With their 2nd of 5th round picks in the 2011 NHL Draft, the Rangers took their first defenseman, Samuel Noreau, who plays for Baie-Comeau Drakkar of the QMJHL.
Noreau is an absolute monster, listed at 6’5 and 215 pounds, and he certainly uses his frame. He had 141 penalty minutes last year and definitely is an intimidating force on the blue line. Here’s a scouting report from Bruins 2011 Draft Watch:
Noreau is a 6-5, 215-pound tough-as-nails punisher who doesn’t have much in the way of high-end skill, but has the size and nastiness to be a shutdown guy in time. He’s not a bad skater, though needs to work on his lateral movement and pivots/turns like many big players on D. This dude can really fight, too. With his size and strength, he ragdolls guys and stands in and throws them against the tougher comers/enforcers in the QMJHL.
It’s clear that Noreau is a project. But how many big defensemen aren’t? The feeling I get is that Noreau compares to Dale Purinton, only with much better defensive potential. It’s unlikely we’ll see him in the NHL anytime soon, but eventually he might become a solid defensive option.
In the past two drafts the Rangers have added Dyan McIlrath, Jason Wilson, Randy McNaught, and now Sam Noreau. It’s pretty evident that the Rangers value guys who can patrol the ice. Not just in terms of fighting, but also in terms of just being an intimidating factor and using their size to their advantage.
Here’s a video of Noreau pummeling someone.