I was fortunate enough to have Jess Rubenstein of the Prospect Park to answer some of my questions regarding the draft, and some of the current Rangers prospects. Jess runs a blog covering all of the Rangers and Islanders prospects, and if there’s someone who knows what there is to about these prospects it’s Jess.
You should definitely be reading the Prospect Park to learn more about Rangers prospects.
Anyway here is the Q and A:
1. The Rangers took Brady Skjei with the 28th pick in the draft. Do
you think he was the player the Rangers had their sights on the whole
time, or was he maybe the Rangers 2nd or 3rd choice if they couldn’t
get the player they wanted?
Funny you asked this because yes I do believe this is who the Rangers were wanting all along. The way the Ranger table was ready to hit the stage right after the Coyotes made their pick left me with that impression. I have gotten to talk with Gordie Clark several times over the years and he has his own visions as to what kinds of players he wants to take at certain spots.
2. Any draft picks in the late 20’s can be considered “crap shoots”
almost where the players selected can have a lot of potential but
maybe not pan out. But can Brady Skjei be considered a “safe” pick at
Safe is a good choice of words as that is exactly how I have been describing the 4 players the Rangers picked. This was not a very deep draft for Rangers to begin with. When you are picking at the tail end of a round; you either go with someone who fits your system (as Skjei does defensively) or you risk on projects that may or may not pan out.
3. When you saw who was already off the board when the Rangers were
getting ready to pick who did you think they would take? Also if you
were in the Rangers position which player would you have selected?
Actually I had the Rangers at 28 picking a defensemen but I was looking at Ludwig Bystrom who plays for Ulfie Samuelsson and Markus Naslund on Modo in Sweden (he went 43rd). I was of the belief that the Rangers should have traded down to gain an extra pick or 2 since they only had 4.
4. Since the Gordie Clark era began, the Rangers out of 30 draft picks
have selected 9 Americans. The last two drafts 4 out of the 10 picks
selected by the Rangers have been Americans. Is this because Clark is
high on Americans or is it because more Americans are becoming more
prominent in hockey? Or is this a combination of both?
It has to do with how the prospect fits in with what the Rangers are trying to do as a franchise. Gordie Clark would draft a space alien if he felt it matched up with what John Tortorella is trying to do. One thing that needs to be said which is that it is not just Gordie Clark when it comes to the draft as it is a true team effort that the Rangers put in when it comes to every player they go after.
Once the Rangers ID a possible player they get as many different looks from different people as they can. I know that Glen Sather has flown to Europe, Messier to Kelowna etc. etc. The Rangers have one of the deepest scouting/player personal departments in the NHL. At last check the Rangers have 5 guys who have been GMs or Assistant GMs at the NHL level.
5. Which Rangers prospects do you have your eye on to make a push in
training camp and potentially make the team next year?
Honestly other than Kreider, maybe Erixon but nobody else as the Rangers are hitting a gap where development has gone faster than drafting. You have Stepan, McDonagh, and Kreider who left school early and Del Zotto who made the team at 18 (Rangers rushed him and Grachev too early).
I am looking at 2013-2104 when you see McIlrath, Erixon, Thomas, and maybe Andrew Yogan making the leap.
A big thank you to Jess for answering my questions. You can follow him on twitter @TheProspectPark. You can follow me on twitter @Matt_J1.