performance, but has the all-around game to be a solid second line contributor.

26. ANAHEIM DUCKS – Michael McCarron – RW
THN: # 27 (Power Forward) —– CS: # 35 NAS —– McK: # 33
ISS: # 23 (John LeClair)
The Ducks would like to have seen Gauthier drop to them. Instead they take size on the wing instead (6-5/228). The USNTDP player will be attending Western Michigan where he will play for former NHL coach Andy Murray – unless he bolts for London (OHL). McCarron needs to continue his development and maturity – as well working on his skating and puck skills.

27. COLUMBUS BLUE JACKETS – Josh Morrissey – D
THN: # 19 (Offensive Defenseman) —– CS: # 27 NAS—– McK: # 18
ISS: # 21 (Kris Letang)
With all of the offensive players they brought in via trades last year and the draft this year, Morrissey ties in well as on offensive d-man who can skate, move the puck and QB the PP. There are some concerns on his size (6-0/182), but his offensive abilities makes him a dangerous player – even though he will need to bulk up and get stronger.

28. CALGARY FLAMES – Eric Comrie – G
THN: # 32 (Starting Goaltender) —– CS: # 2 NAG —– McK: #52
ISS: # 6 Goalie (No player comparison given)
With the future of Miikka Kiprusoff up in the air, the Flames need to bring in a goaltender with one of their three picks. The 6th pick is too high and the 22nd pick too low to draft Fucale. It is possible they will try to package their lower two 1st rounders to move in the round – perhaps swapping them with the Islanders. If not, then the Flames will draft Comrie, the half-brother of ex-NHLers Mike and Paul Comrie. Interestingly enough, Mike was forced to retire after undergoing a third hip surgery. Eric played just 37 games due to a hip injury, but he is well-schooled on playing goal because his Junior team is owned by Olaf Kolzig.

29. DALLAS STARS – Andre Burakovsky – LW
THN: # 17 (Skilled Forward) —– CS: # 6 ES —– McK: # 16
ISS: # 16 (Daniel Alfredsson)
Burakovsky is no stranger to the NHL as his father Robert was an 11th round pick in the 1985 draft by the Rangers who played 23 NHL games with Ottawa. Andre is a very good offensive player with his puck skills being the key to his game. He needs to work on his defensive play and his consistency in order to reach his full potential in the NHL.

30. CHICAGO BLACKHAWKS – Steve Santini – D
THN: # 65 (Two-way Defenseman) —– CS: 47 NAS # —– McK: # 41
ISS: # 17 (Daniel Girardi)
Santini is committed to play at Boston College. He is a character player who is a big-time defensive d-man who likes to use his size (6-2/207) and hockey sense to patrol the defensive zone. He plays a smart game offensively, but it is his defensive work that earned him best defenseman honors at the 2013 Under-18 tournament in Sochi, Russia.

First Round Draft Pick Transactions

• The Minnesota Wild’s first-round pick will go to the Buffalo Sabres as the result of trade on April 3, 2013 that sent Jason Pominville and a fourth-round pick in 2014 to Minnesota in exchange for Matt Hackett, Johan Larsson, a second-round pick in 2014, and this pick.
• The New York Ranger’s first-round pick will go to the Columbus Blue Jackets as the result of a trade on July 23, 2012 that sent Rick Nash, Steven Deslisle, and a conditional third-round pick in 2013 to New York in exchange for Artem Anisimov, Brandon Dubinsky, Tim Erixon and this pick. The condition – the Rangers did not reach the Stanley Cup Finals – was converted on May 25, 2013.
• The St. Louis Blues’ first-round pick will go to the Calgary Flames as the result of a trade on April 1, 2013 that sent Jay Bouwmesster to St. Louis in exchange for Mark Cundari, Reto Berra, and this pick (being conditional at the time of the trade). The condition – Calgary will receive St. Louis’ first-round pick in 2013 if St. Louis qualifies for the 2013 Stanley Cup Playoffs – was converted on April 23, 2013.
• The Los Angeles Kings’ first-round pick will go to the Columbus Blue Jackets as a result of a trade on February 23, 2012 that sent Jeff Carter to Los Angeles in exchange for Jack Johnson and this pick (being conditional at the time of the trade). One condition was converted on April 5, 2012, when Los Angeles qualified for the 2012 Stanley Cup Playoffs, giving Columbus the right to choose between Los Angeles’ first-round picks in either 2012 or 2013. The other condition was converted on June 22, 2012, when Columbus chose not to take Los Angeles’ first round pick in 2012, giving them this pick.
• The Pittsburgh Penguins’ first-round pick will go to the Calgary Flames as the result of a trade on March 27, 2013 that sent Jarome Iginla to Pittsburgh in exchange for Kenny Agostino, Ben Hanowksi, and this pick.
• The Boston Bruins’ first-round pick will go to the Dallas Stars as the result of a trade on April 2, 2013 that sent Jaromir Jagr to Boston in exchange for Lane MacDermid, Cody Payne, and this pick (being conditional at the time of the trade). The condition – Dallas will receive a first-round pick if Boston advances to the 2013 Eastern Conference Finals – was converted on May 25, 2013.

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In this Second Round Mock Draft, each player has ratings for the following scouting services: The Hockey News (THN), NHL’s Central Scouting (CS), McKeen’s (McK), and International Scouting Service (ISS). CS breaks down their ratings by North American skaters (NAS), European skaters (ES), North American goaltenders (NAG) and European goaltenders (EG). THN lists each prospect’s NHL Translation. ISS provides a prospects’ comparable NHL player.

The draft positions are as of June 27, 2013 and presume that no trades will have been made since then – with one exception. As I mentioned in my Mock 1st Round, I have Florida (2nd overall) and Carolina (5th overall) swapping first round draft picks. As a result, I am transferring Carolina’s 2nd round pick (#35) to Florida as part of that deal (*).

With three teams having three 2nd round picks (Montreal, san Jose and Winnipeg), there might be some wheeling and dealing as these teams might look to jump up into the 1st round.

31. FLORIDA PANTHERS – J.T. Compher – C
THN: # 41 (Two-Way Forward) —– CS: # 34 NAS —– McK: # 56
ISS: # 26 (Mike Richards)
Compher is more of a playmaker than goal scorer, but he is comfortable playing any style of hockey. He earns plus marks for his ability to compete and his hockey sense.

32. COLORADO AVALANCHE – Mirco Mueller – D
THN: # 18 (Two-way Defenseman) —– CS: # 9 NAS —– McK: # 17
ISS: # 35 (Cody Franson)
After passing on Seth Jones in the 1st round, the Avs go defense in the 2nd. Mueller improved his draft status by playing Junior hockey in the WHL. While he still needs to bulk up some (6-3/184), Mueller’s game is based in his ability to move the puck and skate well.

33. TAMPA BAY LIGHTNING – Madison Bowey – D
THN: # 44 (Two-way Defenseman) —– CS: # 32 NAS —– McK: # 35
ISS: # 22 (Kevin Bieksa)
Bouwey is hoping to follow in the footsteps of fellow Kelowna d-men like Shea Weber, Duncan Keith and Luke Schenn. Put up decent numbers, but there is still untapped offensive potential to go with a player who is a big-time competitor who is not afraid to be aggressive.

34. MONTREAL CANADIENS – Emile Poirier – LW
THN: # 47 (Offensive Forward) —– CS: # 39 NAS —– McK: # 26
ISS: # 79 (Not available)
Some teams might be scared off by his awkward skating style, but he manages to plow through and produce offensively. He will need to continue to work on his skating and get a little stronger. If he does that, the Habs might have the steal of the draft.

35. FLORIDA PANTHERS (*) – Ian McCoshen – D
THN: # 26 (Defensive Defenseman) —– CS: # 24 NAS —– McK: # 29
ISS: # 28 (Zach Bogosian)
This pick is the bonus I have the Panthers getting for switching 1st round picks with the Hurricanes. I have them drafting another college-bound player as the Panthers swap immediate help for long-term help as they pare off some bad contracts. McCoshen has the ability and size to project out at least as a top four d-man with the upside of being a shutdown defender in the NHL.

36. MONTREAL CANADIENS – Shea Theodore – D
THN: # 46 (Offensive Defenseman) —– CS: # 11 NAS —– McK: # 49
ISS: # 38 (Paul Martin)
Theodore is a good defender, but his calling card is his ability to move and distribute the puck. Those attributes, and his ability to get shots on goal, make him a potential NHL PP QB,

37. EDMONTON OILERS – Chris Bigras – D
THN: # 33 (Defensive Defenseman) —– CS: # 14 NAS —– McK: # 27
ISS: # 30 (Duncan Keith)
With all of the young offensive firepower the Oilers have drafted over the past couple of years, Bigras makes a fine defensive addition to their blue line. He plays a solid game and is at home in the defensive end. He has the ability to play on the PP as well as starring on the PK, he should be a top four d-man for Edmonton.

38. BUFFALO SABRES – Jacob De La Rose – C
THN: # 29 (Two-way Forward) —– CS: # 7 ES —– McK: # 31
ISS: # 33 (Jordan Staal)
De La Rose captained Sweden’s Under-18 team and was a member of its WJC team so he is familiar with playing in high pressure games – not to mention that he helped Leksand return to the Swedish Elite League. He is a solid and safe pick whose upside is as a 2nd line center with good defensive attributes and at worst a 3rd line center with offensive punch.

39. NEW JERSEY DEVILS – Nic Petan – C
THN: # 42 (Offensive Forward) —– CS: # 33 NAS —– McK: # 46
ISS: # 29 (Derek Roy)
Petan’s size (5-8/165) is the one thing that might keep him out of the 1st round. However, lack of size didn’t stop Lou Lamoriello from drafting Zach Parise 10 years ago and it won’t deter him from drafting Petan. While he tied for the WHL in scoring (46-74-120), the best part of his game is that he makes his teammates better when he is on the ice.

40. DALLAS STARS – Dillon Heatherington – D
THN: # 45 (Defensive Defenseman) —– CS: # 31 NAS —– McK: # 44
ISS: # 27 (Joni Pitkanen)
The Stars would probably like to select a more offensive-type d-man, but the best value at this pick is with Heatherington. While he is seen as a defensive player, he has top notch hockey sense that allows him to contribute on the offensive end. He can play on both special teams.

41. PHILADELPHIA FLYERS – Morgan Klimchuk – LW
THN: # 38 (Two-way Forward) —– CS: # 25 NAS —– McK: # 42
ISS: # 47 (James Neal)
An offensive player, Klimchuk showed an ability to take care of the defensive side during his stint with Canada’s Under-18 team where he was a big part of their PK. That aside, Klimchuk’s games is derived from his big shot which is made even more lethal by his ability to hit the net.

42. PHOENIX COYOTES – Tristan Jarry – G
THN: # 68 (Not Available) —– CS: # 3NAG —– McK: # 65
ISS: # 2 Goalie (Not Available)
With Mike Smith’s status uncertain, GM Don Maloney should look to add some more organizational depth behind Mark Visentin. Jarry has big-time numbers as Laurent Brossoit’s backup with the Edmonton Oil Kings (WHL): 18-7-0, 1.61 GAA, .936 SV%.

43. WINNIPEG JETS – Laurent Dauphin – C
THN: # 66 (Not Available) —– CS: # 28 NAS —– McK: # 37
ISS: # 44 (Mike Ribeiro)
The speedy Dauphin earned Player of the Game honors at the 2013 CHL Top Prospects game. He is a playmaker who also has the ability to score goals. Dauphin sees top six forward minutes and plays on PP and PK.

44. COLUMBUS BLUE JACKETS – Linus Arnesson – D
THN: # 40 (Defensive Defenseman) —– CS: # 13 ES —– McK: # 38
ISS: # 51 (Marc Staal)
Arnesson earned props for stepping and playing in the Swedish Elite League last season. While he is a mobile defender, he is more at home on the defensive side of the game. THN said that one scout compared his style of play to that of Toni Lydman.

45. ANAHEIM DUCKS – Justin Bailey – C/RW
THN: # 34 (Power Forward) —– CS: #38 NAS —– McK: # 40
ISS: # 42 (James van Riemsdyk)
The only thing separating Bailey from the 1st round are his injury woes – and there a lot of them. He suffered two separated shoulders before he ever made his OHL debut last year. While playing for Kitchener last year, he suffered a concussion and a chest injury that limited him to 57 games. Bailey, son of former NFL LB Carlton Bailey, brings size (6-3/194) and offensive abilities. Needs to get stronger and stay healthy.

46. MINNESOTA WILD – Jason Dickinson – C/LW
THN: # 35 (Two-way Forward) —– CS: # 30 NAS —– McK: # 34
ISS: # 36 (Jeff Carter)
Another one of those talented prospects who has the skills, but needs to find a consistency to his game. His offensive game is keyed by his superb puck skills and plus shot.

47. ST. LOUIS BLUES – Tommy Vannelli – D
THN: # 37 (Offensive Defenseman) —– CS: # 44 NAS —– McK: # 30
ISS: # 96 (Not available)
Vannelli is a bit of a reach at this spot in the Draft, but is worth the shot as a high-risk/high-reward draft pick. Vannelli, who has committed to the University of Minnesota, played for the USA 2013 Under-18 team and the 2012 Ivan Hlinka team. His ice vision allows him to make breakout passes and serves him well on the PP; he will have to bulk up his frame (6-2/167) while at Minnesota.

48. DETROIT RED WINGS – Brett Pesce – D
THN: # 52 (Two-way Defenseman) —– CS: # 40 NAS —– McK: # 57
ISS: # 90 (Not Available)
Pesce took a regular shift as an 18-year-old freshman at the University of New Hampshire (HE). His development took a little hit in 2011-12 as a torn labrum robbed him of valuable ice time. THN said he managed to play for the U-17 team that year and was second only to Jacob Trouba among the USA blueliners. He is a steady player who can evolve into a top four d-man by bulking up his frame (6-3/170) and continuing to get experience at a high level.

49, SAN JOSE SHARKS – Connor Hurley – C
THN: # 48 (Two-way Forward) —– CS: # 45 NAS —– McK: # 50
ISS: # 45 (Andrew Ladd)
Hurley split his time last year between Edina High School (MN) and the USHL (where he played for Muskegon and the USA U-18 team). If he were born a day later, he wouldn’t have been draft eligible this year. He has committed to the University of Notre Dame. He is a highly competitive player who will need to be more consistent with his play and add some bulk to his frame (6-1/172).

50. SAN JOSE SHARKS – William Carrier – LW
THN: # 51 (Offensive Forward) —– CS: # 18 NAS —– McK: # 54
ISS: # 100 (Not available)
Another player with consistency issues, Carrier got sidetracked last season because of a serious ankle injury – which limited him to just 34 games with Cape Breton (QMJHL). His development also was hindered by playing on a bad team. Despite playing only 34 games, Carrier was his team’s leading scorer (16-26-42). The big knock on him is his skating, but if he can stay healthy and add that elusive consistency to his game, Carrier can make the next step to the NHL.

51. TORONTO MAPLE LEAFS – Marc-Olivier Roy – C
THN: # 58 (Offensive Forward) —– CS: # 54 NAS —– McK: # 55
ISS: # 54 (Pascal Dupuis)
Roy is a solid two-way player who has the ability to score goals and find the puck. While he is slight (6-0/175), he is not afraid to get involved in traffic and will go to the net to score goals. It would not surprise me to see a team take a flyer on him late in the first round.

52. BUFFALO SABRES – Jimmy Lodge – C/LW
THN: # 64 (Not available) —– CS: # 21 NAS —– McK: # 68
ISS: # 39 (Jason Pominville)
It kind of makes sense for the Sabres to draft a Jason Pominville-type player. Lodge’s hockey sense make up for his less-than-smooth style of skating and his lack of bulk (6-1/166). On the plus side, Lodge is player who has shown an ability to develop all facets of his game. He is on the cusp of being a top six forward prospect and should play on PP and PK.

53. WASHINGTON CAPITALS – Artturi Lehkonen – LW
THN: # 36 (Offensive Forward) —– CS: # 9 ES—– McK: # 39
ISS: # 46 (Loui Eriksson)
Lehkonen’s season suffered as he dealt with two concussions this year. His slender stature (5-11/163) is something to be concerned about, but his hockey sense and puck skills allow him to survive and thrive. He did produce last season while playing in Finland’s top league. He could be a big-time contributor on a line with Alex Ovechkin.

54. DALLAS STARS – Zach Nastasiuk – RW/C
THN: # 39 (Two-way Forward) —– CS: # 13 NAS —– McK: # 51
ISS: # 54 (Ryan Kesler)
At the very least, Nastasiuk will find a home in the NHL as a solid defender in his own zone and as a tenacious forechecker in the offensive zone. He likes to get involved physically and is not afraid to block shots. If he develops an offensive game, he is a top six forward. If not, he will be a solid 3rd line forward with some scoring punch.

55. MONTREAL CANADIENS – Oliver Bjorkstrand – LW
THN: # 53 (Offensive Forward) —– CS: # 36 NAS —– McK: # 48
ISS: # 67 (Not available)
A little undersized (5-11/167), Bjorkstrand gets high marks for leaving Denmark for the WHL (Portland) where he scored 31 goals and 32 assists in 65 games. His father Todd played at the University of Maine and in the minors before finishing a long career in Denmark – thus giving Oliver a professional hockey pedigree. He has good hands and a good shot which provides him scoring ability.

56. EDMONTON OILERS – Spencer Martin – G
THN: # 60 (Starting Goaltender) —– CS: #5 NAG —– McK: # 67
ISS: # 5 Goalie (Not Available)
Martin stopped all 16 shots he faced in the 2013 CHL Top Prospects game. Martin utilizes the butterfly technique, but has drawn some criticism for being too much of a technique goalie. He has a solid glove and is in position to make saves because of his ability to move side-to-side with ease.

57. LOS ANGELES KINGS – Marko Dano – C
THN: # 43 (Project Forward) —– CS: # 12 ES —– McK: # 43
ISS: # 81 (Not available)
Dano gets high marks for leading Slovakia in scoring (6-4-5-9) during the WJC and for getting playing time in the KHL as an 18-year-old. Because he is not that big (5-11/183), Dano uses his hockey sense to read the play as it develops and get to loose pucks. He utilizes good skating and puck skills to work in tight situations.

58. SAN JOSE SHARKS – Eric Roy – D
THN: # 54 (Offensive Defenseman) —– CS: # 41 NAS —– McK: # 58
ISS: # 73 (Not Available)
While his goal total jumped from 11 to 17, his overall point total dropped (53 to 39) and he was a -32 for a bad Brandon (WHL) team. The theme of inconsistency really hits home with Roy as a scout told THN that his inconstancy ranges, but only from game-to-game, but shift-to-shift. On the plus side, Roy has size (6-3/187) and an offensive ability to create his own chances and an improving physical game.

59. WINNIPEG JETS – Nick Sorensen – RW
THN: # 49 (Offensive Forward) —– CS: # 48 NAS —– McK: # 47
ISS: # 55 (Niclas Bergfors)
Yet another player who battled the injury bug last season. Knee and shoulder injuries have limited him to just 54 games with Quebec (QMJHL) during the last TWO seasons. However, in those games, Sorensen scored 25 goals and 31 assists. He will need to bulk up some (6-1/175), but if he does and if he stays healthy, he has the offensive ability and hockey sense to be a top six forward.

60. BOSTON BRUINS – Jonathan Diaby – D
THN: # 50 (Defensive Defenseman) —– CS: # 37 NAS —– McK: # 45
ISS: # 98 (Not Available)
There are a couple of ways the Bruins could go if they want a d-man, but Diaby offers them the biggest one (6-5/223). He is a stay at home d-man who does have good mobility for a player his size. Can and will block shots, Diaby is also willing to drop the gloves – as witnessed by his 10 fights in Juniors last season.

61. WINNIPEG JETS – John Hayden – C/RW
THN: # 73 (Not Available) —– CS: # 29 NAS —– McK: # 74
ISS: # 43 (Ryan Malone)
Hayden projects out as your prototypical power forward (6-3/185). He is committed to play at Yale in 2014-15, but Halifax (QMJHL) took a flyer on him late in their draft. He is a top notch competitor whose physical play powers his game (pun intended) – which he uses well to gain space and finish off his checks.

Second Round Draft Pick Transactions

• The Nashville Predators’ second-round pick will go to the Montreal Canadiens as the result of a trade on February 27, 2012 that sent Andrei Kostitsyn to Nashville in exchange for the cancellation of a previously arranged conditional fifth-round pick (in a 2012 trade of Hal Gill to Nashville from Montreal) in 2013 and this pick.
• The Calgary Flames’ second-round pick will go to the Montreal Canadiens as the result of a trade on January 12, 2012 that sent Michael Cammalleri, Karri Ramo, and Montreal’s fifth-round pick in 2012 to Calgary in exchange for Rene Bourque, Patrick Holland and this pick.
• The New York Islanders’ second-round pick will go to the Anaheim Ducks as the result of a trade on June 22, 2012 that sent Lubomir Visnovsky to New York in exchange for this pick.
• The Ottawa Senators’ second-round pick will go to the St. Louis Blues as the result of a trade on February 26, 2012 that sent Ben Bishop to Ottawa in exchange for this pick.
• The New York Rangers’ second-round pick will go to the San Jose Sharks as the result of a trade on April 2, 2013 that sent Ryane Clowe to New York in exchange for Florida’s third-round pick in 2013, a conditional second-round pick in 2014 (which is met if the Rangers re-sign Clowe) and this pick.
• The St. Louis Blues’ second-round pick will go to the Buffalo Sabres as the result of a trade on March 30, 2013 that sent Jordan Leopold to St. Louis in exchange for a conditional fifth-round pick in 2013 and this pick.
• The Vancouver Canucks’ second-round pick will go to the Dallas Stars as the result of a trade on April 2, 2013 that sent Derek Roy to Vancouver in exchange for Kevin Connaughton and this pick.
• The Anaheim Ducks’ second-round pick will go to the Edmonton Oilers as the result of a trade on July 12, 2011 that sent Andrew Cogliano to Anaheim in exchange for this pick.
• The Pittsburgh Penguins’ second-round pick will go to the San Jose Sharks as the result of a trade on March 25, 2013 that sent Douglas Murray to Pittsburgh in exchange for a conditional second-round pick (the condition will only be met if the Penguins re-sign Murray since the Pens didn’t win 2 playoff rounds) in 2014 and this pick.
• The Winnipeg Jets will receive the 29th pick of this round (59th overall) as compensation for not signing 2008 first-round draft pick Daultan Leveille.
• The Chicago Blackhawks’ second-round pick will go to the Winnipeg Jets as the result of a trade on February 27, 2012 that sent Johnny Oduya to Chicago in exchange for Chicago’s third-round pick in 2013 and this pick.

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The New York Rangers are not scheduled to make a selection in the 2013 NHL Draft until the 3rd round at pick #65 – their lowest first pick ever. Previously, the Rangers lowest first draft pick was defenseman Filip Novak who was drafted in the 2nd round (64th overall) in 2000 in Glen Sather’s first draft as GM.

Neil Smith dealt away the Rangers first round pick as part of the trade that allowed the Rangers to move up to 4th in 1999 to draft Pavel Brendl. The Blueshirts should have had the 38th overall pick, but Sather swapped second round picks with the Detroit Red Wings who used the 38th pick to draft Tomas Kopecky. The Rangers received the 95th overall pick (3rd rounder) in the deal – which they used to select Dominic Moore.

The Rangers own Nashville’s 3rd round pick (#65), Columbus’ 3rd round pick (#75) and their own 3rd round pick (# 80).

Rangers Director of Player Personnel Gordie described how he is dealing with the missing 1st and 2nd round picks and what his plans are for the Rangers three 3rd round selections.

“This is the first time in my career I have had to wait so long to make a pick. But these are still important picks,” Clark explained to Jim Cerny of BlueshirtsUnited.com.

“The difference is that in the first round we tend to take the best player available regardless of position. Here we can think more about filling a need in the organization. For example we are a little light on defense because all of our young (defensemen) are already in the NHL for the most part. So that is one area we would target. And seeing if we can find a possible future No. 1 goaltender, as well.”

It is interesting reading Clark’s thoughts. I would think since the odds are better to get an impact player in the 1st round; teams would be looking to fill specific needs in the 1st round (and even the 2nd round). Teams would then switch to taking the best players available as you get deeper in the draft in an attempt to build as deep an organization as possible. Even if you end up stockpiling talent at a position, you could always use it in trades.

So what is Clark’s game plan approaching the 2013 NHL Draft.

“You might not be able to fill your biggest need in the third round, even with three thirds like we have,” Clark told Cerny. “For example, our biggest needs within the organization are a big-time offensive forward and a skilled offensive defenseman. But you probably are only going to get those type of players in the first round, not in the third. So we shift our focus to filling some of our other needs.”

In preparing my 3rd round draft preview I have taken Clark’s strategy into consideration. I have come up with a list of six potential 3rd round targets that are listed in alphabetical order.

Each player has ratings for the following scouting services: The Hockey News (THN), NHL’s Central Scouting (CS), McKeen’s (McK), and International Scouting Service (ISS). CS breaks down their ratings by North American skaters (NAS), European skaters (ES), North American goaltenders (NAG) and European goaltenders (EG). THN lists each prospect’s NHL Translation. ISS provides a prospects’ comparable NHL player.

THN: # 63 (Not Available) —– CS: # 61 NAS —– McK: # 64
ISS: # 48 (Brenden Morrow)

The 6-foot-1 and 189 Baptiste played for Sudbury (OHL) last season and scored 21 goals and 27 assists in 66 games. ISS sees him as a “2nd/3rd line winger while adding excellent secondary scoring. THN called him a “speedster with nice hands [who] had a great second half”.

ISS Scouting report: “Baptiste plays the game at a high tempo and has a relentless offensive motor. Possesses dynamic hands to match his quick outside speed …. Has great puck presence and the ability to burn opposition defenders while having the vision to find his teammates in the offensive zone. His defensive awareness and instincts have come a long way and are a work in progress …. It is evident in his intensity and work ethic that Nick has a passion for the game and development hasn’t stopped as he continues to improve.”

THN: # 77 (N/A) —– CS: # 117 NAS —– McK: #Not Available
ISS: # 69 (Not Available)

The 6-foot-1 and 204 pound Buckles scored 40 goals and 3`1 assists in 51 games for St. Michael’s (OJHL). In 17 playoff games, he chipped in another seven goals and 10 assists. THN described him as a “sniper who can bang and crash – headed to Cornell.”

ISS Scouting Report: “Buckles’ game is centered around his fierce physical game and his massive shot, which is lethal given room in the offensive zone. Has a variety of weapons in the offensive end as he shows great body presence and puck protection to carry the puck to the net, but can also act as a triggerman with his heavy one-timer. Explodes through checks and hits the opposition with emphasis. Skates well but lacks elite quickness, relying on his power strides up ice. He needs to work on his consistency ….”

THN: Not Available —– CS: # 25 ES —– McK: # Not Available
ISS: #113 (Not Available)

The 6-foot-2 and 209 pound Cederholm played for Rogle Jr. in Sweden and scored five goals and eight assist in 36 games.

ISS Scouting Report: “A big, strong and mobile defenseman, Cederholm is already very mature for his age; something served him well in his 12 games in the Eliteserien this year, where he never looked out of place. He is strong around his own net and shows well in battle situations. Cederholm is at his best below his own goal line as he manages to deny lanes well and can really contain pressure to the outside. He is very good at clearing pucks and pushing them up ice to teammates. He can be a bit jumpy with the puck offensively and tend to rush or force plays.”

THN: # 55 (Skilled Forward) —– CS: # 57 NAS —– McK: # 72
ISS: # 64 (Not Available)

The 5-foot-11 and 180 pound Duclair played 55 games with Quebec (QMJHL) and scored 20 goals and 30 assists – a decrease from his rookie season when he scored 31 goals and 35 assists in 63 games.

THN wrote that scouts compare his abilities to that of Marian Gaborik and Alexander Semin on one hand while questioning his consistency. “The tools are there, but he’s inconsistent. You never know what you are going to get from this kid,” one scout told THN.

Another scout told THN, “The key to Duclair is the team that gets him had better be patient and understanding with him. If they are, they’re going to be rewarded.”

ISS Scouting report: “Duclair has battled adversity this tear; injury early in [the] year and some inconsistent play, but [he] worked through and became a good offensive contributor with a +23 rating. When he is on his game he can be difficult to handle one-on-one and is dangerous in the offensive zone … when he is not, he looks like a career CHL player. Luckily for him, we have seen him at his best and believe he will mature and has top 6 upside with added maturity and consistency in compete level. He is not strong and that does force him to rely on his skating and stick skills too heavily.”

THN: # 80 (Not Available) —– CS: # 51 NAS —– McK: #51 NAS
ISS: # 71 (Not Available)

The 6-foot-3 and 185 pound Olofsson spent last season with Green Bay (USHL) and scored one goal and 20 assists in 61 games. Olofsson is committed to Colorado College. THN called him a “puckmoving defenseman [who] boasts poise [and a] great stick.”

ISS Scouting Report: “… has great size and plays a very responsible and steady game. He plays with good intelligence and poise with the puck. Although he is not an overly physical defenseman, he has a great stick and works his angles very efficiently. His biggest strength is he rarely gets beat. A frustrating defenseman to play against and get around. He stands out in most situations when he has little bit of extra time and space to make a play, such as the PP – but proves to be capable in 5-on-5 situations as well. A big quiet kid who reminds ISS of Jiri Fischer.”

THN: # 75 (Not Available) —– CS: # 53 NAS —– McK: # 85
ISS: # 49 (Paul Martin)

The 6-foot-0 and 187 pound Thompson played for the USA’s Under-18 team and scored four goals and 17 assists in 60games. Thompson has verbally committed to play for the University of North Dakota starting in the 2014-15 season. THN called him a “smooth skating blueliner with upside [but] how much?”

ISS Scouting Report: “Thompson is a two-way puck moving defenseman that sees the ice exceptionally well. He possesses gifted athletic ability and elite vision. [He] was a standout defenseman for the USA U-18 team all season long. Keaton can play the game any way you like. He is at his best when he uses his patience and ice vision to distribute pucks. He has shut down capability and plays a responsible and smart game in all three zones. He can play physical when the situation calls for it and will not shy away from scrums and clearing men from in front of the net.”

I know there are no LWs among the group, but I believe that these forwards represent the best “bang for the buck” in the 3rd round.

In terms of preference, my first pick would be Duclair – and that is something that I would not have said if John Tortorella were still coach. Alain Vigneault’s style and patience would help to bring the best out of Duclair.

I would be comfortable with either Baptiste or Buckles as my second pick of the 3rd round. I would lean towards Buckles because of his big-time shot – something the Rangers could certainly use.

As for the third pick of the 3rd round, all three blueliners are close but my first choice would be Thompson because I think he might have the quickest transition to the NHL game – with Olofsson and Cedarholm following in that order.

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If handicapping potential Rangers 3rd round draft picks is tough, imagine how crazy it gets trying to plan out to the 110th (4th round) and 170th (6th round) picks.

While Director of Player Personnel Gordie Clark spoke of drafting for need rather than selecting the best player available, by the time you get this late in the draft the best policy might be to the best player available. However, I decided to take Clark’s comments into consideration when dealing with the 4th and 6th round picks.

Each player has ratings for the following scouting services: The Hockey News (THN), NHL’s Central Scouting (CS), McKeen’s (McK), and International Scouting Service (ISS). CS breaks down their ratings by North American skaters (NAS), European skaters (ES), North American goaltenders (NAG) and European goaltenders (EG). THN lists each prospect’s NHL Translation. ISS provides a prospects’ comparable NHL player.

Here are the possible 4th round draft picks, listed in alphabetical order:

THN: # Not Available —– CS: # 13 NAG —– McK: # N/A
ISS: # 7 Goalie

The 6-foot-3 and 176 pound Burke is the son of former NHL goaltender Sean Burke. Given that the Devils drafted Stephane Matteau’s son in the 1st round last year, turnabout would be fair play if the Blueshirts tabbed Burke’s son.

As you might expect, the younger Burke’ style of play mirrors that of his father.

“Yes, good and bad. He’s very similar in style. A lot of it is from him just watching. He was old enough when I was still playing to watch a lot of games. He naturally plays a style I think he watched me play,” Sean Burke related to Rich Chere of NJ.com.

“Kids his age now are better-coached from a younger age. They’re more technical. I remember back in my day it was more about just being a good athlete and competing. Young goalies now do that, but they’ve also been well-coached.”

Brendan played last season with Portland (WHL), In 33 games Last season, Burke posted a 24—1 record with a 2.65 GAA and a .908 save percentage and four shutouts. As he did in his rookie season, Burke backed up WHL veteran Mac Carruth.

Prior to joining Portland in 2011, Burke was one of 40 players invited to tryout for the Under-17 US National Development Team. In his rookie season in 2011/12, Burke played in 18 games and posted a 7-2-1 record with 3.58 GAA and .875 SV%.

ISS Scouting Report: “A large goaltender who takes up the net well, Burke was able to see some good action throughout the year showcasing his positional ability. Burke has good rebound control and smothers the puck quickly when it is free. He tracks the puck fairly well through traffic, but needs to improve his angles and be more aggressive after shooters.”

THN: # Not Available —– CS: # 39 ES —– McK: # Not Available
ISS: # 125 (Not Available)

The 6-foot-2 and 178 pound Glukhov played for Omsk 2 in Russia and scored one goal and 13 assists in 41 games. Glukhov’s CS rating improved from his #48 rating in their Mid-Term Rankings.

ISS Scouting Report: “A slick skating defender who loves to rush the puck and make plays. Glukhov had a bit of a coming out part at this years’ U-18 World Championships. He makes a very good first pass, but is most effective from the point where he has good deception skills and vision. He is strong on his skates and is good in one-on-one situations, using his reach and skating speed to keep opponents to the outside. He can be a decently effective physical player at times, separating opponents from pucks well, but he needs to get bigger (more weight) and stronger to compete at the next level.

THN: # Not Available —– CS: # 20 ES —– McK: # Not Available
ISS: #119 (Not Available)

The 6-foot-2 and 187 pound Slepyshev was eligible for the 2012 NHL Draft, but went unselected. I bet there are a few teams that wished they had taken a late round flyer on him last year. This year, Slepyshev played 26 games in the KHL and scored seven goals and two assists, and added an assist in seven games for Russia’s WJC team.

ISS Scouting Report: “Perhaps the best player that was most shockingly left off the draft board last year, Slepyshev came back strong this year. A talented two-way player with good spirit, Slepyshev has great hands and can really make things happen from the perimeter with the puck. He shows good work ethic, can play physical and also can be a real pest to play against. He shows good power elements in his game and can protect the puck well and isn’t afraid to go into the dirty areas of the ice. Saw good minutes for Russia at this year’s WJC and should be in line to be one of their top weapons for next year’s event.”

It turns out that the alphabetical order is also my draft order with goaltender Brendan Burke at the top of my 4th round choices.

Here are the possible 6th round draft picks, listed in alphabetical order:

THN: Not Available —– CS: # 133 NAS —– McK: # Not Available
ISS: #131 (Not Available)

The 5-foot-11 and 182 pound Burroughs played for Regina (WHL) last season and scored five goals and 28 assists in 70 games – with 91 PIM.

ISS Scouting Report: “There are so many reasons to count Burroughs out – he’s too small, he looks frail on the ice, but Burroughs plays the game with tremendous maturity. He thinks the game very well on both sides of the puck, is calm and calculated in almost every situation, plays unselfish and team first style of game and can really move the puck well. He has great vision with the puck, positions himself well offensively and defensively, keeps a strong gap and is extremely reliable in all situations. His size will deter some teams, but he can play big minutes against top players and be very effective.

TSN: # Not Available —– CS: # 64 NAS —– McK: #
ISS: # 149 (Not Available)

The 5-foot-11 and 158 pound blueliner played 25 games for Burnsville High School in Minnesota for his father Janne, Teemu, who is a dual Finish-American citizen, scored nine goals and added 21 assists.

According to an article by Neate Sager of Yahoo Canada, Kivihalme appears to be ready to pass on Junior hockey in order to play for Colorado College (WCHA). However, the youngster is willing to go the Junior route if that is what his eventual NHL team thinks is best.

ISS Scouting Report: ISS scouts like his offensive upside and have noted over the season he has done a better job of picking his spots when looking to jump into the rush and play an offensive style. Kivihalme is not overly physical but is effective at using his body to rub opposing players out of scoring opportunities. Has a tremendous set of hands and he’s able to collect the puck and distribute it to teammates at a very high rate. Teemu is a tremendous skater and his only real knock is his size, as it’s not prototypical, but he is a likeable player thanks to a nice collection of skills. He needs to get bigger (more weight) and stronger to compete at the next level.

THN: # Not Available —– CS: # 180NAS —– McK: # Not Available
ISS: # 154 (Not Available)

The 5-foot-11 and 184 pound Ikonen left his native Finland to further his development in the North American style of hockey. Last season he played 61 games with Kingston (OHL) and scored 22 goals and 29 assists. He spent the 2011/12 season with Kalpa Jr. in Finland and scored 17 goals and 28 assists in 37 games.

ISS Comments: “Draft Sleeper! Good offensive awareness with great low zone vision. Works very well along the boards and off the cycle. Displays great strength in his lower body and on his skates. North-South offensive style. Developed into a leader on the young Frontenacs squad.”

Since the Rangers do have depth at forward, I would list Ikonen as the third of the 6th round choices. As for the two blueliners, the question comes down to a short-term prospect (Burroughs) or a long-term prospect (Kivihalme). In the end, I would go with Kivihalme because of his plus skating ability and the fact that it is possible that he might yet grow into an NHL-size defenseman.


Some interesting news coming out of Ottawa where Bruce Garrioch of the Ottawa Sun is reporting that the Rangers are quietly shopping former 1st round draft pick J.T. Miller. Garrioch writes that the Rangers are looking for proven help.

If Wayne Gretzky can be traded, then no player is truly :untouchable” so I have no problem with the Rangers gauging how much interest there is in Miller. However, given that Miller is only 20-years-old; the Blueshirts can’t be looking for a grizzled veteran. They have to get someone back in their mid-20s or possibly grabbing a 1st round pick if there is a player they really like.

However, if the report out of Ottawa is true, could there be a more “sinister” motive behind shopping Miller? Pair this rumor up with the Rangers passing on buying out Brad Richards this year, and you have a GM who is looking to roll the dice one more time in an attempt to win a Stanley Cup – future of the organization be damned.

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Alain Vigneault’s hiring as the 35th coach in New York Rangers history is being hailed as the greatest thing since sliced bread. The MSG Network analysts and the media rolled out le tapis rouge for the new coach who is viewed as the savior of a Rangers team that took “a step backwards” according to Captain Ryan Callahan.

We all know about the two President Trophies and the six divisional titles (five of them in a row). However, the divisional titles are not a huge accomplishment given the struggles Calgary, Colorado, Edmonton and Minnesota have had during the last few years.

If the Rangers took a step backwards this year under John Tortorella, how many steps back did Vigneault’s Vancouver Canucks taken posting a 1-10 playoff record after reaching Game 7 of the Stanley Cup Finals against the Boston Bruins – that includes two first round playoff eliminations?

Basically, the Rangers hired a coach who had more talent in Vancouver, and underachieved, rather than retain the coach who had less talent (and less a media-friendly demeanor) and overachieved.

The one thing you can always say about MSG’s teams is that they always put on good press conferences. Friday’s event to introduce Vigneault really wasn’t one of their finest hours. I guess you can chalk it up to the fact that it was a “road press conference” due to the unavailability of MSG due to the renovations.

Yes, the usual suspects were there with James Dolan and Glen Sather front and center along with Garden bigwigs Hank Ratner and David Howard; as well as Rangers Assistant GMs Jim Schoenfeld and Jeff Gorton.

Most telling were those who were not in attendance.

No one would have expected Mark Messier to appear Friday given that he was one of the finalists for the coaching job. According to Sather, the Rangers coaching list started with 13 candidates that was quickly whittled down to nine. Sather admitted that he conducted phone interviews with four candidates and had to two in-person interviews.

We know that Vigneault and Messier were the two in-person candidates. As for the phone interviews, we can guess that Lindy Ruff and John Stevens were two of the names because the Rangers did receive permission from Buffalo and Los Angeles to speak to them.

The other conspicuous absences belonged to the players themselves. Nary a Ranger was introduced at the press conference – and that is as telling as any statement Sather could make in reference to the players not playing a part in John Tortorella’s firing.

Sather went on record as saying that he thought about firing Torts during the regular season and again during the playoffs. Despite of all this deep thought, Sather still didn’t pull the trigger until after the exit interviews with the players. If it looks like a duck and quacks like a duck, then it works for Aflac.

In the end it really doesn’t matter how or why Tortorella was fired. Adam Proteau of The Hockey News probably described the life of a coach with the following tweet: “Twenty-five coaches have been fired in the last two years. We no longer should say a team has ‘hired’ a new coach. More like ‘rented’”.

I have written in the past that I thought John Tortorella was a good coach. Was he perfect? No. He needed to be a bit more flexible in letting his players play and he needed to modify his defensive scheme that placed too much of an emphasis on shutting down the shooting lanes.

Sather made several references to the way the game has changed over the last couples of years with the unsaid point being that Torts didn’t or wouldn’t change. Ironically, the same can be said of Sather – but that is for another day.

Rick Carpiniello of the Journal News wrote that Sather said he spoke with Tortorella about changing his style, but his former coach was “beyond stubborn” – which Slats did say helped make Torts so successful.

Brett Cyrgalis of the NY Post used the same “beyond stubborn” quote in one of his articles, but it was only in direct context to Tortorella being given a chance to change his ways. You get the feeling that each side has their point of view on this subject and that the truth lies somewhere in between.

Vigneault represents a “safe” choice for Sather. It is funny how the media roasted Torts for eschewing his “safe is death” mantra from his Tampa Bay days, but gives Sather a pass on making the safe choice here.

Then again, when Sather goes the non-safe route the Rangers ended up with the likes of crony Ron Low and the ill-prepared Bryan Trottier.

Unlike those fans who called for Tortorella to be fired and then are silent when it comes to offering up alternatives, I did have my own list of candidates and AV was not Plan A, B, or C.

My first choice would have been former Toronto Marlies coach and new Edmonton Oilers coach Dallas Eakins. The delay between the Rangers last game and the firing Tortorella cost the Blueshirts any chance they would have had at Eakins.

The new Oilers coach has NHL experience as an assistant coach with the Toronto Maple Leafs to go along with his time as head coach in the AHL.

Defenseman Mike Mottau, who played for all three local hockey teams, endorsed Eakins in a discussion with Cyrgalis.

“I played for a number of coaches over the years and I can say Dallas is one of the best,” Mottau explained to Cyrgalis.

“He was able to look at certain guys and let them play to their strengths and work on their weaknesses. Other coaches promote themselves and their system, but he was looking at the betterment of the group. He was just a breath of fresh air for me.”

Another non-safe alternative would be the University of Wisconsin’s Mike Eaves. In 2011, Eaves’ name surfaced as a potential candidate for the New Jersey Devils job – a position that went to Peter DeBoer.

Andy Johnson of Buckys5thQuater.com, a Badgers sports site, wrote about Eaves flirtation with the Devils.

“Another coach that has coached in the NHL before and I had him for a few international tournaments is Mike Eaves,” Zach Parise told Johnson in June 2011.

“He is now at Wisconsin and I’ve never been so prepared to face an opponent as when I was playing for him. It may be a little different in an 82-game schedule, but he did a great job of having players understand their role on the team and got them to do that to the best of their ability.”

“Great coach, great systems and gets his players to play. Very demanding.”

Eaves also gets high marks given the way Ryan McDonagh and Derek Stepan have been able to become impact players for the Rangers.

Truth be told, I might have decided to wait out Dave Tippett’s situation in Phoenix. Given his success with an unsteady Coyotes franchise, imagine what he could do with the Rangers talent and purse strings. Once Tippett re-signed with Phoenix, I would have moved on to the rest of my list.

A safer choice than Eakins and Eaves, but still one that would have caused some discussion, would have been Pittsburgh’s Tony Granato. Some fans and media members were hot for Dan Bylsma had the Penguins boss been canned instead or retained. Granato would have given a link to those who wanted a Pittsburgh flair, while providing the Rangers with someone who had head coaching experience.

Granato was 104-78-17-16 in 215 games in two coaching stints with Colorado. During that time, he led the Avalanche a Northwest Division title and a second place finish.

For the most part, Vigneault did not say anything out of place during his introductory press conference. He wants his team to play the “right way” and expects them to take calculated chances when the opportunity presents itself.

“I believe that your top-skilled players have to be given a little more latitude. They have to understand the game …. They have to be given the latitude to make something out of nothing,” Vigneault offered.

While he wants the Rangers style of play to mirror that of the Canucks, Vigneault realizes that Vancouver was not built in a day.

“If you look at Vancouver, how we evolved over the years, [when] I got there we were a more defense-oriented team because our skill-level wasn’t as high,” AV explained. “As soon as our skill-level started to evolve, and we started to develop it a little bit more, we became one of the best offensive teams in the league – and that’s what I intend to do here in New York.”

The Rangers coach will be bringing some new off-ice changes to the franchise. Vigneault is a believer in the new hockey metrics and numbers – an NHL version of “Sabremetrics” if you will.

Various Rangers beat writers detailed Vigneault’s use of numbers to study how many offensive zone faceoffs and offensive zone ice time his best players get and how many defensive zone faceoffs and defensive zone ice time his best defensive players get – which seems to contradict his willingness to run four lines on a constant basis.

As Larry Brooks of the NY Post pointed out, Vancouver forwards averaged between 12:35 and 19:20 minutes of ice time. Brooks did point out that the Sedin Twins did not kill penalties or their number would have been north of 20 minutes of ice time.

In addition, AV made use of “sleep doctors” as a means of studying the rest and sleep patterns of his players as a result of Vancouver’s travel schedule. This point was hammered home by the MSG analysts and members as a major reason behind the hiring of Vigneault with the new divisional realignments and increased travel schedule – especially in terms of balancing the need for practice time versus the need for rest.

Of course, NHL teams dealt with that balancing act this year due to the Lockout, but the media is not going to let facts stand in the way of a story.

The bottom line, in the media’s eyes, was that they got rid of a surly coach in favor of one who pretty much has been termed a “media darling”. This was a point that Al Trautwig made on MSG prior to the start of the press conference.

“His personality was liked by the Vancouver media. He, apparently, had a sense of humor that we’ll start to see today,” Trautwig opined.

The one thing that Tortorella never realized is that you can’t win a fight against the media unless you are as successful as a Tom Coughlin or Gregg Popovich.

Much was made on Friday about Vigneault selecting the Rangers over the Dallas Stars who reportedly offered him a similar deal. Again, that really wasn’t much of a fair fight given the Rangers roster in comparison to the Stars roster and when you factor in AV is that much closer to his grown daughters who live in Montreal.

In offering up his reasons for hiring Vigneault Sather said, “He knows the kind of system we’d like to have here. It’s the kind of system he had in Vancouver for the last seven years.”

That is all well and good, but the question to ask is: Do the Rangers have those type of players to play Vancouver’s system? There was a reason why Tortorella didn’t run four lines against the Bruins – he didn’t have four lines worthy of forwards – especially when injuries hit.

Rather than looking to play a high-risk, high-reward style of hockey, the Rangers need to take a page from the Boston Bruins and play a “four and three” style of hockey. That means you roll four sets of line and three sets of defensemen. From all indications, that is what Vigneault wants to do.

However, AV and the Rangers have to take that one step further. Whatever system the Rangers end up running in New York is the EXACT system they must run in Hartford with the AHL Wolf Pack.

There is a reason why teams like the New Jersey Devils are able to overcome injuries and player defections on an annual basis. There is a reason why a rookie like Torey Krug can jump from the AHL and into the fire of the Stanley Cup Playoffs.

The Bruins, and especially the Devils, are running systems that are followed in the NHL and AHL. When AHL reinforcements are needed, they are already attuned to the style they will play in the NHL – thus making the transition easier.

The Rangers need to get out in front of this idea and embrace it from day one. Not only should it be implemented, it should be well known so that future Rangers – be it through trade, free agent signing or draft – know what will be expected of them.

If Vigneault is the best way to accomplish this idea, then welcome to New York AV. Besides, it is cool to have a coach who pronounces organization as “organ-EYE-zation”.

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While John Tortella’s ego took a beating as a result of the Ranger’s playoff performance, one New York teen took a much more physical beating because of the race for the Stanley Cup. Last month, a pair of knucklehead Rangers fans in Englewood put a 17-year-old in the hospital after they mistook him for a criminal who sold them phoney Rangers playoff tickets.

According to Englewood Detective Captain, Tim Torell, the suspects Robert Brancaccio and Raymond Sorg allgedly “grabbed, assaulted and sent to the hospital a totally innocent — and much smaller — kid who was simply on his way to work.”

The pair, both of whom are six feet tall and over 220 pounds, were arrested on assault charges. The Englewood police also nabbed the REAL scammer, 41-year-old Troy Harrell, for theft by deception and drug related charges. Harrell is a convicted felon with criminal records in New Jersey, New York and Maryland.

Brancaccio and Sorg reportedly met with Harrell after responding to a classified ad on Craigslist and paid $640 for what they thought were playoff tickets. Once the duped duo were denied entrance at the gate and realized that their tickets weren’t worth the paper they were printed on, they watched the game at a bar in Manhattan.

Passionate for revenge, Brancaccio and Sorg tried to find Harrell again on Craigslist. They spotted him trying to sell tickets to the exclusive New York City Governor’s Ball Music Festival on Randall’s Island. They assumed aliases and arranged to meet Harrell in the same shopping plaza where they were sold the fake playoff tickets.“Their plan, at least according to them, was to confront Harrell about the previous rip-off and then contact the police,” Captain Torrell said.

For reasons that haven’t been revealed, the two dim-witted Rangers fans mistook a 17-year-old for Harrell, slammed him to the ground, and beat him. Thinking they caught their crook, they called the police and officers quickly arrived at the scene. While they were explaining to the officers what happened, they got a call — from the REAL Harrell. That’s when they realized they had made a criminal mistake way more extreme than your typical overzealous sports fan stupidity or delinquency. But they weren’t the only ones destined to spend the night in jail.

Shortly afterwards, Harrell showed up to the meeting place carrying four bogus tickets to the governor’s ball and a marijuana pipe. The officers placed Brancaccio, Sorg, and Harrell in cuffs.

Robert Brancaccio and Raymond Sorg  were booked and posted bail. The hearings for their aggravated assault charges are pending.

Troy Harrell was placed in Bergen County Jail on $27,000 bail.

The teen was sent to the Englewood Hospital and Medical Center where his parents later reunited with him.

Author Bio:

This is a guest post by Logan Strain, a blogger from San Diego, California. He posts about crime, law, and personal safety on twitter.


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Pat Leonard of the Daily News penned the best description of the New York Rangers firing of Coach John Tortorella.

“The Rangers finally executed a power play, but it came at John Tortorella’s, expense” Leonard wrote.

“’Multiple players,’ including some ‘top guys,’ pushed for the firing of their demanding and combative 54-year-old coach, a source said, and they got their wish on Wednesday afternoon, just four days after the Blueshirts were bounced from the playoffs by the Boston Bruins.”

If you have been a regular reader of Ranger Ramblings you know that I am in the pro-Torts camp. I also realize that Tortorella had his “idiosyncrasies” that drove fans, players and the media crazy. I also realize that he is pigheaded at times in terms of player personnel decisions and style of play.

However, I also realize that he has a resume that only one other NHL coach (LA’s Darryl Sutter) could claim – leading his team to the second round of the playoffs the last two seasons.

Players spoke of the team taking a step back this season, while the coach called it a sideways step. Even if we take the players at their words, if the Rangers did regress and take a step back this year it was only because last year’s run to the Eastern Conference Finals was a case of the Blueshirts taking two, and perhaps three, steps forward.

In plain and simple terms, the Rangers are the example of the inmates running the asylum.

Rather than own up to the fact that some of the players were never mentally or physically fit to play the season following the lockout, the players did what all players do when a team fails to live up to expectations – point their collective finger at the coach.

I am not sure if anyone listens to or watches the “Boomer and Carton” Program, but they both said the same thing that Torts had lost the locker room and that a Rangers player told them as much about six weeks prior to Tortorella’s firing. Both Esiason and Carton refused to name the player, although they were quick to point it wasn’t Brad Richards, based on Boomer and B-Rich being good friends. Boomer did say it was a player that he has mentioned in the past and it was a player whose game Boomer had become disenchanted with.

I relayed this story to my wife and she came up with the same name I did – Rick Nash – and Roe did that without knowing that Boomer had been a big Nash guy.

I don’t know if it was Nash, but I have a REAL problem with players doing the deed and keeping silent. If you are going to stab your coach in the back, at least have the gonadal organs to put your name on the record. Say what you will about Mark Messier’s hand in the firing of Roger Neilson, but everyone knew that the Captain had grown tired of Neilson’s system – a system (by the way) that had lifted the Blueshirts out of the doldrums and into an eventual President’s Trophy winner.

The real shame in Tortorella’s firing is how Glen Sather manages to skate by with another pass. Just exactly how many coaches is he going to be allowed to fire anyway? Sather pretty much threw his players under the bus because he said he didn’t have any intention of firing Torts until after he spoke to the players in the season-ending meeting with management.

In all fairness, Tortorella was entering the final year of his contract so the Rangers needed to decide if they were going to extend his contract or run the risk of a lame duck coach like Terry Collins and Rex Ryan.

In addition, Torts needed to make some adjustments to his way of thinking. The team is desperate need of a new voice when it comes to the power play and there is a need to tweak their defensive zone coverage to lessen the emphasis on blocking shots and increase the pressure on opposing point men.

And if Sather had fired Tortorella because he refused to implement any changes and because he is in the final year of his contract, that would have been fine. However, Sather fired his coach based on the players’ revolt – and Slats did so without having a viable candidate in mind.

I say that because the Rangers are starting their organizational meetings in California and they are just starting to bring people in for interviews. The lack of action cost them a shot at Dallas Eakins who looks to be set to take over in Edmonton.

I bet the media is hoping the Rangers skate-dragging doesn’t cost them a shot at Vancouver’s ex-coach Alain Vigneault because the NY writers are pushing for him based on his being a good quote and very media friendly.

The next Rangers coach will mark the sixth coach that Sather will have hired since joining the organization in June 2000. If you factor in the interim coach that finished up the 1999/2000 season and was not invited back, Sather will be on coach number seven. In case you forgot, Tortorella was that interim coach so the Sather coaching lineage in 13 years is Torts, Ron Low, Bryan Trottier, Sather himself, Tom Renney and Torts again – and all the Rangers have to show for those years is one Division title.

In comparison, during Neil Smith’s 11 year tenure, his coaching lineage was Neilson, Ron Smith (interim), Mike Keenan, Colin Campbell and John Muckler. During the Smith years, the Rangers won a Stanley Cup, two Presidents’ Trophies and three Divisional titles.

Only Emile Francis and Lester Patrick won more games as a Rangers coach than John Tortorella during the regular season and the playoffs, where Torts is tied for third in wins with Colin Campbell.

The bottom line is that Sather reshaped the Rangers twice during the season without the benefit of a regular training camp, with the second reshaping coming in the middle of a wild playoff run.

Since Sather never adequately replaced the players he traded away during the off-season, Slats had to make his deadline deals in order to correct his original mistakes – including a deal for Ryan Clowe that could cost the Rangers two second round draft picks and a third round pick if the winger re-signs with the Blueshirts.

The 2011/2012 Rangers were not an exceptional team, rather they were a team that went on an exceptional run – much like the 1978/1979 Rangers did.

During the Summer of 1979, GM Fred Shero dealt away five players to acquire Barry Beck, who was supposed to be the missing piece of the puzzle. During the Summer of 2013, GM Glen Sather dealt away three players and a 2013 first round draft pick for Rick Nash, who was supposed to be the missing piece of the puzzle. While Beck’s impact is a closed book, Nash has only written the first chapter of his tale.

Much was written of how Tortorella’s team quit on him during the Boston series. Nice idea, makes for good articles, but is nowhere near the truth.

After watching the Bruins dismantle the Pittsburgh Penguins in four straight games, I think we can all say that we underestimated Boston and their ability to carry over the momentum from their comeback for the ages against the Toronto Maple Leafs.

Outside of Game 2, two of the Rangers losses were by one goal and Game 5 was a two-goal game because of an empty net goal. A break here and a power play goal there and it could be the Rangers facing the Chicago Blackhawks.

No, if the Rangers were going to quit on their coach, they had their chance in the Capitals series. Down three games to two and facing a seventh and deciding game on the road would have been the perfect time to fold up their tent. That was not the case. The Rangers responded with two shutout wins backstopped by Henrik Lundqvist – including their best game of the playoffs in the 5-0 elimination of the Capitals.
While GM Sandy Alderson was talking about the moribund New York Mets (yet another one of my teams), he could just as easily be speaking about the 2013/2013 New York Rangers.

“This is not a staff issue. This is a player issue.”

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