2009 NHL Draft

Once again a frustrating run to and through the playoffs has the left the New York Rangers with a mid-first round selection (19th overall) in the 2009 NHL Entry Draft in Montreal on June 26, 2009. While the Rangers traded their second round draft pick (50th overall) as part of the Nik Antropov deal, they do have a second round draft pick (47th overall) as compensation for the tragic loss of Alexei Cherepanov.

Glen Sather, Gordie Clark and the rest of the front office and scouts must concentrate their efforts, at least in the first couple of rounds, on trying to add speed and scoring punch – two qualities that are lacking in the organization. If all things fall just right for the Rangers, there might good value among forwards with offensive ability and speed in the first two rounds.

Before we look ahead at potential Rangers’ targets in the first round, let’s take a look at the team’s history with the 19th overall selection.

The Rangers have made the 19th overall selection three times in their history.

In 1968, the Blueshirts drafted defenseman Bruce Buchanan with the 19th overall pick – which was the final selection of the second round that year. Buchanan never played a game in the NHL and his post-Junior career highlight was being a part of the 1968-69 Clinton Comets who won the EHL’s regular season title. The 5-9/160 blueliner was the Rangers lone pick among 24 selections.

Back in 1968, the only players eligible for the Draft were those 17 and older who were not being sponsored by an NHL team. The next year, the NHL changed the eligibility requirements and opened the Draft up to any amateur player under the age of 20.

The Rangers next exercised the 19th overall selection in 1997 when they drafted RW Stefan Cherneski in the first round. Cherneski was one of three players from that draft to never play in the NHL. However, unlike Hugh Jessiman, Cherneski can’t be classified a bust because his professional career was derailed on November 13, 1998 when he suffered a fractured right patella while playing for the Hartford Wolf Pack. While he made a couple of attempts at a comeback, he finally retired in 2001. For comparison’s sake, the Dallas Stars drafted Brendan Morrow 25th overall.

In 2004, the Rangers drafted Lauri Korpikoski with their second selection of the first round (Al Montoya was drafted 6th overall). The next two picks were Travis Zajac (New Jersey) and Wojtek Wolski (Colorado). Washington drafted high scoring defenseman Mike Green 29th overall.

As we look to the first round of the 2009 Draft, the Rangers need to select a player who has to bring scoring, size, speed, or a combination of the three. The Blueshirts should also be looking at wingers rather than centers given the depth they have with Brandon Dubinsky, Artem Anisimov, Derek Stepan and Evgeny Grachev (who will eventually be moved to wing). As a result, I have targeted four players who bring the three “S” needs. Each player’s statistics include Games Played-Goals-Assists-Points-PIM.

CARTER ASHTON – LW – (6-3/205)
CS: # 12NA —– THN: # 20 —– McK: # 22
ISS: # 33 (Bill Guerin) —– RLR: # 22 (Dustin Penner)
TSN: # 20 (Bill Guerin)
2008/2009 – Lethbridge (WHL) – 70-30-20-50-93
ISS: “A great skater who can drive the net. Has a good scoring touch and a good shot. A prototypical power forward who has a nose for the net and does not shy away from the dirty work. He is a very strong skater that will go to the net hard. Is not scared to drop the gloves.” They also pointed out that he had a poor playoff run scoring a goal and 2 assists with a Minus-8 rating as he did struggle defensively.
McK: “Ashton is already a dominant force physically in front of the net in the WHL and possesses soft hands with a sniper’s touch in close. He scored a lot of his goals from cross-crease tap-ins or by bulling his way to the net looking for rebounds.”
RLR: “Tantalizing combination of a huge frame, good skating stride, and goal scoring hands. Is very tough to handle along the boards and in front. Wide balanced stride with good foot speed and agility, but lacks some first step and acceleration. At best when paired with a creative, playmaking centre. Doesn’t go looking for trouble, but when he drops the mitts [he] is a devastating fighter who throws with both hands.”

LANDON FERRARO – RW – (5-11/165)
CS: # 18NA—– THN: # 28—– McK: # 32
ISS: # 17 (Patrick Sharp) —– RLR: # 38 (Devin Setoguchi)
TSN: # 26 (Patrick Sharp)
ISS: “A pure goal scorer who can find the net. Has a great shot and release. Will also score garbage goals. A leader on a young team [named Red Deer’s MVP]; he displayed his positive influence on a nightly basis. He did battle with consistency, but effort was always there. Has quickness and is a tremendous skater, and strong defensively, as well as being an offensive threat. Played for Canada’s U-18 team.”
McK: “Ferraro is blessed with imagination and sports tremendously skilled hands. He is blessed with the patience and confidence of a goal scorer. Although he will need to add some weight, he showed signs of maturity physically as he doesn’t shy away from making or taking contact to make the play.
RLR: “Has the ability to score in a variety of ways – off the rush with a solo effort, near the circles with a one-timer, or jumping on rebounds in the crease. Excellent hockey sense allows him to be in the right place for goals. Did not play with as much grit and physical intensity this season.
2008/2009 Red Deer (WHL) – 68-37-18-55-90.

CHRIS KREIDER – LW/C – (6-2/201)
CS: # 14NA—– THN: # 24—– McK: # 31
ISS: # 24 (Eric Staal) —– RLR: # 27 (Jeff Carter)
TSN: # 19 (Alexander Mogilny)
ISS: “An excellent skater with explosive speed and acceleration. Despite playing in the New England Prep league, Kreider has still emerged as a bona fide first round pick. Great mix of size, strength and skill. Has very good offensive skills and can be dangerous one-on-one. He can be hard to play against down low when he plays physical. He’s not a big hitter, but he doesn’t shy away from contact. Tremendous upside and he should be a top player at higher levels.”
McK: His vision of the ice makes him a valuable playmaker as his passes are crisp and accurate. His shot is quick and accurate as he also possesses strong finishing abilities. Kreider’s top-end speed and acceleration are impressive, but underlined by his ability to handle the puck at top gear. He doesn’t finish with consistency and his defensive play needs work, but Kreider is a promising draft prospect with great speed and pure talent.
RLR: “Terrific natural athlete has all the tools to be special with fine size and strength, and fabulous skating ability. One of the top three pre skaters in the draft at any position. Very raw talent. Makes legitimate defensive effort, but understanding of game situations needs work.
2008/2009 – Andover High School (MA) – 26-33-23-56-10.

CS: # 33NA—– THN: # 21—– McK: # 37
ISS: # 27 (Zach Parise) —– RLR: # 15 (Dany Heatley)
TSN #: 31 (Ray Sheppard)
ISS: “A highly skilled goal scorer [who] has good offensive tools; great touch-very quick and soft hands. A dynamic goal scorer, few players have the one timing ability of Morin. [His] shot is deadly accurate and very hard. Morin is one of the best pure goal scorers available in the draft and could go early in the first round.
McK: “Morin is one of the most perplexing players in this year’s draft. A gifted and natural scorer with some of the softest hands in the draft, Morin sometimes will fall prey to a lack of passion while rumoured character flaws have also run rampant in the scouting community. Morin has average speed and an awkward skating stride, but is, surprisingly, quicker with the puck on his blade than without. Morin’s offensive abilities are among the best in this year’s draft class.
RLR: “If not for Tavares, he’d be the most coveted pure sniper in this draft. Deadly from the circles in with a lightning quick release on an accurate shot. Comes up with timely, important goals and wants the puck with the game on the line. Outstanding puck skills and terrific hands – both gives and receives passes very well. Will never be confused with a shutdown winger, but is a passable defensive player.
2008/2009 – USA U-18 (NTDP) – 46-26-22-48-99

Each of these players would bring much-needed offense on the wings for the goal scoring starved Rangers. The final decision comes down to individual preferences. If the 19th pick were mine to make, Carter Aston would be my first choice. Carter the son of former NHLer Brent Ashton, brings a combination of size, speed and scoring with the added bonus of Ashton being someone who can fight and fight well.

Putting the remaining players in order is difficult. Both Kreider (Boston College) and Morin (Kingston – OHL) are stepping up in competition so next season will go a long way to cementing their place in the NHL. Ferraro might be the closest to stepping into the Rangers lineup, but does lack the size you would want. Then again, the last time the Rangers passed on the son of a former Islander, they drafted Hugh Jessiman instead of Zach Parise.

I would place the remaining players in this order: Kreider, Morin and then Ferraro.

Add to Yahoo Add to Google Furl this Add to Spurl Save to Del.icio.us Digg IT! Live Bookmarks! Blogmarks

The coronation of John Tavares as hockey’s next big thing is set for June 26, 2009 in Montreal as the Canadiens 100th anniversary hits its zenith with the NHL’s 2009 Entry Draft. Now it is up to the New York Islanders to decide where Tavares begins his professional hockey career.

Often pegged as the odds-on favorite to be the first overall selection for the past few years, the draft landscape has shifted a bit as Swedish defenseman Victor Hedman finished the year as the number one prospect according to McKeen’s (McK) and Red Line Report (RLR). Tavares topped the rankings according to International Scouting Service (ISS), The Hockey News (THN) and the NHL’s Central Scouting (CS). In each service, either Hedman or Tavares finish first or second except for RLR where Tavares is ranked third with Matt Duchene rated second.

GM Garth Snow has a difficult decision to make. The Islanders’ selection comes down to more than just talent alone. With the franchise struggling to get a new building as part of the Lighthouse Project, there is pressure to select Tavares in order to help further that cause because of his “star potential”. Tavares would give the Islanders its version of Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin or Alexander Ovechkin.

Conversely, it might be in the Islanders best interest to draft Hedman as the shutdown defenseman Eastern Conference teams will need to battle the likes of Crosby et al.

Past Islanders history lends itself to the Islanders drafting Hedman. The Islanders have had the first overall selection three times in their history. The turning point in the Islanders franchise was in 1973 when they drafted future captain Denis Potvin – who far outpaced their previous first overall selections – Billy Harris (1972) and Rick DiPietro (2000).

With five picks over the first 56 selections (1st, 26th, 31st, 37th and 56th), the Islanders will go a long way in shaping the outcome of the 2009 Draft. Depending on who their selection is they could set into motion a multitude of trade proposals.

It is no secret that Toronto GM Brian Burke covets Tavares. Burke sees the youngster as the cornerstone piece in rebuilding the Maple Leafs. If the Islanders are leaning towards drafting Hedman, Snow needs to speak with Burke and Brian Lawton of Tampa Bay. If the Islanders play their cards right, they could use their excess of draft picks to highlight a three-way deal that could bring back a future round draft pick or two and prospects or veteran players.

The Islanders would move down to the second pick, Toronto would jump up to the first spot and Tampa Bay would move down to the seventh overall selection. Depending on the other pieces, the Islanders could give up their second first round pick this year in exchange for a 2010 first round draft pick in an attempt to position themselves to draft Taylor Hall.

Even if the Islanders don’t upset the apple cart and pull off a deal, you can expect Burke will still try hard to make a deal – even if Tavares is the first player off the board. You have to believe the Maple Leafs GM will look to move up in the draft to pair Brayden Schenn with his brother Luke in TO because odds are the younger Schenn will not be around for Toronto with the seventh overall pick.

While the 2009 Draft is deep, we might see a lot of movement as teams try to move up/down while securing additional draft picks or players. Prospect Insider Shane Malloy explained how deep the Draft is.

“This year’s crop is stronger than in the past, as there is a group of potential elite prospects in the Top 15,” Malloy wrote on TSN.ca. “The remaining 15 draft picks in the first round have array of good skills and teams may find first round-worthy talent in the early second round.”

Ryan Kennedy of THN has an interesting take on a new way to look at the Draft.

“[The] draft is the new trade deadline; names such as Vesa Toskala, Tomas Vokoun and Olli Jokinen have all been dealt during the event in recent years and there’s no reason to think that trend will end soon. Simply put, the draft allows a GM to get a jump-start on his summer several days before free agency opens July 1. Plus, all 30 teams are in the house at the same time, which makes for maximum wheeling and dealing.”

Each player has ratings for the following scouting services: NHL’s Central Scouting (CS), The Hockey News (THN), McKeen’s (McK), International Scouting Service (ISS), Red Line Report (RLR), and Bob McKenzie of TSN.ca (TSN). CS breaks down their ratings by North American skaters, European skaters, North American goaltenders and European goaltenders. ISS, RLR, and TSN all list a prospects’ comparable NHL player. The draft positions used are as of June 23, 2009 and presume that no trades will be made – even though we know better .

1. New York Islanders – John Tavares – C
CS: # 1NA —– THN: # 1—– McK: # 2
ISS: # 1 (Mike Bossy) —– RLR: # 3 (Brett Hull)
TSN: # 1 (Dale Hawerchuk)
If Garth Snow keeps the first pick, he will draft Tavares who gives the rebuilding team a face for the franchise – as well as an electric offensive star who will be counted upon to raise the level of play of the young Islanders.

2. Tampa Bay Lightning – Victor Hedman – D
CS: # 1E —– THN: # 2—– McK: # 1
ISS: # 3 (Jay Bouwmeester) —– RLR: # 1 (Chris Pronger)
TSN: # 2 (Jay Bouwmeester)
With Tavares going first overall, that leaves the Lightning with a great consolation prize. Franchise defensemen are and far between and Hedman gives Tampa Bay a great one-two punch of young stars along with Steven Stamkos.

3. Colorado Avalanche – Matt Duchene – C
CS: # 2NA —– THN: # 3—– McK: # 3
ISS: # 2 (Joe Sakic) —– RLR: # 2 (Joe Sakic)
TSN: # 3 (Steve Yzerman)
The Joe Sakic comparison makes Duchene a natural for the Avalanche. In any other year, Duchene would have been talked up even more as the first overall pick. In addition to playing the same style of play as Sakic, Duchene shares his leadership ability – as seen by his captaining of Canada’s Under-18 team.

4. Atlanta Thrashers – Evander Kane – C
CS: # 3NA —– THN: # 5—– McK: # 5
ISS: # 5 (Devin Setoguchi) —– RLR: # 5 (Tomas Vanek)
TSN: # 4 (Jarome Iginla)
The Thrashers must find a way to keep Ilya Kovalchuk, who is set to be an UFA after next season. Drafting Kane provides the star winger with a potential potent linemate. In addition to having the skills of a finesse player, Kane does the dirty work needed to produce offense.

5. Los Angeles Kings – Brayden Schenn – C
CS: # 4NA —– THN: # 6—– McK: # 6
ISS: # 6 (Doug Gilmour) —– RLR: # 4 (M. Richards/R. Brind’Amour)
TSN: # 5 (Bryan Trottier)
The Kings put an end to Brian Burke’s hope of uniting the Schenn brothers in the NHL. Schenn provides the Kings with a gifted two-way center that will give LA a potent one-two punch at center with Anze Kopitar.

6. Phoenix Coyotes – Oliver Ekman-Larsson
CS: # 4E —– THN: # 13—– McK: # 4
ISS: # 9 (Tomas Kaberle —– RLR: # 7 (Nicklas Lidstrom)
TSN: # 6 (Scott Niedermayer)
The Coyotes are still a team in flux until their ownership problems are settled. Don Maloney could long and hard at Jared Cowen, but Ekman-Larsson’s offensive game will win the day.

7. Toronto Maple Leafs – Jared Cowen – D
CS: # 9NA —– THN: # 4—– McK: # 8
ISS: # 7 (Chris Pronger) —– RLR: # 8 (Braydon Coburn)
TSN: # 7 (Brayden Coburn)
With Tavares and Schenn out of the picture, the Leafs can draft Cowen to build up their blue line. Cowen might have gone even higher, but there are some concerns over a knee injury that limited him to just 48 games. If Toronto goes with a defenseman, look for Burke to bring in the Sedin twins.

8. Dallas Stars – Magnus Svensson-Paarjarvi – LW
CS: # 2E —– THN: # 7—– McK: # 10
ISS: # 4 (Alexander Mogilny) —– RLR: # 6 (Marian Gaborik)
TSN: # 10 (Mike Gartner)
The Stars could use an offensive d-man to eventually replace Sergei Zubov. However, the speedy scoring LW is too much to pass up. Magnus has shown that he can play up to his competition with his fine play in the past two WJC tournaments and his play in the Swedish Elite League.

9. Ottawa Senators – Dmitri Kulikov – D
CS: # 11NA—– THN: # 11—– McK: # 7
ISS: # 10 (Niklas Kronwall) —– RLR: # 9 (Andrei Markov)
TSN: # 9 (Sergei Gonchar)
The Senators are in an unsettled position given Dany Heatley’s request for a trade. Depending on how that situation plays out, Ottawa could trade this pick in a deal or look to replace Heatley through the Draft. If Ekman-Larsson falls to this spot, the Sens will snap him up. If not, Kulikov is a good choice as the Russian blueliner has a year in the QMJHL under his belt.

10. Edmonton Oilers – Nazem Kadri – C
CS: # 15NA—– THN: # 8—– McK: # 9
ISS: # 8 (Kyle Turris) —– RLR: # 17 (Maxim Afinogenov)
TSN: 8 (Andy McDonald)
It is not out of the realm of possibility that the new GM Steve Tambellini drafts a d-man. However, the Oilers have been linked as a possible landing place for Heatley. Faced with the possibility of having to move some of their young forward talent, the Oilers draft Kadri who projects out as a top-six forward who has speed and plays with a chip on his shoulder.

11. Nashville Predators – Jordan Schroeder -RW
CS: # 5NA —– THN: # 9—– McK: # 13
ISS: # 14 (Paul Kariya) —– RLR: # 11 (Daniel Briere)
TSN: # 15 (Steve Yzerman)
If the 5-9 Schroeder were a little bigger, he would have had a great chance at breaking into the top three of the Draft. However, he is a pure goal scorer who will team up with fellow USA WJC teammate Colin Wilson and some bite to the Predators offense.

12. Minnesota Wild – Scott Glennie – RW
CS: # 7NA —– THN: # 14—– McK: # 14
ISS: # 19 (Peter Mueller) —– RLR: # 18 (Patrick Sharp)
TSN: # 11 (Jeff Carter)
The Wild just miss out on selecting the homegrown Schroeder, but Glennie is a fine consolation prize. Glennie’s offense is keyed by his outstanding speed and his goal scoring ability is supplemented by solid ice vision and hockey sense.

13. Buffalo Sabres – Zack Kassian – RW
CS: # 10NA—– THN: # 16—– McK: # 18
ISS: # 20 (Milan Lucic) —– RLR: # 16 (Poor Man’s T. Bertuzzi/B. Shanahan)
TSN: # 14 (Todd Bertuzzi)
The Sabres might be tempted for the goal scoring ability of local boy Jeremy Morin, but the offense and physical package of the 6-3/210 Kassian is too much to pass up. Kassian plays in all situations and is a powerful skater. ISS believes he is “the most physically ready player in this draft to play at higher levels.”

14. Florida Panthers – John Moore – D
CS: # 6NA —– THN: # 18—– McK: # 12
ISS: # 16 (Joe Corvo) —– RLR: # 21 (Ryan Suter)
TSN: # 13 (Ryan Suter)
With Jay Bouwmeester having one skate out the door, the Panthers need to address the hole he leaves. Enter John Moore. The USHL Defenseman of the year combines the size (6-2/189 and growing), skating and speed that a team wants in a top-notch d-man. His physical game is sure to improve as he matures mentally and physically.

15. Anaheim Ducks – Ryan Ellis – D
CS: # 16NA —– THN: # 17—– McK: # 11
ISS: # 13 (Brian Rafalski) —– RLR: # 13 (Sergei Zubov)
TSN: # 12 (Reijo Ruotsalainen)
With Scott Niedermayer’s future uncertain, the Ducks might want to address his possible loss with one of, if not the best, offensive blueliners in the draft. While his size (5-9/173) is a concern, he is a premier PP quarterback thanks to passing ability and big-time shot from the point that he unleashes with a quick release.

16. Columbus Blue Jackets – David Rundblad – D
CS: # 6E —– THN: # 10—– McK: # 23
ISS: # 22 (Mike Green) —– RLR: # 12 (Mike Green or Lars Jonsson)
TSN: # 21 (Mike Green)
Rundblad is a high-risk/high-reward type of player. His offensive game can’t be questioned, but he is still a work in progress as for as the defensive end game goes. However, he was able to compete in the Swedish Elite League at the age of 18 and is worth the risk for a team that needs an offensive leader on defense.

17. St. Louis Blues – Jacob Josefson – C
CS: # 3E —– THN: # 15—– McK: # 16
ISS: # 11 (Daymond Langkow) —– RLR: # 32 (Patrice Bergeron)
TSN: #: 16 (Henrik Zetterberg)
The Blue have done a fine job during the last couple of years in the Draft. Josefson brings a solid two-way game that is powered by his excellent hockey sense. Jacob is more playmaker than scorer, and is another 18-year-old who played in the Swedish Elite League and has the tools to thrive in the NHL.

18. Montreal Canadiens – Chris Kreider C/LW
CS: # 14NA—– THN: # 24—– McK: # 31
ISS: # 24 (Eric Staal) —– RLR: # 27 (Poor Man’s Jeff Carter)
TSN: # 19 (Alexander Mogilny)
The hometown team in the 2009 Draft will be under a lot of pressure to draft a Quebec province native (Louis LeBlanc). However, the Flying Frenchmen have a history of drafting American-born players. While Kreider is not Quebecois, he very well may be the best skater in the Draft. While he is still a work in progress, Kreider is a great blend of skating, size and skill.

19. New York Rangers – Carter Ashton – LW
CS: # 12NA —– THN: # 20 —– McK: # 22
ISS: # 33 (Bill Guerin) —– RLR: # 22 (Dustin Penner)
TSN: # 20 (Bill Guerin)
The tragic death of Alexei Cherepanov left the Rangers short on scoring among the forward prospects. As a result, they need to concentrate on offense – especially in the first couple of rounds. The Rangers should look long and hard at Landon Ferraro lest they repeat their mistake of passing on Zach Parise for Hugh Jessiman. However, Ashton size (6-4/212), skating and scoring ability make him the pick over Ferraro. He also has the ability to drop the gloves when need be. Carter’s father, Brent, is a former NHL player.

20. Calgary Flames – Louis Leblanc – C
CS: # 13NA —– THN: # 29 —– McK: # 15
ISS: # 12 (Mike Richards) —– RLR: # 10 (Derek Roy)
TSN: # 17 (Mike Richards)
Calgary is another team that appears to be in the mix for Dany Heatley. If they keep the pick, LeBlanc is a fiery, two-way player who was voted the USHL’s Rookie of the Year and will play next year at Harvard. At 6-0/178, he still has to mature physically, but he still plays with an edge and competes hard every night.
LeBlanc got better as the season progressed, which is always a positive sign – especially for a rookie.

21. Philadelphia Flyers – Simon Despres – D
CS: # 8NA —– THN: # 12—– McK: # 19
ISS: # 30 (Nigel Williams) —– RLR: # 33 (Brent Seabrook)
TSN: # 18 (Jay Bouwmeester)
Often teams like to draft players who “do more with less”. Unfortunately for Despres, he is a player who “does less with more”. Simon is a talented two-way d-man who was stuck playing for a poor Saint John (QMJHL) team. He has all of the skill sets to succeed and showed them off at the Ivan Hlinka Memorial Tournament this summer. McK scout Rick Springhetti said, “I feel that if a team really wants, but can’t get Hedman, they would do well taking Despres….”

22. Vancouver Canucks – Landon Ferraro – RW
CS: # 18NA —– THN: # 28 —– McK: # 32
ISS: # 17 (Patrick Sharp) —– RLR: # 38 (Devin Setoguchi)
TSN: # 26 (Patrick Sharp)
Facing a possible future without the Sedin twins, the Canucks will look to replenish their stock in offensive forwards. That is where the son of former NHLer Ray Ferraro skates in. Ferraro is a natural goal scorer who uses his speed well and projects out to be a top six forward. Landon nearly tripled his goal output (13 to 37) last season. If the Rangers do draft Ferraro, then Vancouver would scoop up Ashton – if the Flyers don’t.

23. New Jersey Devils – Joonas Nattinen – C
CS: # 10E —– THN: # 36 —– McK: # 59
ISS: # 28 (Jordan Staal) —– RLR: # 31 (Bobby Holik/Jordan Staal)
TSN: # 36 (Jordan Staal)
Given the high powered centers playing in the Atlantic Division, Nattinen is a natural selection for Lou Lamoriello and David Conte. Joonas is a hard-nosed two-way center with an excellent sense for the game. Nattinen is very comfortable playing a physical game and does not mind driving to the net. He was most impressive at the WJC, winning 63% of his faceoffs.

24. Washington Capitals – Peter Holland – C/LW
CS: # 19NA —– THN: # 19 —– McK: # 25
ISS: # 15 (Chris Gratton) —– RLR: # 24 (Kristian Huselius)
TSN: # 24 (Patrick Marleau)
The Capitals could go offense or defense with their first round pick. Holland represents the opportunity to surround Alexander Ovechkin with another weapon up front. He plays in all situations for Guelph (OHL) and has been used at the point on the PP at times. He can play center or the wing, but he needs to use his size (6-2/185) more than he does.

25. Boston Bruins – Dylan Olsen – D
CS: # 27NA —– THN: # 41—– McK: # 17
ISS: # 39 (Brent Seabrook) —– RLR: # 28 (Mark Stuart)
TSN: # 32 (Cam Barker)
The Bruins have some free agent decisions to make and face some salary cap implications in regards to Phil Kessel, so they might be tempted to draft a forward. However, Olsen presents a package that is too tempting to pass up. He has size (6-2/205) and strength to be a top four blueliner. While he will not remind anyone of Bobby Orr when it comes to moving the puck, he has a good shot and sees the ice well and contributes on the PP. He was the only Junior A player on Canada’s WJC team and was a first pair d-man with Calvin de Haan.

26. New York Islanders – Nick Leddy – D
CS: # 24NA —– THN: # 25 —– McK: # 24
ISS: # 21 (Alex Goligoski) —– RLR: # 19(Phil Housely/Kris Letang)
TSN: # 29 (Paul Martin)
The Islanders would be very happy to see Olen fall to them at 26. If he doesn’t, they will still draft a d-man, but will go more for the offensive than defensive. Leddy has game changing ability thanks to his outstanding skating, puck handling and ice vision. Voted “Mr. Hockey” as the top senior player in Minnesota, Leddy would have gone higher in the draft if not for his size (5-11/179) and strength – two things that will improve with time.

27. Carolina Hurricanes – Drew Shore – C
CS: # 28NA —– THN: # 23 —– McK: # 20
ISS: # 18 (Rod Brind’Amour) —– RLR: # 65(R.J. Umberger)
TSN: # 30 (Ryan Kesler)
With Rod Brind’Amour playing such a big part for Carolina in the past eight plus seasons, the Hurricanes would love to add a younger model to their organization. Shore is another one of those solid two-way pivots. He bases his game on strong skating ability, smart use of his size (6-2/190) and solid playmaking ability. Shore, who will play Denver University, next year, is a potential top six forward who will play in all situations.

28. Chicago Blackhawks – Jeremy Morin – LW
CS: # 33NA —– THN: # 21 —– McK: # 37
ISS: # 27 (Zach Parise) —– RLR: # 15(Dany Heatley)
TSN: # 31 (Ray Sheppard)
Chicago is another team who has been connected to Dany Heatley. Whether they get involved or not, the offensive ability Morin brings to the table is too hard for Chicago to pass on. His performance in helping the USA win the U-18 championship (6 goals and 4 assists in 7 games) is indicative of what kind of talent Jeremy has. Other players may be better skaters, but few have the shot and offensive ability that Morin unleashes.

29. Detroit Red Wings – Carl Klingberg – LW
CS: # 7E —– THN: # 37 —– McK: # 27
ISS: # 32 (Ryan Getzlaf) —– RLR: # 44 (Mike Fisher)
TSN: 34 (Kirk Maltby)
Ken Holland Jim Nill have become quite adept at retooling the Red wings despite having the best draft positions. Klingberg is the type of player the Red Wings have brought in over the years. He has imposing size (6-3/205), strong skating ability and an ability to play an NHL-style of game prior to coming to North America. Carl played on the same lines as Magnus Svensson-Paarjavi and Jacob Josefson at the U-18 tournament and did more than just hold his own.

30. Pittsburgh Penguins – Jordan Caron – RW/C
CS: # 21NA —– THN: # 33 —– McK: # 21
ISS: # 25 (Jason Arnott) —– RLR: # 30(Wojtech Wolski)
TSN: # 22 (Steve Bernier)
The Penguins have some cap issues to face during the summer – as do most teams. With some age and salary questions among their forwards, Ray Shero should look to add some complimentary players for Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin. Caron brings a solid mix of size (6-2/202) and offensive ability and projects out as a power forward in the NHL. He was one Rimouski’s best players during the playoffs this season.

Add to Yahoo Add to Google Furl this Add to Spurl Save to Del.icio.us Digg IT! Live Bookmarks! Blogmarks

Each player has ratings for the following scouting services: NHL’s Central Scouting (CS), The Hockey News (THN), McKeen’s (McK), International Scouting Service (ISS), Red Line Report (RLR), and Bob McKenzie of TSN.ca (TSN). CS breaks down their ratings by North American skaters, European skaters, North American goaltenders and European goaltenders. ISS, RLR, and TSN all list a prospects’ comparable NHL player. The draft positions used are as of June 23, 2009.

31. New York Islanders – Toni Rajala – LW
CS: #:11E —– THN: # 49 —– McK: 45
ISS: # 31 (Martin St. Louis) —– RLR: # 34(Martin Straka)
TSN: # 56 (Sami Kapanen)
Rajala’s goal scoring exploits do not come from a Bobby Hull-like shot. Rather, he it comes from his excellent puck skills, hockey sense and shooting accuracy. He broke Alexander Ovechkin’s scoring record with 19 points in the U-18 tournament.

32. Tampa Bay Lightning – Kyle Palmieri – C
CS: # 20NA —– THN: # 26 —– McK: 42
ISS: # 23 (Brian Gionta) —– RLR: # 26 (Tuomo Ruutu)
TSN: # 25 (Chris Drury)
Palmieri is a team player who plays much bigger than his size (5-10/191). He plays a gritty style of hockey and is not afraid to play in traffic and is a strong two-way center.

33. Colorado Avalanche – Calvin de Haan – D
CS: # 25NA —– THN: # 22 —– McK: 28
ISS: # 36 (Brian Campbell) —– RLR: # 20 (Tomas Kaberle)
TSN: # 23 (Tomas Kaberle)
Calvin is a solid puck-moving defenseman who plays an intelligent game and showed this season that he can thrive when given extra ice time. Once he adds some muscle to his wiry frame (6-0/170), de Haan has the chance to become a solid all-around d-man.

34. Atlanta Thrashers – Chris Brown – LW
CS: # 30NA —– THN: # 61 —– McK: # 40
ISS: # 34 (Taylor Pyatt) —– RLR: # 101 (Anthony Stewart)
TSN: # 39 (Jamie Langenbrunner)
Brown’s combination of size (6-2/191) and very good skating ability sets him up to be a power forward in the NHL – which will be an excellent addition to Ilya Kovalchuk and Evander Kane. Brown is also very responsible in his own as well, doing the little things to help defend.

35. Los Angeles Kings – Zach Budish – RW/C
CS: # 22NA —– THN: # 44 —– McK: 50
ISS: # 51 (Keith Tkachuk) —– RLR: # 29(Ryan Getzlaf)
TSN: # 42 (David Backes)
The Kings could look to add to their defense corps, but it is worth their while to reach a bit on Budish. He is former first round projection who suffered an ACL injury while playing football in high school. The injury hurt his draft position, but he is expected to be ready to play at the University of Minnesota. His size (6-4/230), heavy shot and all-around game could make Budish one of the steals of the draft – if he lasts into the second round.

36. Phoenix Coyotes – Tim Erixon – D
CS: # 5E —– THN: # 32 —– McK: 30
ISS: # 55 (Kenny Jonsson) —– RLR: # 23 (Ron Hainsey)
TSN: # 28 (Mattias Ohlund)
The solid two-way defenseman is the son of former Ranger Jan Erixon. While there isn’t any one part of his game that stands out, he is solid in all aspects of the game – as seen by his playing in the Swedish Elite League at the age of 18.

37. New York Islanders – Robin Lehner – G
CS: # 1E Goalie—– THN: # 52 —– McK: 57
ISS: # 6 Goalie (Not Available) —– RLR: # 69 (Mathieu Garon)
TSN: 47 (Henrik Lundqvist)
With Rick DiPietro a perennial injury waiting to happen, GM Garth Snow needs to address his goaltending situation. Lehner draws comparisons to fellow Swedish netminder Henrik Lundqvist. However at 6-3/220, Lehner is bigger than The King and is more willing to cut down the angles and challenges shooters with his butterfly style.

38. Dallas Stars – Dmitry Orlov – D
CS: # 9E —– THN: # 55 —– McK: 33
ISS: # 29 (Dan Hamhuis) —– RLR: # 61 (Patrice Brisebois)
TSN: # 44 (Trevor Daley)
With Sergei Zubov nearing the end of his career, the Stars look to fellow Russian Orlov as a replacement. Dmitry is an offensive d-man who likes to rush the puck as well as join the rush late. While he still needs to polish up his game in the defensive end, Orlov will contribute immediately on the PP because of his shot and hockey sense.

39. Ottawa Senators – Richard Panik – RW
CS: # 13E —– THN: # 31 —– McK: 54
ISS: # 35 (Marian Hossa or P. Stefan) —– RLR: # 60 (M. Hossa or L. Kasper)
TSN: # 38 (Marian Hossa)
As you can see, both ISS and RLR believe Panik can be a boom or bust type player. While his play is inconsistent, he does have the offensive package (scoring touch, puck handling and speed) and size (6-2/202) to be an impact player. He has all the tools, now he needs to find a box to put them in.

40. Edmonton Oilers – Charles-Oliver Roussel – D
CS: # 36NA —– THN: # 35 —– McK: 53
ISS: # 42 (Wade Redden) —– RLR: # 14 (Brad Stuart)
TSN: # 37 (Kris Letang)
Roussel is a solid two-way blueliner who kicked his game up a notch during the post-season. He plays a well-rounded game, and while he doesn’t have one calling card aspect to his game, he does not have any major weaknesses either.

41. Nashville Predators – Ethan Werek – C
CS: # 32NA —– THN: # 34 —– McK: 38
ISS: # 26 (Gary Roberts) —– RLR: # 46 (Nik Antropov)
TSN: # 41 (Alexi Ponikarovsky)
Werek originally wanted to go the NCAA route, but decided to play in the OHL with Kingston. He is the hard-nosed type of player every team wants. He will do the dirty work needed in front of the net to score. Werek made Canada’s 2008 World Junior A Challenge team and their 2009 U-18 team.

42. Nashville Predators – Stefan Elliott – D
CS: # 17NA —– THN: # 27 —– McK: 39
ISS: # 38 (Sergei Gonchar) —– RLR: # 41 (Paul Martin)
TSN: # 35 (Tom Gilbert)
With the back end of their back-to-back picks, Nashville drafts Elliott with an eye towards his offensive contributions. His puck-handling and passing skills make him a valuable weapon on the PP. Elliott likes to join the rush and will work deep in the offensive zone. He is still a work in progress in the defensive zone and he needs to be more physical.

43. San Jose Sharks – Ryan O’Reilly – C
CS: # 39NA —– THN: # 39 —– McK: 26
ISS: # 50 (Shawn Horcoff) —– RLR: # 39 (Sammy Pahlsson)
TSN: # 27 (Maxime Talbot)
The Sharks continue to misfire in the playoffs as the team is just missing that something extra. This is where O’Reilly can fit in. He has excellent hockey sense and is a team leader who very well may be a captain in the NHL. He is solid in his own end, and is one of the best penalty killers and faceoff men in the OHL. His offensive game in the NHL will be more as a playmaker than goal scorer.

44. Florida Panthers – Josh Birkholz – RW/C
CS: # 43NA —– THN: # 57 —– McK: 67
ISS: # 37 (Matt Cullen) —– RLR: # 97 (Torrey Mitchell)
TSN: # 52 (Dan Hinote)
The soon-to-be University of Minnesota freshman is a strong two-way forward who has good quickness and speed. Josh will use his speed to beat defenders wide as he cuts to the net. Birkholz has good size (6-1/182), but he needs to use it more as part of an overall need to be consistently more consistent.

45. Atlanta Thrashers – Brayden McNabb – D
CS: # 51 NA —– THN: # 54 —– McK: 60
ISS: # 43 (Hal Gill) —– RLR: # 66 (Matt Walker)
TSN: # 54 (Sean O’Donnell)
GM Donnie Waddell has the chance to make up for his mistake for trading Brayden Coburn for Alexei Zhitnik. The 6-4/200 McNab is a stay-at-home defenseman who does have the ability to move the puck and see the ice. McNabb plays a physical game, but doesn’t run around to throw hits. He does need to work on defensive positioning because speedy forwards can beat him wide.

46. Ottawa Senators – Edward Pasquale – G
CS: # 3NA Goalie —– THN: # 40 —– McK: 80
ISS: # 1 Goalie (Not Available) —– RLR: # 98 (Dany Sabourin)
TSN: Honorable Mention (Not Available)
Despite the acquisition of Pascal Leclaire and the development Brian Elliott, the Sens still need to address the position. Pasquale has good size (6-3/218) and athletic ability. When he is on his game, he will let the puck come to him rather than trying fight off shots. He is still needs to work on his consistency and stickhandling.

47. New York Rangers – Alex Chiasson – RW
CS: # 34NA —– THN: # 76 —– McK: 47
ISS: # 85 (Not Available) —– RLR: # 67 (Jochen Hecht)
TSN: 46 (Colby Armstrong)
At 6-3/187, Chiasson has the size to be your prototypical power forward. While he needs to work on his skating, Chiasson is a hard worker who goes to the net and does all of the little things you want from a physical forward – including being a strong forechecker. Chiasson will jump from the USHL to Boston University. McK scout Kevin Wey said he has “the most upside of any USHL prospect in the 2009 Draft.”

48. St. Louis Blues – Tomas Vincour – RW
CS: # 42NA —– THN: # 63 —– McK: 98
ISS: # 49 (Nik Antropov) —– RLR: # 83 (Tomas Kopecky)
TSN: # Not Rated (Not Available)
Vincour is still a work in progress, but he is a strong mix of skill and size (6-2/203) and is a hard worker. The Czech native has spent the last two seasons playing in the WHL and is ahead of most European born players when it comes to adapting to North American hockey. He is at his best on offense when he uses his hands and his hockey sense below the faceoff dots.

49. Colorado Avalanche – Olivier Roy – G
CS: # 2NA Goalie —– THN: # 38 —– McK: 68
ISS: # 2 Goalie (Not Available) —– RLR: # 56 (Manny Legace)
TSN: # Honorable mention (Marc-Andre Fleury)
New GM Greg Sherman will look to another Roy (no relation to former Colorado goalie Patrick Roy) to solidify their goaltending position. Roy is looking to follow fellow Cape Breton netminders Marc-Andre Fleury and Ondrej Pavelec. Roy is a butterfly goalie who plays up at the top of the crease.

50. Toronto Maple Leafs – Cody Eakin – C
CS: # 29NA —– THN: # 64 —– McK: 46
ISS: # 46 (Darcy Tucker) —– RLR: # 49 (Mike Comrie)
TSN: # 53 (Darren Helm)
Eakin’s history of injuries probably cost him a shot at the first round (including two concussions). With that said, he is big-time goal scorer whose offense is fed by his speed, quickness and good hockey sense. At 5-11/176, he can’t afford to be overly physical, but he is aggressive and is an effective forechecker.

51. Carolina Hurricanes – Mac Bennett – D
CS: # 40NA —– THN: # N/R in Top 100 —– McK: 52
ISS: # 64 (Not Available) —– RLR: # 73 (Tobias Enstrom)
TSN: # 56 (petr Svoboda)
Bennett is a bit of project because he made a verbal commitment to the University of Michigan for 2010-11. An injury cost him some time this season (as well as scouting exposure), but he is a solid two-way d-man who is a tremendous skater – so much so that ISS says it is reminds them of Paul Coffey.

52. Tampa Bay Lightning – Matthew Hackett – G
CS: # 1NA Goalie —– THN: # Not Rated in Top 100 —– McK: 55
ISS: # 3 Goalie (Not Available) —– RLR: # 174 (Not Available)
TSN: # 43 (Mike Smith)
The Lightning’s goaltending situation is still up in the air so it would be worth it for Brian Lawton to draft the nephew of former NHLer Jeff Hackett. There a lot of GMs who regret passing on the 6-2/170 goalie in last year’s Draft. Hackett’s play during the season forced Plymouth (OHL) to trade Jeremy Smith – a former second round draft pick of the Nashville Predators. Hackett plays his angles well, which allows him to use his size to his advantage.

53. Vancouver Canucks – Tomas Tatar – C
CS: # 14E —– THN: # 51 —– McK: 35
ISS: # 41 (Ales Hemsky) —– RLR: # 35 (Jiri Hudler)
TSN: # 49 (Sergei Samsonov)
Replacing the Sedins continues in to the second round as Vancouver drafts Tatar. The 5-11/176 center is a potential top six forward based on scoring ability, skating and strong puck-handling skills. Tatar saved his best for big games as his 7 goals helped led Slovakia to the semi-finals in the World Juniors and he scored 5 goals in 13 games in Slovak Extraleague play.

54. New Jersey Devils – Jean-Francois Berube – G
CS: # 10NA Goalie —– THN: # 43 —– McK: 109
ISS: # 11 Goalie (Not Available) —– RLR: # 45 (Martin Biron)
TSN: # Honorable Mention (Not Available)
Martin Brodeur’s injury showed that the Devils need to start thinking about life after Brodeur. New Jersey has not had much luck in drafting a successor (see Ari Ahonen). Berube is a bit of a wildcard because he has been stuck behind Jake Allen in Montreal (QMJHL). Berube will be the main benefactor of Steve Mason’s super rookie season because Mason only played 6 games in his draft year. When he is on his game, Berube’s positioning is solid and het lets the puck come to him rather than fighting the puck.

55. Washington Capitals – Eric Gelinas – D
CS: # 38 NA —– THN: # 46 —– McK: 36
ISS: # 82 (Not Available) —– RLR: # 25 (Cam Barker)
TSN: # Honorable mention (Not Available)
Gelinas is an attractive prospect because of his size (6-3/185) and strong skating skills. He is more of an offensive defenseman at this point in his career and is valuable player on the PP. He is still a work in progress in his own end, but he does use his long reach well. One concern is that he only had 2 goals and 4 assists in his final 23 games last season.

56. New York Islanders – Kenny Ryan – RW
CS: # 56NA —– THN: # 66 —– McK: 29
ISS: # 59 (Brooks Laich) —– RLR: # 47 (Andrew Ladd)
TSN: # Honorable Mention (Not Available)
The Isles continue stocking up their organization with the selection of the solid two-way RW. Ryan, who will be attending Boston College, is a very good skater who has speed to beat defenders wide. He uses those assets to be a solid forechecker who has the ability to get back and help out in the defensive zone.

57. San Jose Sharks – Anton Lander – LW
CS: # 19E —– THN: # 50 —– McK: 75
ISS: # 47 (Mikko Koivu) —– RLR: # 64 (Niklas Sundstrom)
TSN: # Honorable Mention (Not Available)
Muck like Ryan O’Reilly, Anton Lander is a hard worker who features very good leadership abilities who plays hard until the final whistle. He has some scoring ability, but he is more of a passer than scorer. His skating and hockey sense make him an effective forechecker and solid contributor on defense.

58. Toronto Maple Leafs – Scott Stajcer – G
CS: # 5NA Goalie —– THN: # N/R in Top 100 —– McK: 34
ISS: # 4 Goalie (Not Available) —– RLR: # 115 (Not Available)
TSN: # Scott Stajcer (Not Available)
While Swedish free agent goalie Jonas Gustavsson is on the Leafs radar, Brian Burke should look to give new goalie coach Francois Allaire another toy to play with. Stajcer has good size (6-2/180) and switches between a stand-up and butterfly style of play. He is a solid athlete who has to pay attention to letting the puck come to him rather than doing too much to fight off the puck.

59. Chicago Blackhawks – Alex Hutchings – RW
CS: # 44NA —– THN: # 48 —– McK: 74
ISS: # 61 (Not Available) —– RLR: # 43 (Chris Kunitz)
TSN: # 58 (Chuck Kobasew)
His speed, skill and hockey sense make up for his lack of size (5-10/173). Despite his slight stature, Hutchings will go into the corners and play in traffic thanks to his skating skills. He has the ability to play in all situations, including both special teams.

60. Detroit Red Wings – Philippe Paradis – LW/C
CS: # 26NA —– THN: # 60 —– McK: 48
ISS: # 88 (Not Available) —– RLR: # 40 (Matt Stajan)
TSN: # 40 (Max Pacioretty)
Paradis uses his size (6-1/196) to be a grinding player who is developing a solid all-around game – after starting in Shawinigan as an offensive player. Paradis has developed into a forward who plays in all situations – including PP and PK. RLR says he is “capable of being a ‘Gordie Howe hat trick’ guy”.

61. Pittsburgh Penguins – Taylor Beck – LW
CS: # 67NA —– THN: # 48 —– McK: 66
ISS: # 53 (Scott Hartnell) —– RLR: # 130 (Not Available)
TSN: # Honorable Mention (Not Available)
Beck is a perfect complimentary player for a team that has the offensive talent the Penguins have. The 6-1/205 Beck isn’t fleet of foot, but he makes up for it with very good puck-handling ability. A McK scout compares Beck’s style to that of Milan Lucic and they believe he will be a better NHL player than junior player.

Add to Yahoo Add to Google Furl this Add to Spurl Save to Del.icio.us Digg IT! Live Bookmarks! Blogmarks

The New York Rangers traded their own 2nd round draft pick (50th overall) to the Toronto Maple Leafs as part of the Nik Antropov deal. The Blueshirts received a compensatory second round draft pick due to the death of Alexei Cherepanov. Since Cherepanov was the 17th selection in the first round, the Rangers receive the 17th selection in the 2ns round (47th overall). The Rangers would be best advised to continue to restock their forward corps and try to find some scoring value in the second round.

Jimmy Bubnick – RW – (6-2/194)
CS: # 55NA —– THN: # 68 —– McK: # 85
ISS: # 86 (Not Available) —– RLR: # 51 (Michael Ryder or Trent Hunter)
ISS: “Bubnick has great offensive vision and natural scoring ability. His skating ability is not pretty, but he does get to where he needs to be. His big question is his grit and willingness to pay the price at times. Did battle the inconsistency bug. With adding a physical dimension, he will create more room and put up better numbers.
McK: “Bubnick was one of the most highly-touted prospects coming out of bantam after playing on a line with Brayden Schenn and carter Ashton. His time in Kamloops has been frustrating due to very inconsistent play. He has a goal scorer’s instincts and will attack the net with his stick ready for a pass.
RLR: “Has the body and strength to be effective physically down low, but changed to a more finesse style this season. Has a very quick release and accurate touch. Needs to put together the finesse skills from this season with the grinding style from last season.
2008/2009 – Kamloops (WHL) – 72-25-32-57-41

Anton Burdasov– RW – (6-3/202)
CS: # 20E —– THN: # 56 —– McK: # 118
ISS: # 48 (Erik Cole) —– RLR: # 70 (Ryan Malone)
ISS: “Good hands and vision with the puck. Powerful and quick skater. Burdasov is very strong on [the] puck and once he gets his feet moving he scares opposing defenders with his great blend of speed and intensity with the puck. The biggest knock on Burdasov is that he follows the team, if the team is playing bad, so does Burdasov and if the team is playing well so is Burdasov.
McK: No scouting report available.
RLR: “Bit of an enigma with all the physical tools to become a good one, but we expected more. Big winger has great size and is a smooth skater with fine physical tools. Good puck skills and controls the puck well down low with long reach. Shows fine touch around net, where he can bury his chances. Initiates contact, finishes checks, and competes for loose pucks along the boards. However, he’s inconsistent and effort level can be spotty.
2008/2009 – Traktor Chelyabinsk 2 (Russia) – Statistics not available.

Alex Chiasson – RW – (6-4/187)
CS: # 34NA —– THN: # 76 —– McK: 47
ISS: # 85 (Not Available) —– RLR: # 67 (Jochen Hecht)
ISS: “Chiasson has all of the tools to become a productive prototypical power forward. He will accumulate points through hard work, crashing the net and paying the price. A very good skater for his size who can finish with flash or grit.
McK: Chiasson embodies all the attributes of a prototypical power forward. A feared checker with strength to run through his opposition, Chiasson often took the frustration of a losing season out on opposing defencemen. He uses his speed on the forecheck and is becoming a nightmare for defencemen as he finishes his checks with considerable force. Chiasson is committed to Boston University [and has] the most upside of any USHL prospect forward in the 2009 Draft.”
RLR: “Huge winger with fine offensive tools. Still shows some inconsistency in his game, but has improved in a lot of departments since his prep season last year. “Has good knack around the net and will outmuscle defenders for space around the crease. Good puckhandler with exceptionally long reach – uses his body to shield the puck. Not the quickest skater in terms of lateral movement and change of direction, but effort and straight line power are there.
2008/2009 Des Moines (USHL) – 56-17-33-50-101

Jerry D’Amigo – RW – (5-11/196)
CS: # 67NA —– THN: # Not Rated in Top 100 —– McK: # 84
ISS: # 40 (T.J. Oshie) —– RLR: # 36 (Alex Burrows)
ISS: “he has great speed and great offensive anticipation and wins most races for pucks. With his scoring touch, he will be a top-two-line player with his skill. His outstanding play in the International scene coupled with the fact he kept elevating his game throughout the year has secured his ranking here at ISS. He makes good smart, quick plays, takes contact well and drives the net without hesitation. Has great leadership traits that should translate very well at the next level.
McK: “A multi-purpose forward that can do many things well. He enjoys playing in traffic and can make uncanny plays with limited space. He is the type of player who will make his living in the dirty area [and] plays a similar game to Ryan Smyth.
RLR: “Lacks top end speed, but shows good burst in short areas. Works very intelligently down low on the PP where he stations himself beside the net and makes some power moves out front showing strength and balance. Not a pure finisher, but he generates offense with effort and desire.”
2008/2009 – USA U-18 (NTDP) – 44-19-24-43-53. Will play at RPI next season.

Kenny Ryan – RW – (6-0/204)
CS: # 56NA —– THN: # 66 —– McK: 29
ISS: # 59 (Brooks Laich) —– RLR: # 47 (Andrew Ladd)
ISS: “Honest two-way player who is not going to hurt you when he is on the ice. An agile two-way skater, Ryan is another U.S. forward who must keeps his feet moving all the time. Plays [to] his size and physical style very well. Ryan is a very good skater with good anticipation to break to open ice. He plays very hard and intense and makes good decisions with the puck. Has verballed to Boston College.
McK: “Ryan may not be the flashiest player but is a gifted natural goal scorer with a sniper’s instinct. His skating is average but complemented well by his non-stop motor. Ryan will need to add strength to be more effective physically but it’s already encouraging how much he engages in traffic.
RLR: “Strong on the puck and tough to separate from it. Has a hard, heavy shot but must work on getting it on net more consistently. Likes to initiate contact and will lay on the body. Average hockey sense, gets by on his natural tools rather than taking a cerebral approach. Does have the tools to be a top power winger, but only flashes them occasionally.
2008/2009 – USA U-18 (NTDP) – 53-21-20-41-44

While the first round selection was a difficult one, the second round selection is an empty net goal. Alex Chiasson has the tools to be a second round steal – much like Brandon Dubinsky was. Ranking the rest of the potential second round picks is not as easy.

Jimmy Bubnick and Anton Burdasov represent high-risk/high-reward players. Normally I don’t mind taking that type of player in the second round, but this time I would suggest going with the safer picks.

My alternate second round choices, in order, are: Jerry D’Amigo, Kenny Ryan, Burdasov, and Bubnick.

Add to Yahoo Add to Google Furl this Add to Spurl Save to Del.icio.us Digg IT! Live Bookmarks! Blogmarks

The New York Rangers have their own third round draft pick, the 80th overall selection. At this point in the Draft, the Rangers might want to address other needs as well as continuing their pursuit of offense. For the first time, I have listed a goaltender and a defenseman.

While the Rangers have a surplus of puck-moving defenseman, the blueliner that I am looking at would bring size and a physical presence to the organization.

As for goaltending, the picture is a little murkier. Former 2nd round draft pick Antoine LaFleur has been a bit of a disappointment while playing with a subpar QMJHL team. It is possible the Rangers might not even sign him to a professional contract or they might look to sign him to an AHL contract. It is uncertain if Hartford netminders Miika Wiikman and Matt Zaba are bona fide prospects, or are they just AHL-level goalies who would be part-time NHL backups at best.

Dan Delisle – C/LW – (6-4/222)
CS: # 138NA —– THN: # Not Rated in Top 100 —– McK: # Not Rated
ISS: # 57 (Keith Primeau) —– RLR: # 106 (Bryan Bickell or Chad Kilger)
ISS: “Quick hands with quick shot. His size and speed will make him an attractive player for a mid-late pick. His offensive skills are very explosive. His vision and playmaking skills are already at a high level. Defensively he is aggressive and creates turnover by being an agitator and supporting the defense low in his own zone. Danny has committed to the University of Minnesota-Duluth.
McK: No report available.
RLR: “Huge strong power winger is very strong in front of the net. Able to just physically dominate at the high school level. His puck skills and vision are just fair. Has great size but his body has some catching up to do – grew too quick and needs to gain coordination that would help with quickness and lateral agility. Didn’t play with a whole lot of talent so he carried a lot on himself.
2008/2009 – Totino Grace High School (MN) 24-30-22-52-14. Will attend the University of Minnesota-Duluth.

Taylor Doherty – D- (6-6/218)
CS: # 58NA —– THN: # 94 —– McK: # 79
ISS: # 52 (Ulf Samuelsson) —– RLR: # 113 (Not Available)
TSN: Honorable Mention (Not Rated)
ISS: “Huge Player with good long reach. Puck skills are just average, but does work hard. “A big player who has a physical presence when he is on the ice, has had the opportunity to play in all situations with the Kingston Frontenacs. Doherty gets around the ice fairly well considering his size. During battles, particularly in the defensive zone, ends up taking minor penalties due to poor defending technique. Lots of potential with this young rearguard who already has extensive international experience.
McK: “Doherty is the most noticeable player on the ice for his huge frame but he has had a lot of difficulty maneuvering it on the ice. His skating is decent considering his size but he lacks hockey sense and will make a lot of questionable decisions with the puck. He has an uphill battle but his size and brute strength are calling cards that will invariably get him noticed by NHL scouts.
RLR: No report available.
TSN Notes: “Selected to participate in the 2009 CHL Top Prospects Game. As a member of Team Canada he won a gold medal at the 2008 Ivan Hlinka Memorial tournament and participated in the 2009 Under-18 World Championships. Doherty was also on the Team Ontario that won a gold medal at the 2008 Under-17 World Hockey Challenge.”
2008/2009 – Kingston (OHL) – 68-2-18-20-140

Brandon Maxwell – G – (6-0/195)
CS: # 8NA Goalie —– THN: # 79 —– McK: # Honorable Mention
ISS: # 8 Goalie (Not Available) —– RLR: # Not Rated (Not Available)
No Scouting reports available.
Maxwell played for the Under-18 Bronze medalist USA team in World Junior Championship. He originally committed to Boston College, but appears to be ready to play for the Windsor Spitfires (OHL). Maxwell is an athletic goalie with good size, technically sound and very quick. He has been coached by Francois Allaire, brother of Rangers goalie coach Benoit Allaire, and current goaltending coach for the Toronto Maple Leafs. Maxwell was born in Florida and raised in Canada, and the dual citizen chose to play for the USNTDP.
2008/2009 – USA U-18 (NTDP) – 22 GP – 3.27 GAA – .887 SV% – 1 SHO.

Andrej Nestrasil – RW – (6-2/200)
CS: # 131NA —– THN: # N/R in Top 100 —– McK: # 88
ISS: # 75 (Not Available) —– RLR: # 63 (Daniel Paille)
ISS: “skilled winger with good size and scoring ability. He does an excellent job of protecting the puck and shows very good hands in tight places. He took time to get comfortable with his new environment, but has consistently shown improvement in his play. Was the best player for the Czech’s at the recent World U-18’s. Skating does need work, but he does show some potential for improvement.
McK: “His playmaking ability elevated on the PP where he patrolled along the half-wall and in the corners. He is comfortable with the puck and does a nice job of surveying the ice and dispensing crisp passes. Nestrasil uses his strong hockey sense defensively by getting his stick in passing lanes. He is an effective penalty killer and doesn’t sacrifice defence for offense.”
RLR: “Has the size, soft hands, and excellent vision to become a fine playmaking winger. Adapted well to the North American game and became more physical in the corners as the season progressed – uses his size effectively to win battles and compete for loose pucks. Lacks explosion, but has power in stride. Makes up for his average skating by keeping feet moving in traffic and working hard. Defensively responsible and understands the game in all three zones.
2008/2009 – Victoriaville (QMJHL) – 66-22-35-57-67

Anton Rodin – RW/LW (5-11/174)
CS: # 15E —– THN: # N/R in Top 100 —– McK: # 65
ISS: # 79 (Not Available) —– RLR: # 82 (Matthew Lombardi)
ISS: “Rodin has proven to be an effective scorer, and can score unbelievable goals on a regular basis. He is a tremendous puck handler. His outstanding play on the International scene coupled with the fact he elevated his game throughout the year has secured his ranking here at ISS.
McK: “Rodin will be well-suited for the North American game given his tough and hard-working brand of hockey. Although small in stature, Rodin plays a fearless and energetic style. Rodin has speed to burn with great a skating stride. He has a great shot with terrific individual puck skills and can dangle. While he will go hard into the traffic areas, he will need to add some considerable muscle to withstand the rigors of the NHL.
RLR: “Came on like gangbusters during the season and his development curve is definitely heading straight upward. Though not big, he likes initiating physical contact. Good instincts for getting to the right spot offensively.”
2008/2009 – Brynas Jr. (Sweden) – 37-29-26-55-34

Making the decision on the third round selection is difficult because of three reasons. First off, by the time we get the 80th pick in the Draft, it is possible none of these players will be available. The second problem is that I have introduced a defenseman and a goaltender to the equation. The final problem is that the Rangers do not have their own fourth round draft pick. As a result, they must make sure they get it right at #80.

In the past, we have seen Glen Sather move up and down in the draft as he replaces dealt away draft picks. Fans have to hope that Sather is able to read the Draft board and recoup his fourth round pick. If he doesn’t, I would have to list Taylor Doherty as the fifth pick because he is a reach I am not ready to take without a fourth round pick to back me up. If Sather gets a fourth rounder, and Doherty is available, I would draft him.

With the remaining players, it comes down to reading the Draft. If there has been a run on goalies, then the pick would be Brandon Maxwell or another goaltender that is high on the Rangers Draft board.

If the pick is going to be a forward, I would look at, in order, Anton Rodin, Andrej Nestrasil and Dan Delisle. Push comes to shove; Rodin is first ahead of Maxwell – if there is a gun to my head.

Add to Yahoo Add to Google Furl this Add to Spurl Save to Del.icio.us Digg IT! Live Bookmarks! Blogmarks