Rangers Draft: It's a Guessing Game

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Well, Rangers Fans, the 2009 NHL Draft is over and the New York Rangers had a total of 7 picks. Starting with the 1st selection at number 19 overall, the Rangers went with Center, Chris Kreider. Kreider is a 6'2" 200 pounder from Andover High School. He's a big kid with good speed - in fact, he was rated as the best skater by all of the scouting reports. I like the pick, as the Rangers went with the size and skill factor over a player who might have been "ready" sooner. With Kreider, the Blueshirts might have to wait a few years. But, again, the size is the key to me.

With the 2nd round pick, 47th overall, the Rangers went with Center, Ethan Werek from the Kingston Frontenacs. From what I hear, he has good skills and can contribute offensively. Then, with the 3rd round pick, 80th overall, the Rangers selected Ryan Bourque. That's right, Ray Bourque's son. Don't know much about him, but if he's anywhere near his dad in ability and skill, he could be a good choice. He's a little undersized, but only time will tell if that's a problem or not! The Rangers then selected Roman Horak (another center) from the Czech Republic, followed by Scott Stajcer (a goaltender) from the Owen Sound of the OHL, Jr. league. All accounts point to him being a solid netminder who does everything by the book as a goaltender.

With the 6th round pick, the Rangers might have gotten themselves a steal with defenseman, Daniel Maggio of the Sudbury Wolves, OHL Jrs. Hey, the kid has good size at 6'3" and 200 Lbs. A knee injury held him back, but his upside is really good. Love the size once again! Finally, the Rangers last pick was Russian defenseman Mikhail Pashnin, a stalky 5'11", 190 pounder who was drafted No. 1 by the Russian Pro league in the KHL. If things don't work out in Russia, he will come to the NHL. A gamble? Sure. But a worthy one at that.

In other action during the draft, the Rangers also picked up Chad Johnson from the Pittsburgh Penguins (a former 2006, 4th round draft pick) in exchange for the Rangers 151st overall selection. Johnson has finished his college career and should be good "bench strength" at goaltender for the Rangers organization. They also made a trade with the Los Angeles Kings to acquire former 1st round selection, Brian Boyle. Boyle has tremendous size and there's still some hope for him yet.

How would I rate this draft? I'd give it a B to B+. I know many fans might disagree with me, but honestly if you are not picking at the top of the draft, you're not going to find instant NHLers at the 19th pick. Sorry, doesn't happen that way. What the Blueshirts got is good potential for the years ahead and patience is the key. Lastly, about the draft, does anyone really know how things turn out with all of these prospects? It's a guessing game at best! Over and out!


Looks like the majority of you would like to keep Antropov next season, but from the preliminary reports - it's not looking good. Some quotes by GM Glen Sather over the weekend suggest that his agent is making outrageous offers. Anyways, check out the new poll question involving newly acquired Ranger, Brian Boyle.


The NHL Awards, Shake Gate, and Random Thoughts

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Well, the NHL Awards were handed out on June 18 in Las Vegas and I really can't argue much with the results. Well, maybe one. That one would be Alexander Ovechkin over Evgeni Malkin for the Hart Trophy (The love affair continues for Ovechkin). Overall though, I think they got it all right.

Why is Kris Draper whining still over Sidney Crosby's so called "Shake Gate" snub? Stop it, Kris. You look like the bad guy now and just get over it. Every TV station in the world was trying to get a live interview with the Penguins captain and he obliged. If the Wings couldn't wait, that was their choice.

The NHL Draft is coming up real fast and to me the lesser known names (see previous blog) are the interesting stories. Not Tavares, nor Hedman. There is plenty of good, young talent in the "lesser knowns", but not much fan fare compared to the top 3 or 5 players in the draft. I only hope that the Rangers can pluck a stud with their pick... they are over due!

Why is it that billionaire, that's right... billionaire like Jim Balsille can't find a way to purchase an NHL Hockey team? He's got the money, is that not a good thing in today's economic crisis? You would think that the NHL would love to have an owner like Balsille in their league, but obviously there's a problem between Bettman and Balsille. I shake my head over this one!

Free agency, anyone? I am going to predict that the money previously thrown around over the last few years will not be there this time. It doesn't make sense to pay big dollars for so little, those are just my thoughts.

Why is the NHL still trying to get rid of fighting? Fights still get the fans out of their seats and there is no denying that. It's part of the game. Always has been, always will be!

And with the 19th pick in the 2009 NHL Draft, the New York Rangers select... Over and out!


Yours truly will be talking hockey with The Mouth on WUSB 90.1 FM on Tuesday, June 23rd between 9 AM and 11 AM on The Nick Show. Check it out! It should be a blast! For more information you can check out The Mouth's post on this at his blog: http://www.rangercrisis.com/2009/06/mouth-and-ex-ranger-chris-kotsopoulos.html

Looks like the majority of the Rangers fans think that we should not pursue Marian Gaborik according to the last poll. Well, check out the new one dealing with Nik Antropov!


The NHL and its Draft!

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Now that the Pittsburgh Penguins have been crowned the 2009 Stanley Cup Champions, we can move on to more important topics like the NHL draft. A good friend of mine who I met over the last few years at Café 31 before Rangers games, Joe Tucciarone (who is a die hard Rangers fan), has pain stakingly dissected and written about the upcoming draft. His work on it is very good and insightful. So, here it is... check it out and leave some feedback!


Well it’s just about that time of year again. The Stanley Cup playoffs are over, and the new Champion Pittsburgh Penguins have been crowned. It’s the time of season that fans start to wonder what their respective team is going to do next season to better their clubs. Free agency looms approximately 15 days away, but before it does all 30 NHL teams will meet in Montreal for the 2009 NHL Entry draft. The NHL in past seasons has done a much better job in shedding light on the new draft eligibles. This year was no different. The NHL network did a tremendous job in airing the World Jrs and the Memorial Cup. Also Fox sports have done a great job airing collegiate hockey in the past couple of seasons. With that said, hockey fans have much better access to take a good look at prospects before the entry draft. I am one of those fans.

This is the third year that I have put together my mock draft, and I have tried to separate mine from the rest of the mocks that are out there by including small scouting reports on players. I drew my conclusions on these players by watching entirely too much hockey…and also ordering every single draft guide I could get my hands on. With that, I studied from start to finish Redline Report, ISS, McKeens, and the Hockey News. I also paid attention to Central Scouting’s site for updates as well. After gathering all the data I could I looked at the strengths and weaknesses of each player, and re-ranked them according to who I thought were the best players. After that I looked up each team’s prospect system to see how deep they were in certain areas, and how weak they were in others. Lastly I also visited each team’s official sites to see not just what the sports writers were saying, but also what the diehard fans were hoping the draft would bring to better their favorite NHL clubs. With that said, I offer you my 3rd annual 2009 NHL Mock Entry Draft.

1) NY Islanders : John Tavares Ht 6’ 0” Wgt 195

With the 1st overall pick of the 2009 NHL Entry Draft the New York Islanders proudly select from London of the OHL, Center John Tavares.

Verdict is still not out yet as to whether or not the Isles truly made a draft blunder by not drafting Nikita Filatov with the 5th overall in last years draft. He hasn’t made the show yet, but he is currently ranked the 3rd best prospect by Hockeys Future. This year though, there once again seems to be controversy surrounding Garth Snow and his 1st overall pick. This year’s controversy is between which of the top 2 draft eligible players the Islanders are going to draft. The consensus has been Tavares will go number one for most of the season, but Victor Hedman seemed to gain steam as the season went on. So much steam that Redline and McKeen’s guide services ranked the big Swede 1st overall. No matter which way you slice this one, John Tavares has to go to the Islanders with the first overall. Tavares completely outplayed the larger Hedman when the teams faced off. Overall in the World Jrs where Hedman found himself playing mediocre hockey, Tavares was out there winning MVP’s. Bottom line is he brought his “A” game to a World stage when it counted most. Tavares in the simplest of terms is the best pure goal scorer in the 09 NHL Entry Draft. He is a true sniper, who is dangerous down low. Tavares rarely misses on a scoring opportunity. He is also tenacious on the puck on very rarely gives up on a play. Tavares goes to NY and the club immediately helps their franchise by adding the best pure goal scorer in the 2009 draft. With a late birthday Tavares narrowly missed last years NHL Entry draft, which would have certainly seen him battle it out with Steven Stamkos for the 1st overall. In Tavares the Islanders have the most marketable player to wear the sweater since Roberto Luongo. Expect big things from him on Long Island…As long as Wang is able to keep the franchise afloat in Long Island! Tavares is the best suited player to help turn this once great organization around.

ISS Ranking #1
Redline Ranking #2
CSS Ranking #1 NA Skaters
McKeens Ranking #2
THN Ranking #1

Style Compares To Dany Heatley

Projected To Be A Franchise Forward, Competing for Goal Scoring Titles

2) Tampa Bay Lightning : Victor Hedman Ht 6’6” Wgt 216

With the 2nd overall pick in the 2009 NHL Entry Draft the Tampa Bay Lightning proudly select from the Modo, of the Swedish Elite League Defenseman Victor Hedman.

Last year the Tampa Bay Lightning were lucky enough to land the first overall pick of the draft landing them the dynamic Steven Stamkos. This year, the luck continues as the best defensive prospect of the draft goes to them at number 2 overall. Victor Hedman is a monster! 6’6” 216lbs at the age of 18. Now normally when you describe a defenseman 6’6” 216lbs you immediately think physical specimen, punishing hitter, bad attitude. But in the case of Hedman those are not his best qualities. He can throw the body, but his forte is his offense. Victor is arguably the best offensive talent from the Blueline in the 09 Entry Draft. All the tools are there already, speed, size, skill, booming point shot…but maybe Hedman best asset is his ability to take control of a game. In playing against veterans already in the SEL Hedman has shown incredible confidence with the puck in his own end, and an uncanny ability to see the ice and jump into the rush at opportune times. He has challenged Tavares all season long for the number 1 slot, but falls short and goes 2nd overall to Tampa.

ISS Ranking #3
Redline Ranking #1
CSS Ranking #1 European Skaters
McKeens Ranking #1
THN Ranking #2

Style Compares Him To Jay Bowmeester

Projected To Be A Franchise Defenseman

3) Colorado Avalanche : Matt Duchene Ht 5’ 11” Wt 200lbs

With the 3rd pick in the 2009 NHL Entry Draft, the Colorado Avalanche proudly select from the Brampton of the OHL, Center Matt Duchene.

It’s a perfect match! At the tail end of his career, Joe Sakic gets to personally welcome aboard the player that best exemplifies his attributes in the 09 draft. When watching Duchene it very apparent that he is the best player on the ice on just about any given night. His creativity with the puck can dazzle the fans, and make opponents look silly on a nightly basis. Duchene is the best playmaking forward in the draft, but not only does his offense stand out…Duchene is also a responsible two-way player, who isn’t afraid to get his nose dirty. He is one of those players who can hit top speed in his first three strides, in doing so he makes defenders look as if they are standing still. Duchene becomes the newest member of the Lanch at 3rd overall. Some scouts feel in 4 years from now Duchene will be the best prospect to come out of the 09 draft. 79 pts in 57 games for Duchene who actually was 2nd on the depth chart at center for Brampton behind Canucks prospect Cody Hodgson. Duchene has a very good chance of cracking the Avs lineup next season and potentially making it to their top 6.

ISS Ranking #2
Redline Ranking #2
CSS Ranking #2 NA Skaters
McKeens Ranking #3
THN Ranking #3

Style compares him to Joe Sakic

Projected to be future All Star Center

4) Atlanta Thrashers : Evander Kane Ht 6’ 1” Wt 180lbs

With the 4th pick in the 2009 NHL Entry Draft the Atlanta Thrashers proudly select from Vancouver, of the OHL Center Evander Kane

After being cut from the Canadian World Jr team, Evander Kane never looked back. Instead, Kane improved in nearly every aspect of his game, and was eventually called back to the team. What scouts seem to love most about him is his intensity. He doesn’t give up on a play and isn’t afraid to get physical. With that, he also posseses a lightning quick shot to go with the burning desire to compete on a nightly basis. In last years draft the Thrash bolstered their Blueline by adding one of the best all around Blueliners in the 08 class in Zach Bogosian. This year with the 4th overall they gobble up one of the most complete forwards in the draft in Evander Kane. And no, Evander is not the younger brother of Patrick Kane in Chicago, the two players are not related. Most scouts consider Kane very close to NHL ready. H should get plenty of icetime in Atlanta to mature.

ISS Ranking #5
CSS Ranking #3 NA Skaters
Redline Ranking #5
McKeens Ranking#5
THN Ranking #5

Style Compares Him To Devin Setoguchi

Projected To Be A Top 6 Forward

5) Los Angeles Kings : Magnus Paajarvi-Svensson Ht 6’ 1” Wt 200lbs

With the 5th pick in the 2009 NHL Entry Draft the Los Angeles Kings proudly select from Timra, of the Swedish Elite League LW Magnus Paajarvi-Svensson.

LA Already posseses arguably the best prospect pool in the entire NHL. Every year it seems they keep adding another top 5 pick, and this year barring a trade they will once again pick in the top 5. Really not too many holes in the system, cept for the left side in LA, which is why they snatch MPS with the 5th overall pick. MPS made the Swedish Junior Club at the age of 16 yrs old. From there he kept getting better cementing himself as a can’t miss prospect in the 09 draft class. Kyle Woodlief of Redline lists him as the best skater in the whole class. He has gifted hands, and is dangerous in close. LA in the last draft landed the top rated defenseman with Doughty, they also landed defenseman Colton Tuebert later in the same round. This year they can’t pass up on the highly ranked Swedish prospect…and for good reason. MPS is a prospect that has many scouts drooling over.

ISS Ranking #4
Redline Ranking #6
CSS Ranking # European Skaters
McKeens Ranking #10
TSN Ranking #7

Style compares to Alexander Mogilny

Projected to be a Top 6 Scoring Winger

6) Phoenix Coyotes : Oliver Ekman-Larsson HT 6’ 5” Wgt 225lbs

With the 6th pick of the 2009 NHL Entry Draft the Phoenix Coyotes proudly select from Lesands of the Sedish AI, Defenseman Oliver Ekman-Larsson.

Another club that seems to just land top 10 pick year after year, this year the Wayne Gretzky’s Coyotes take the podium with the 6th overall and select Ekman-Larsson. Yotes in the past three years landed top notch offensive prospects in Mikael Bodker, Kyle Turris, and Peter Mueller. In this class, Larsson is way too much for them to pass up on. Larsson is been in the shadow of Hedman as thus his name hasn’t been mentioned quite as much, but he is now climbing the rankings and emerging as one of the best defensive prospects in 09. Really not too many holes in his game. Incredible poise for a 91 born player, and QB’s the power play as good as anyone in the 09 class. Has a terrific shot from the point and also isn’t afraid to play physical and throw the occasional big hit. Phoenix at 6 opts for the 3 Swede to go in the top 6.

ISS Ranking #9
Redline Ranking #7
CSS Ranking #4 European Skaters
McKeens Ranking #4
THN Ranking #13

Style Compares To Niklas Lidstrom

Projected To Be A Franchise Defenseman

7) Toronto Maple Leafs : Brayden Schenn Ht 6’ 0” Wt 200lbs

With the 7th pick of the 2009 NHL Entry Draft the Toronto Maple Leafs proudly select from Brandon of the OHL, Center Brayden Schenn.

Toronto made a move in the 2008 NHL Entry draft moving down to draft hard hitting defenseman Luke Schenn. This year Brian Burke and company are exstatic to take the podium and draft the Luke’s younger brother Brayden. Schenn is one of the best natural leaders in the 09 draft class. Teammates love him, opponents respect him. Schenn is similar to his older brother to where he likes to play a physical brand of hockey. Above average in every area of his game but some scouts claim his skating is suspect…Which I personally don’t agree with. I compare his skating to Michael Nylander, he just has a tendency to look akward, but there is nothing wrong with his speed and ability to keep up with the play. Brian Burke likes his physical players, and adding the younger Schenn is a great way to start the rebuild process in Toronto.

ISS Ranking #6
Redline Ranking #4
CSS Ranking #4 NA Skaters
McKeens Ranking#6
THN Ranking #6

Style Compares To Brandon Dubinsky

Projected To Be A Top 6 Physical Forward, Potential Captain Material.

8) Dallas Stars : Jordan Schroeder Ht 5’ 8” Wt 175lbs

With the 8th pick of the 2009 NHL Entry Draft, the Dallas Stars proudly select, from the University of Minnesota, Center Jordan Schroeder.

The little engine that could! …Jordan Schroeder is 5’8”, but don’t tell him that! Schroeder dazzled in the world jrs in Ott earlier in the year for team USA. His performance caused him to climb up in the rankings, and his play as a Freshman for the University of Minnesota got him even more notice…but his overall physique, and althleticism at the Draft Combine should leave no doubters on Schroeder’s ability anymore. He is a gifted playmaker with an uncanny ability to draw players to him and find the open man. He also has that extra gear which he can kick in quick to blow past defenders to make game breaking plays. Schroeder also has a tremendous wrist shot which he can fire off on the fly ala Joe Sakic. Dallas a team that needs help in all areas of their prospect pool lands a gem with the 8th overall in 09.

ISS Ranking #14
Redline Ranking #11
CSS Ranking #5 NA
McKeens Ranking #13
THN Ranking #9

Style Compares Him To Steve Sullivan

Projects To Be A Top 6 Forward

9) Ottawa Senators : Jared Cowen Ht 6’ 5” Wt 220lbs

With the 9th pick of the 2009 NHL Entry Draft, the Ottawa Senators proudly select from Spokane of the WHL, Defenseman Jared Cowen.

A shocked and surprised Ottawa Organization cannot believe Cowen is still there at #9. The only reason Jared Cowen didn’t go in the top 5 was a season ending knee surgery he underwent in February. With that, Cowen drops to 9th where the Ottawa Senators just cant pass up on him. Cowen is the closest thing you will find to a Chris Pronger among the 09 draftees. Cowen has excellent size and strength, and is a punishing defender. His skating is above average despite his size. He is a winner wherever he plays. Cowen has already built himself a nice resume for a kid his age. His Rookie season he was on the Memorial Cup winning Spokane Chiefs. He also has gold medal under his belt from the Championship winning team Canada in the World Jrs. If he fully rebounds from the knee surgery Ottawa gets an absolute steal with the 9th overall.

ISS Ranking #7
Redline Ranking #8
CSS Ranking #9 NA
McKeens Ranking #8
THN Ranking #4

Style compares him to Chris Pronger

Projected To Be A Franchise Defenseman

10) Edmonton Oilers : Dmitri Kulikov Ht 6’ 0” Wgt 185lbs

With the 10th pick of the 2009 NH Entry Draft the Edmonton Oilers proudly select from Drummondville of the QMJHL, Defenseman Dmitri Kulikov.

Forget about is he going to come over and play in North America?... Kulikov is already here. He was the 2nd overall pick in the CHL import draft last season. Kulikov’s lateral movement might be better than any defenseman in the 09 draft. All around he is considered a very safe top ten pick with lots of potential to crack an NHL lineup within a short time. ISS labels Kulikov as the best defensive prospect to go through the QMJHL in a long time. At 10 the smooth skating Kulikov bolsters the Oil defense for years to come.

ISS Ranking #10
Redline Ranking #9
CSS Ranking #11 North American Skaters
McKeens #7
THN Ranking #11

Style Compares Him To Andre Markov

Projected To Be A Top 4 Defenseman

11) Nashville Predators : Nazem Kadri Ht 5’11” Wt 170lbs

With the 11th pick in the 2009 NHL Entry Draft the Nashville Predators are proud to select from the London Knights, of the OHL Center Nazem Kadri.

When Nazem Kadri wants to…he has the skills to be the best player on the ice…Again when Nazem Kadri wants to! This kid can fly, and he has the hands to go with it. At times Kadri can look like Pavel Pure in the mid 90’s…at other times he can look like a disinterested Alexei Yashin when he was with the NY Isles. But…for Nashville , a team that is pretty much stacked at the prospect system, the risk/reward here is worth the gamble. Kadri may wind up one of the better offensive threats of the 09 drafts. Nashville snatches him up with 11 and crosses their fingers that the flashes of brilliance Kadri shows develop into the next Nashville star, and not the next Pavel Brendl!
ISS Ranking #8
CSS Ranking #15 North American Skaters
Redline Ranking #17
McKeens Ranking #9
THN Ranking #8

Style Compares To Alexei Yashin

Projected To Be A Top 6 Forward…Or Bust!

12) Minnesota Wild : Scott Glennie Ht 6’ 1” Wgt 180lbs

With the 12th pick of the 2009 NHL Entry Draft, the Minnesota Wild proudly select from Brandon of the WHL, Right Wing Scott Glennie

Want to get yourself drafted in the first round of the NHL entry draft? Take a path similar to Glennie, who threw up 42 helpers, and 28 goals in only 55 games this year With Brandon of the WHL. Of course playing alongside Brayden Schenn doesn’t hurt your chances, but at times you might wonder which of this dynamic duo was the better player. Glennie did all the little things right, but his creativity in the offensive zone is what had scouts flocking to Western Canada to watch him play. With a wealth of very good defensive prospects in the system, Minnesota opts for who they believe to be the safe play, and best forward available on the board. Glennie at 12th overall.

ISS Ranking #19
CSS Ranking #7 North American Skaters
Redline Ranking #18
McKeens Ranking #14
THN Ranking #14

Style Compares Him To Patrick Sharp

Projected To Be A Top 6 Forward

13) Buffalo Sabres : Ryan Ellis Ht 5’ 9” 175 lbs

With the 13th pick of the 2009 NHL Entry Draft, the Buffalo Sabres proudly select from Windsor of the OHL, Defenseman Ryan Ellis

Last season the Buffalo Sabres suffered a tremendous blow when Defenseman Brian Campbell opted to test the free agent market, and eventually bolted for greener pastures in Chicago. Apprximately 11 months later the Sabres fill the void that Campbell left by drafting Windsor Defenseman Ryan Ellis. Despite his small frame Ellis is one of the best PP Quarterbacks in the entire 09 draft class. Not too mention, this mighty mite has probably the best point shot of any player in the whole draft. Ellis needs to work some on the defensive aspects of his game, but offensively he is way ahead of the competition. Ellis tore up the OHL this year scoring a whopping 89 pts in just 57 games. Did I mention that Ellis is 5’9”?...Did I also mention Ellis is a Defenseman? At 13th overall the Sabres take Ellis off the board.

ISS Ranking #13
Redline Ranking #13
CSS Ranking #16 North American Skaters
McKeens Ranking #11
THN Ranking #17

Style Compares Him To Brain Rafalski

Projects To Be An Offensive Defenseman And PP Specialist

14) Florida Panthers : Jacob Josefson Ht 6’0” Wt 185lbs

With the 14th pick in the 2009 NHL Entry Draft, the Florida Panthers are proud to select from Djurgardens of the Swedish Elite League, Center Jacob Josefson.

Not a happy time in the Florida Panthers organization. The club opted not to move cornerstone defenseman Jay Bowmeester at the trade deadline last season and come July 1 there is good reason to believe they are going to lose him via free agency. With that Florida does have a relatively deep prospect pool, but not overly strong in any area. Scott Luce, director of scouting in Florida will more likely than not go the safe route here by selecting BPA. With that they grab the safe pick, and arguably the best two way player available in Swedish born Jacob Josefson. Josefson is one of those players that seems to outthink his opponents. Always in position, puts the puck where he knows his teammates are going to be…not where they are! He goes to the Panthers at 14th overall.

ISS Ranking #11
Redline Ranking #32
CSS Ranking #3rd European Skaters
McKeens Ranking #16

THN Ranking #15

Style Compares To Matt Cullen

Projects To Be A Safe 2nd Line Pivot, With Offensive Flair

15) Anaheim Ducks : Louis LeBlanc Ht 6’ 0” Wgt 178lbs

With the 15th pick of the 2009 NHL Entry Draft the Anaheim Ducks proudly select from Omaha Lancers of the USHL Center Louis LeBlanc

If Burke was still with the organization the would have snatched up Kassain with the pick, but a handful of those types of players and a new GM and direction pulls them into a different direction. At 15 the Ducks draft the pesky Louis LeBlanc. LeBlanc is all heart, and has some good tools to go with it as well. Has the shot, certainly has the speed and skating to go with the fiery attitude. Can do everything at top speed and with that the Ducks pounce on the opportunity with the 15th overall. LeBlanc is committed to Harvard next season. At 15th LeBlac adds a spark, and speed to the Ducks.

ISS Ranking #12
Redline Ranking #10
CSS Ranking #13 North American Skaters
McKeens Ranking #15
THN Ranking #29

Style Compares Him To Derek Roy

Projected To Be 2nd Line Center, Oozing Grit And Determination

16) Columbus Blue Jackets : David Rundblad Ht 6’2” Wgt 190lbs

With the 16th pick of the 2009 NHL Entry Draft the Columbus Blue Jackets are proud to select from Skelleftea of the Swedish Elite League Defenseman David Rundblad.

In the past three consecutive entry drafts Columbus found themselves with relatively high choices, and each year grabbed offensive minded forwards. This year, sitting in the middle of the 1st round they opt for a well rounded defenseman David Rundblad of Sweden. Rundblad is a gifted puck mving defender, who knows when and when not to jump into the play. He’s a very fluid skater with and has great acceleration. But it isn’t just his offensive tendencies, Rundblad is very good in his own end as well, making him very well suited for todays NHL. Can be more physical, but has all the right tools to become a solid 3/4 defenseman.

ISS Ranking #22
Redline Ranking #12
CSS Ranking #6 European Skaters
McKeens Ranking #23
THN Ranking #

Style Compares Him To A Poor Man’s Mike Green

Projects To Be A Top 4 Defenseman

17) St Louis Blues : Drew Shore Ht 6’2” Wgt 190lbs

With the 17 pick of the 2009 NHL Entry Draft the St Louis Blues proudly select from the US U-18 of the NTDP Center Drew Shore.

When John Davidson went to St Louis, the organization made a promise to itself that they were going to strip is down and rebuild it from within. Focus was on drafting wisely, and stockpiling assets. With that, the Blues organization has done a terrific job with the players they have selected. They implemented a BPA strategy, and focus on bringing in players with the best conditioning. With that the team takes a slight gamble on wildcard Drew Shore. Shore is a member of the USA U-18 team and is one of this years draft wildcards. He has been ranked as high as 18th overall, and as far back as 65 by Redline. But…Woodlief has a tendency to bury some draft prospects, similar to what he did with Sanguinetti in 07’s class. Back to Shore, big bodied kid, with gifted offensive instincts. Like’s to throw the big hit, and always seems to be involved in the play. He has excellent vision, and should only continue to get better in the great program the Blues have.

ISS Ranking #18
Redline Ranking #65
CSS Ranking #28
McKeens Ranking #20
THN Ranking #23

Style Compares Him To RJ Umberger

This Wildcard Projects To Be High Risk, High Reward Top 6 Or Bust!

18) Montreal Canadiens : Simon Despres Ht 6’ 3” Wgt 205lbs

With the 18th pick in the 2009 NHL Entry Draft the Montreal Canadiens proudly select from Saint John of QMJHL Defenseman Simon Despres

Despres was the first overall pick in 07’s QMJHL entry draft. He is listed as having all the potential in the world. Fluid skater, lanky, but doesn’t shy too much from the rough stuff. Good shot and even better instincts. With that Despres is still a few years away from the NHL, but he does have tremendous upside. Despres earlier was ranked higher, but his stock fell as the year progressed. At 18th he is a very safe bet still and should be able to eventually crack the Habs lineup.

ISS Ranking #30
Redline Ranking #33
CSS Ranking #8 NA Skaters
McKeens Ranking # 19
THN Ranking #12

Style Compares Him To Brent Seabrook

Projects To Be A Top 4 Defenseman

19) New York Rangers : Zach Zassain Ht 6’ 02” Wgt 210lbs

With the 19th pick in the 2009 NHL Entry Draft the New York Rangers proudly select from Peterboro of the OHL, Right Wing Zack Kassain

Gordie Clark takes the podium this year all smiles as the Rangers make Zack Kassain their 1st selection of the 2009 NHL entry draft. Kassain is arguably the best power forward prospect in the 09 draft. He has the size at 6’2” and he is a pretty good skater despite his large frame. Kassain’s physical play has earned him a reputation in the OHL, and scouts have drawn comparisions of him to Milan Lucic, others don’t understand the hype and say Jessiman revisited. Kassain likes to drive the net, and get his nose dirty in the corners. He also likes to drop the mitts, and will do so to protect himself and teammates when situations arise. Rangers land a big fish in 09 in Kassain and finally add a potential future power forward to the top 6.

ISS Ranking #20
Redline Ranking #16
CSS Ranking #10
McKeens Ranking #18
THN Ranking #16

Style Compares Him To Milan Lucic

Projects To Be A Power Forward

20) Calgary Flames : Carter Ashton Ht 6 ’2” Wgt 205lbs

With the 20th pick in the 2009 NHL Entry Draft the Calgary Flames proudly select from Lethbridge of the WHL, Center Carter Ashton

At 20th overall there is Sutter-like player waiting to go to his new home. Carter Ashton already has ties to Flames Organization. His dad is Brent Ashton who at one point was also member of the Flames. What you can expect from Carter Ashton is one of the most well conditioned athletes in the 09 draft. He excelled at the combine. On the ice Ashton is the type of player that will get leveled with a big hit, dust himself off and park his ass right in front of the net again to chip in a garbage goal. Ashton like Kassain likes to drop the mitts, and when he does he usually gets the better of his opponent.

ISS Ranking #33
Redline Ranking #22
CSS Ranking #12 North American Skaters
McKeens Ranking #22
THN Ranking #20

Style Compares Him To Billy Guerin

Projected To Be A Power Forward

21) Philadelphia Flyers : Chris Krieder Ht 6’ 2” Wt 200

With the 21st pick of the 2009 NHL Entry Draft the Philadelphia Flyers proudly select from Phillips Andover of the USHL Center Chris Krieder

The Flyers at 21 opt for the explosive Chris Krieder. Krieder can fly, and he uses his quick bursts of speed to find open ice. One on one Krieder can be dangerous. For a HS kid, he also has good size already 6’2” 200lbs at 18. The overall package is well worth the risk, and considering the Flyers seem to be pretty good at the draft table with the mid to late first rounders, Krieder and the Flyers are a perfect match. Kreider has committee dto Boston College next season. Could be a real steal of a pick in the midlle of the 1st round.

ISS Ranking #24
Redline Ranking #27
CSS Ranking #14 North American Skaters
McKeens Ranking #31
THN Ranking #24

Style Compares Him To Jeff Carter

Projected To Be A Top 6 Forward With Breakaway Speed

22) Vancouver Canucks : John Moore Ht 6’ 2” Wt 190lbs

With the 22nd pick of the 2009 NHL Entry Draft the Vancouver Canucks proudly select from Chicago of the USHL defenseman John Moore

The Nucks at 22 are chomping at the bit to get to the podium to welcome John Moore to the Organization. A couple seasons ago Moore was considered too small to play in the OHL, or NCAA as well…Which was a shame considering he was among the best o fhis age group. What happened next surprised everyone. The 5’9” Moore had a growth spurt, and now stands 6’2” 190lbs. With that his game also grew to new heights. Central Scouting was so high on him they ranked him 6th among North American Skaters.

ISS Ranking #16
Redline Ranking #21
CSS Ranking #6 North American Skaters
McKeens Ranking #12
THN Ranking #18

Style Compares Him To Joe Corvo

Projects To Be An Offensive Defenseman

23) New Jersey Devils : Landon Ferraro Ht 5’ 11” Wgt 165lbs

With the 23rd pick of the 2009 NHL Entry Draft the New Jersey Devils proudly select from Red Deer of the WHL, Center Landon Ferraro

Landon is the son of former NHL’er Ray Ferraro. He exemplifies a lot of the same skills and determination his dad played with. He during the season continually proved critics wrong, and eventually climbed the rankings in all the guides. Ferraro is a goal scorer and was heavily relied on by his team do carry them in that area. He did a good job in the process, but showed he won’t break under pressure. He was voted the teams MVP at the end of the season.

ISS Ranking #17
Redline Ranking #38
CSS Ranking #18 North American Skaters
McKeens Ranking #32
THN Ranking #28

Style Compares To Ray Ferraro

Projected To Be A 2nd Line Center

24) Washington Capitals : Jeremy Morin Ht 6’ 0” Wt 193lbs

With the 24th pick of the 2009 NHL Entry Draft the Washington Capitals proudly select from US U-18, of the NTDP Left Wing Jeremy Morin

Late in the first round Washington hops on the opportunity to draft Jeremy Morin. Morin, earlier was a member of the USA U-18 that won the gold medal in the IIHF U-18 World Championships in that tourney he posted 6 goals and 10 points total in only 7 games. He was best when the game counted. Kyle Woodlief of the Redline report believes Morin to be the best pure sniper after Tavares in the 09 Entry Draft. That’s pretty good company to be compared with. Morin has signed a contract to play in the OHL next year with the Kitchener Rangers.

ISS Ranking #27
Redline Ranking #15
CSS Ranking #33 North American Skaters
McKeens Ranking #37
THN Ranking #21

Style Compares Him To Zach Parise

Projected To Be A Top 6 Scoring Winger

25) Boston Bruins : Ethan Werek Ht 6’ 0” Wgt 191lbs

With the 25th pick of the 2009 NHL Entry Draft, the Boston Bruins proudly select from Kingston of the OHL, Center Ethan Werek

Boston has their own system of drafting and developing players…they aren’t afraid to go off the board to snatch someone they like. Similar to what they did when drafting Lucic and look how that panned out for them! In the case of Werek, he’s a player that is ranked no higher than 26th, but it hasn’t stopped Boston from meeting with him now 3 separate times. Werek is the type of player that doesn’t do anything great(cept for winning faceoffs), but is very good in all areas, making him one of the better well rounded prospects in the draft. Werek on a bad team was the only bright spot this past season. He has been labeled a good garbage goal guy…And that’s why Boston happily takes him off the board at 25.

ISS Ranking #26
Redline Ranking #46
CSS Ranking #32 North American Skaters
McKeens Ranking #38
THN Ranking #34

Style Compares Him To Chris Drury

Projected To Be A Top 6 Forward

26) New York Islanders (From San Jose) : Nick Leddy Ht 5’ 11” Wt 180lbs

With the 26th pick in the 2009 NHL Entry Draft, the New York Islanders proudly select from Eden Prairie, of USHS defenseman Nick Leddy

The Islanders were the talk of the 08 NHL entry draft, and made some very controvercial moves. Now in the 09 Entry Draft, they are in great shape with 2 picks in the top 26. The first pick got them the best sniper in the draft, with the 2nd they go the BPA route and select Nick Leddy. Leddy is a slick puck-moving defenseman who has great mobility. He can stop on a dime, and has tremendous lateral movement. Leddy was also this years recipient of the “Mr Hockey Award” which is rewarded to the best high school player out of Minnesota. He is committed to Universiy of Minnesota next year to continu his development.

ISS Ranking #21
Redline Ranking #19
CSS Ranking #24 North American Skaters
McKeens Ranking #24
THN Ranking #25

Style Compares Him To Brian Leetch

Projected To Be An Offensive Defenseman

27) Carolina Hurriacanes : Zach Budish Ht 6’ 2” Wt 230lbs

With the 27th pick of the 2009 NHL Entry Draft the Carolina Hurricanes proudly select from Edina of USHS-MN Right Wing Zach Budish

At 27 the Hurricanes look to hit one out of the park. The team has expressed the lack of size and physicality in their respective top 6. In Budish they certainly add both. Budish it another huge wildcard but there is good reason why scouts were so high on him. He is built like a Mack Truck and he plays a physical brand of hockey. He also has pretty good hands for such a big body. In just 25 games at Edina, Budish managed to put up 50 points. If he ever realizes he is twice the size of the opposition, and he can run over them, he will be a force to recon with. The negative for Budish was that he missed the entire season due to injury. But as in the case of Jared Cowen, he is expected to recover fully.

ISS Ranking #51
Redline Ranking #29
CSS Ranking #22 North American Skaters
McKeens Ranking #22
THN Ranking #44

Style Compares To Ryan Getzlaf

Projected To Be A Power Forward

28) Chicago Blackhawks : Peter Holland Ht 6’ 2” Wt 185

With the 28th pick of the 2009 NHL Entry Draft the Chicago Blackhawks proudly select from Erie of the OHL, Center Peter Holland

With a late first round choice the Hawks choose to draft via BPA. With that they select Peter Holland of Guelph. Holland is a big boy who thinks the game well in all three zones. The type of player that anticipates where the puck will be before the opposition. Gifted hands, and a good skater for his suze. Holland must improve on his physical game, and actually play like his size suggests. He is a safe pick at 28, and probably should have been drafted higher with all of his potential.

ISS Ranking #15
Redline Ranking #24
CSS Ranking #18 North American Skaters
McKeens Ranking #25
THN Ranking #19

Style Compares To Kristian Huselius

Projects To Be A Top 6 Forward

29) Detroit Red Wings : Toni Rajala Ht 5’ 10” Wgt 165lbs

With the 29th pick of the 2009 NHL Entry Draft the Detroit Red Wings proudly select from Iilves Tampare of Finland, Left Wing Toni Rajala

Well it seems every season the Detroit Red Wings manage to somehow pluck the diamond out of the rough. This year the focus on Finnish LW Toni Rajala. Here’s what you need to know about Rajala. First, the negatives…He’s tiny! He pretty much looks as if a stiff wind can blow him over. He also can be intimidated, and at times shuts down against physical play. The positives…How about this kid broke Alex Ovechkins scoring records in the World Jrs! This year in the World Jr U-18’s he won the scoring title by putting up 19 points in 6 games! In Jrs over in Finland Rajala has been a steady PPG producer. Detroit takes notice and with the 29th overall selects Rajala.

ISS Ranking #31
Redline Ranking #34
CSS Ranking #11 European Skaters
McKeens Ranking #45
THN Ranking #49

Style Compares Him To Marty Straka

Projected To Be A Top 6 Forward Power Play Specialist

30) Pittsburgh Penguins : Dylan Olsen Ht 6’ 2” 205lbs

With the 30th pick of the 2009 NHL Entry Draft, the Pittsburgh Penguins proudly select from Camrose of the AJHL Defenseman Dylan Olsen

Dylan Olsen didn’t get too much notice untill the World Jrs came around. That’s where scouts opened their eyes to realize Olsen had the right stuff to get him potential first round notice. Olsen like to throw the body, and his timing is on the mark when he does. But he also has an excellent outlet pass, and he’s quick to anticipate where his forwards are going to be and get the puck there with quick passes out of the zone. Olsen is committed to Minn-Deluth next season.

ISS Ranking #39
Redline Ranking #28
CSS Ranking #27 North American Skaters
McKeens Ranking #17
THN Ranking #41

Style Compares Him To Brooks Orpik

Projected To Be A Physical Two Way Defender


There you have it! Special guest blogger Joe Tucciarone's NHL draft breakdown and preview. Hope you enjoy it and leave some feedback. Also, there is one day left on the poll. Don't be afraid to check it out and vote! Over and out!


He's About 5 Foot 8...

Friday, June 12, 2009


Maxime Talbot. Enough said.


Penguins Force Game 7

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Well hockey fans, it comes down to a 7th and final game to decide this year’s Stanley Cup Champions. The Pittsburgh Penguins took Game 6 at home over the Detroit Red Wings, 2-1, in a wild affair.

Up until Jordan Staal gave the Penguins a 1-0 lead early in the 2nd period, I thought the Penguins had squandered a great chance to be up by at least 3, maybe 4 goals. The Penguins certainly dominated the play. Unfortunately for them, Chris Osgood was on his game and gave Detroit the backbone they needed to have a real chance at taking home the cup. Tyler Kennedy looked like he gave the Pens an easy insurance goal with his great hustle in the 3rd period and it was looking mighty good for the Pens at that point. However, this is the Detroit Red Wings - and I sensed desperation from this team like no other time in these playoffs.

The Detroit Red Wings showed why they are the defending champs, as Kris Draper cut the lead to 1 on a nice rebound shot past Marc-Andre Fleury. With the lead cut to just 1 goal, I felt Pittsburgh sort of backed off a little too much. In doing so, the blueline for the Pens was easily crossed by the Wings in their attempt to tie up the game. Marc-Andre Fleury had to make many key saves, especially after Brooks Orpik (who had a strong game) coughed up a terrible pass inside the Wings blueline that led to a Dan Cleary breakaway. The game very well could have been tied up due to his gaff! Not smart, not smart at all! In the final seconds of the game, Detroit did everything that they could to tie it up, but they were denied by Rob Scuderi - not once, but twice inside the crease. And no Pierre McGuire, he did not put his hand on the puck!

So what do we have now? What we have is the ultimate game… Game 7 in the Stanley Cup Finals. Both teams have defended home ice and now Detroit has the opportunity to win 4 in a row at home to defend their cup. Pittsburgh, on the other hand, has gained one game over last years finals and has a legitimate chance to upset the Red Wings. Game 7 will be interesting, to say the very least.

Lastly, Pierre McGuire is starting to drive me nuts! He continues to be very overbearing with his constant input during the game. For example: “That’s a penalty!”, “That was dangerous!”, “That should have been interference!”. Just stop it. It’s hockey. It’s a tough and physical game to play... Enough said! Over and out!

EDIT: Well, the poll has closed. It looks like Rangers fans think Ryan Callahan should be the #1 RFA priority to attend to. I can't say I disagree! Go check out the new poll on the lower right hand navigation bar - relating to Marian Gaborik.


The Old Dog Still Has Bite!

Saturday, June 6, 2009

What can you say about a total ass kicking that the Detroit Red Wings laid on the Pittsburgh Penguins by a score of 5-0? Domination, suffocation, you name it - it was there. Pittsburgh had one chance and once chance only… and that was wasted in the first 5 minutes. A lousy PP and she was all over from there.

Crosby: no show. Malkin: no show. Marc-Andre Fleury: no show. I think you are getting my point! The Red Wings had their way with the Penguins, the “new NHL way” and no one does it better than them. I really don’t think Osgood had to make a tough save all night! The big red blanket of the Wings was draped all over the Pens and their efforts to create offense were just shut down. This was a crushing blow to the Penguins after coming off of a big high from Games 3 and 4. Now the question is… can they bounce back? I hope they can, but it will be tougher than most people think. I could get into making plenty of excuses for the Penguins, but this was Detroit’s finest game yet and even I can’t take that away from them. When the Wings are on, they are a real tough team to beat. Not only that, but they are allowed to do it with the comfort of the NHL’s umbrella in the new age game (very tough combo to overcome). Good luck Pittsburgh, you’re gonna need it!

One last thing. Can someone please put a cork in Pierre McGuire? What does he want the Penguins players to do? They know they can’t win the game, so you want them to just be choir boys? Sorry, Pierre. The NHL has taken just about everything that they can out of the game when it comes to physical and nasty play (something that should have a place in the game, just ask the fans) and you want some more composure? It’s alright though for Helm, Holmstrom, Franzen, Kronwall, etc. to run around and hit everything in site? Of course when they are challenged, they cower like dogs. Or in Franzen’s case, he gets hit with an elbow and then acts like he’s in excruciating pain - yet somehow manages to contribute on the ensuing PP. Give me a break! Over and out!


Well Fans, We Have a Series!

Thursday, June 4, 2009

The Pittsburgh Penguins have tied up the chase for Lord Stanley at 2 games a piece. With a gargantuan 2nd period effort of 3 goals in just over 4 minutes, the Penguins overcame a 2-1 deficit and won Game 4 by a score of 4-2.

The biggest goal by far was the Jordan Staal shorthanded effort when he used his big body to gain an edge on Brian Rafalski. Staal was able to rip a quick forehand shot past a stunned Chris Osgood. I knew that he had Rafalski beat at center ice and Staal finished it off perfectly. Big goal? Probably the biggest goal of the series thus far. Had Detroit scored on that PP, it would have been all but over in my eyes. From there, the Pens exploded with 2 goals, one by Sidney Crosby (on a great pass from Malkin) and the other by Tyler Kennedy (after a nice forecheck effort and passing play). Those goals really put Detroit behind the 8-ball for the rest of the game. How nice must it be to have the luxury of not one, but two of the best players in the world playing on the same team? If only my Rangers… oh, well!

So what have we learned so far other than both teams have held serve at home? Is Detroit showing some sluggishness and age? I doubt it! Can Pittsburgh maintain this youthful run that they are on? Who knows. I know one thing for sure, it’s now a series to watch with great expectations. No one has the edge yet and Game 5 should be a real beauty!

Now, on to my appearance on Ron Duguay and Ken Daneyko’s awesome radio show, “Ice Breakers” on Sirius XM Radio. What a great show it was tonight with “The Maven” Stan Fischler and former Full House actor, comedian, and huge Red Wings fan Dave Coulier (he saw me play for the Windsor Spitfires back in 1975, how cool!). We also had the pleasure of talking to Ron Greschner, who just launched his new website (www.greschnersports.com). If you want authentic sports memorabilia, that’s the site for you. The final guest on the show was current New York Ranger, Scott Gomez. I must admit, at times I’ve been very critical of him, but after talking to him… I have a better understanding of the pressure that he is under. Oh, by the way, he’s very funny as he was giving up some old Ken Daneyko stories. It really was a great show. Be sure to check it out, you will not be disappointed. Trust me on that.

I'd also like to thank Eddie "The Mouth" over at http://www.rangercrisis.com/ for coming up with some old DVDs of me playing with the Rangers! Over and out!


The Pens Make It Interesting, Win 4-2

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

The Pittsburgh Penguins, left for dead by many, have made the Stanley Cup Finals at the very least an "interesting" series with a 4-2 victory over the Detroit Red Wings. The Pens got a nice hand from the NHL and the officiating as they were given the benefit of the doubt more often than not in Game 3. Much like Detroit was given in the first 2 games.

The Penguins started out fast and controlled the opening play with a ton of pressure. In turn, this got Pittsburgh the lead on a nice shot by Maxime Talbot which beat Chris Osgood on the short side. All the momentum was lost however when the Penguins got confused with the new line changes (trying to get Crosby away from Zetterberg) and Zetterberg tied the game up at 1-1 on a nice snapshot. The only question that I have on this one is why was Crosby gliding behind his net while there was 2 Detroit players in front? Sorry, Sid. That's a no-no! From there, Detroit took all the momentum that the Pens had and turned it into their own. Although I thought it was a cheap call on Brooks Orpik, the Wings took advantage on the ensuing PP with Johan Franzen roofing one by Marc-Andre Fleury to give the Wings the 2-1 lead. Pittsburgh was able to tie the game back up at 2 on a PP when Kris Letang (who almost whiffed completely on the first attempt) was able to get his shot off and it flew between Osgood's legs. At this point I thought it was crucial that Pittsburgh tied the game up before the period ended. It was a big boost for the Pens.

Detroit came out flying in the 2nd period and really controlled the play the entire way through. On the flip side, the Pens looked really sloppy and a step slow. Fortunately for the Penguins, it was a scoreless period for the first time in the Finals. Fleury had to be sharp in this period as he turned away 14 shots. In the 3rd period, Pittsburgh was the aggressor and really took it to the Wings. Their hard work finally paid off with a PP goal on a blast by Sergei Gonchar. Osgood did get a piece of the shot, but it was not enough. The final 9 1/2 minutes of the contest was just wild as both teams went up and down the ice with reckless abandon. Maxime Talbot finally put it away with an empty net goal, making the final score 4-2 in favor of the Pens.

When you look at this game, you gotta wonder once again about the officiating. It was horrible. If you're a Wings fan... you start with pointing out how on Earth does an officiating crew miss 6 players on the ice for Pittsburgh for 20-30 seconds! Let's see... 2 referees, 2 linesmen, and the Detroit bench screaming. Not one official picks up on this? You have got to be kidding, right? Basically what has happened is that both teams have benefited from non-calls and each has resulted in wins for both sides. Is this a good thing? I don't think so. But this is what we have and it's not going to get any better. Trust me. At least we have a series! I think... Over and out!

**Also, the poll is closed and a new one is up. It seems like the majority think Colton Orr will not be a Ranger next season. I hope this isn't the case! Well, go ahead and vote on the new poll.


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