The NHL section of Fansided has been holding a mock draft for the upcoming 2011 Entry Draft, and it was our turn to pick 15th overall yesterday. When our pick came up, there was far from any obvious pick. In fact, there were probably 8 different prospects we could have justified taking in the position, and this is likely an issue the Rangers will be dealing with at the real Entry Draft in late June. Nonetheless, after some research and thinking, I ultimately settled on selecting Marc McNeill, a center playing for Prince Albert of the Western Hockey League. Keep reading to see why:
The Rangers usually stick to drafting the best player available in the first round and then worry about addressing organizational needs later. I too believe in the same philosophy. Goaltending notwithstanding, you never know what your team’s strengths and weaknesses will be 3-6 years from now, the timeframe when your prospect most likely will be making an impact. That being said, at my pick there were so many players that were so close to each other that I felt I had no choice but to take organizational needs into consideration.
Here’s a brief scouting report from B.J. McDonald of Central Scouting:
He’s really composed and has a real pro-style game. He has a nice touch, can dish, and has nice, soft passes. His on-ice awareness is very good and he’s paid attention to detail at both ends of the rink. He has good defensive-zone coverage as well as being offensive at the other end.
I’ve seen McNeill being compared to players such as Ryan Kesler, Jason Arnott, and our own Brandon Dubinsky. However, the player he most reminds me of is David Backes of the St. Louis Blues. McNeill is a player who is very defensively responsible, is great on face-offs, and uses his 6’2, 2010 lb frame to forecheck as well as muscle his way to the front of the net and put the puck in.
Outside of Grachev, the Rangers don’t have any prospects who resemble a power forward. The other thing that I really like about McNeill is that he’s a guy who is great on faceoffs and projects as a center at the NHL level. He won’t move to wing like Grachev or Dubinsky have, and other than Lindberg the Rangers don’t really have any centers in their system.
Make sure to check out Too Many Men On The Site to see Jared’s analysis of my selection as well as the previous 14 picks of the draft. You tell me: did I make the right selection?