Fri 22 Jun 2012
The New York Rangers 4th round pick will be the 119th overall selection. Here is a look at six players that I would target. Unlike the first two rounds, there is no 4th Round Mock Draft so the presumption is that all six players could be available at #119.
Each player has ratings for the following scouting services: The Hockey News (THN), McKeen’s (McK), NHL’s Central Scouting (CS), and International Scouting Service (ISS). CS breaks down their ratings by North American skaters, European skaters, North American goaltenders and European goaltenders. THN lists each prospect’s NHL Translation. ISS provides a prospects’ comparable NHL player.
TROY DONNAY – D
CS: # 122NA —– McK: # 102
THN: # Not Rated —– ISS: # 92 (Not Available)
The 6-foot-7 and 185 pound Donnay definitely needs to hit the weight room and bulk up before he ever contemplates an NHL career. He might be one of the few players who was thrilled to be traded to a last place team. McKeen’s points out that he barely saw any ice time while with London, but received major amounts of ice time (PP time included) once he was traded to Erie. In 50 OHL games, Donnay scored one goal and added seven assists.
ISS: “What [is] most intriguing with Troy is his size and potential if he can improve his feet and skating ability… [he] has the potential for to grow a lot and develop into a force if he can add to his big frame. He displays toughness down low and surprisingly some good instincts on the offensive blueline. Mobility and skating ability could be a factor but the potential he has with his frame, work ethic and power is intriguing for a long term development.”
McK: “Donnay is a rangy skater who can move surprisingly well for a player of his size. He can shift, pivot and change direction effortlessly and has a long stride that swallows up ice. Donnay is a fixture on the first unit power-play due to his shot and lack of options on the Otters back line…. He’s very raw at this point and is more of a project pick who skates well and has a healthy mean streak.”
DILLON FOURNIER – D
CS: # 136NA —– McK: # 114
THN: # 82 (Not Available) —– ISS: # 132 (Not Available)
At 6-foot-2 and 180 pounds, Fournier might not match Donnay as an imposing figure, but he also needs to fill out some before he takes the next step in his hockey career. Fournier was selected by Rouyn-Noranda as part of the dispersal draft when the QMJHL disbanded the Lewiston franchise. In 52 games last season, Fournier scored nine goals and 29 assists as he nearly tripled his offensive output (14 points) in his rookie season.
ISS: “Fournier is an offensive minded high risk/high reward styled defender who likes to get involved and is very active in the offensive side of the game. He possesses good size with the potential to really fill out and get stronger as he develops…. Still working on game to game consistency and is an unpolished long-term project on defense.”
McK: “A quick skater with good explosiveness, Fournier has a controlled stride that can make sharp turns. He doesn’t break stride when handling the puck and marries his puck skills with above-average hockey sense. Although he started the season being a little passive, he elevated his play as the year progressed and started playing a more aggressive game. Challenging opponents offensively and even physically…. Fournier is raw at this point, but with physical maturity he’s an attractive prospect due to the way he processes the game.
THN: THN’s blurb on Fournier says, “First overall pick in ‘Q’ draft skates well, leans towards defense.”
QUENTIN SHORE – C
CS: # 80 NA —– McK: # 104
THN: # Not Rated —– ISS: # 114 (Not Available)
The 6-foot and 180 pound Shore is the brother of Drew (signed with Florida in March) and Nick (LA Kings 2011 third round pick). All three brothers came through the USNTDP and Quentin is set to join Nick at the University of Denver – their hometown school. In 56 games with the Under-18 team, Quentin scored 16 goals and 8 assists.
ISS: “He has a very well rounded skill set that allows him to fit any mold required of him. His faceoff skills and defensive presence were integral in the USA’s run for the Gold during the U18 tournament. More goal scorer than playmaker, decent hands and quick release. A very effective shot-blocker on the PK unit that is adept at getting in the shooting lanes and limiting rebounds. Still working on game to game consistency and in an unpolished long-term project.”
McK: “His hockey sense and shot are arguably his best assets, as his one-timer explodes off his stick and his keen hockey sense allows him to stay in close proximity of the puck. He has the innate ability to turn his body off the puck to make a defenseman go the other way and then executes subtle one-touch passes that help in the transition. Shore needs to work on his skating since he offers little to no explosive power in his stride. He’s a versatile player who meshes well with any set of Linemates due to his work ethic and ability to process the game.”
ZACH STEPAN – C
CS: # 53NA —– McK: # 86
THN: # 86 (Not Available) —– ISS: # 82 (Not Available)
The 6-foot and 170 pound Stepan in the cousin of Rangers center Derek Stepan. Zack played 42 games with Shattuck-St. Mary’s and scored 18 goals and 38 assists – a slip from his 2010/2011 numbers of 25 goals and 39 assists in 54 games. Stepan is not as talented offensively as his famous cousin, but projects out as a two-way forward. Zach is committed to attend Ohio State University.
ISS: “A very good two-way forward with great speed and understanding, Stepan is very strong on the puck, applies great pressure on the forecheck and has very good instincts as well. He is a playmaker with a good shot that he can get off deceptively quick. He plays much bigger than his size and can throw some impactful hits as well.
McK: “Although he struggled to put the puck in the net, Stepan demonstrated his willingness to be a two-way player that can be relied upon heavily in the defensive zone. He uses his agility and persistent movement in his stride…. He has a strong showing in the Under-18 US Nationals, finishing third in scoring and scored the GWG in the finals to clinch the Championship.”
THN: THN’s brief blurb on Stepan says, “Character player wins faceoffs, plays the body.”
FRANKIE VATRANO – LW
CS: # 88NA —– McK: # Not Rated
THN: # 97 (Not Available) —– ISS: # 101 (Not Available)
The 5-foot-10 and 215 pound Vatrano probably stirs images of a fireplug on ice – as long as it is a fireplug with NHL talent that is in shape. “He has an NHL-level shot,” Danton Cole, his coach with the NTDP for the past two years told Bill Keefe of the New England Hockey Journal. “He can really hum a puck.”
“He works his tail off in the weight room and on the ice. He is one of our strongest players. He is very efficient in his skating. He tracks the puck offensively and defensively as well as anyone here. If there’s a race for the puck, he usually wins it.”
According to CS, Vatrano played 53 games and scored 14 goals and 17 assists with the USA’s Under-18 team. Vatrano is committed to attend Boston College.
ISS: “Vatrano is a skilled, offensive minded winger that possesses the size of a power forward but seems to bring a little more offensive creativity to the table…. He displays real speed and is very strong on his skates. He is extremely tough to knock off stride. Was solid throughout Under-18 World Championship helping USA to Gold. He works his tail off in the weight room and on the ice. He is one of the strongest players in his age group. Already has a pro shot. He shows above average awareness in all three zones of the ice and has some very intriguing potential moving forward.”
THN: THN”s brief blurb on Vatrano says, “Rumbling Boston College commit plays in a straight line.”
JIMMY VESEY – LW
CS: # 77NA —– McK: # Not Rated
THN: # Not Rated —– ISS: # 112 (Not Available)
The 6-foot and 180 pound Vesey is another one of those players who was passed over during the 2011 NHL Draft – and given the year he has last year – bad move by the NHL. After finishing prep school, Vesey moved on to South Shore of the EJHL (same team Minnesota prospect Charlie Coyle played for) and lit up the league to the tune of 48 goals and 43 assists in 45 games. Vesey dad, Jim, played 15 NHL games with St. Louis and Boston.
“My goal scoring is my biggest asset and my offensive awareness around the net,” Vesey told Ryan Kennedy of THN. “The biggest thing is my first few strides from a standstill. It’s something I’m going to improve.”
Vesey will join Brian Hart, my second round selection, at Harvard University. Both players were invited to the U.S. National Junior Team Evaluation Camp.
ISS: “Blessed with tremendous hockey IQ, Vesey will continue to develop playing NCAA hockey at Harvard next season. Well-liked by his teammates and possesses a winning attitude. He doesn’t take crap from anybody. He takes a check to make a play. A Good sized forward with soft hands and decent skating abilities. Has good vision and a nose for the net. Jimmy uses his solid frame and good upper body strength effectively. A long term prospect that should develop well.”
It is an interesting, and varied, group of players under consideration for the fourth round pick. For me, the race comes down to Frankie Vatrano and Jimmy Vesey. I like the potential that both players bring to the table and I think the Rangers would win out either way. However, I like the way Vesey stepped up last season in the EJHL – a league that is beginning to draw more and more attention from scouts and NHL teams. The first choice goes to Vesey with Vatrano being a close second.
Players three through five are a close call for me. The sixth choice is an easy one because while Troy Donnay size and ability are intriguing, but he might be too much of a long-term reach to draft in the fourth round. If the Rangers were able to get make a trade for a later draft pick and he were available in the fifth to seventh rounds, I would not hesitate to draft him.
Of the remaining three players, I think I would have to see how the first three rounds shaped up. If the Rangers did not take a defenseman with their first three picks, then Dillon Fournier would be a nice addition at #119. If the Blueshirts did take a defenseman, then I would look to either Quentin Shore or Zach Stepan as the third choice.
While Shore’s style of play and penalty killing fits the Rangers, I think blood might be thicker than water in this case as Stepan would be my third choice. Actually, the fact that he is Derek’s cousin played no part in that decision. It was Zach’s speed and skating that wins him the nod.