Yeah, I saw that. I liked Bourret. He was a little sparkplug, and maybe the best open ice hitter on the whole team. I guess his lack of size made him expendable though.
Here's my take on the Rangers picks...
The 2008 NHL Entry draft is now over, and in one of the deepest drafts in recents years, the Rangers come out with 7 players total. As a whole, nobody really knows what to expect out of this particular class, as it is way too early to tell. But, one thing is for sure, the Rangers for the 2nd year in a row went off the board in their draft process. In what was labeled the year of the defenseman, they did manage a very solid pick in the first round, but personally I was left scratching my head a little with their failure to
1) move up and grab one of the physical defenseman that were available
2) not draft either Carlsson or Tedenby with the 20th overall pick.
But in the end, here?s what we got, and brief scouting reports on the new class.
1st Round- Michael Del Zotto:
In my mock draft, I had Del Zotto going 13th overall. So, although his average ranking by most services was in the mid 20?s, I had a feeling he was going to go a little earlier than that. Del Zotto a couple of seasons ago was labeled the best defenseman of his class. In the OHL, he was drafted 2nd overall behind Stamkos, so the skill level is certainly there. Del Zotto fisnished 3rd in defenseman in scoring in the OHL. That in iself is impressive. When you also consider he fishing right behind Bobby Sanguinetti in that category. Del Zotto is a very similar player to Sanguinetti. He is the proto-typical offensive defenseman. He though is slightly more physical than Sanguinetti. Similar to Fedor Tyutin in the sense that he will come out of nowhere and throw a vicious open ice hit, and then for the next two games you won?t see him so much as bump anyone. In the end, this is a very solid pick for the Rangers, but what left me personally scratching my head is that they already have Sanguinetti in the system. The need IMO here was really for one of the physical defenders that were available in this class?and one of them John Carlson was on the board when the Rangers opted for Del Zotto. For the Rangers this is just another case of BPA. Gordie Clark did leak out his intentions to move up in this years draft. Personally I think it was their intentions to take one of the physical defenseman the clas shad to offer, but they probably got outbid. The reason I think that is because they didn?t have a sweater made up for him when it was their turn to draft. If you remember last season, the Rangers had a sweater already made for Cherepanov, and over the years, the Rangers had sweaters made up for nearly every single pick in the first round. So no sweater, to me means they had no intentions on taking Del Zotto, but when he was there they couldn?t pass up on him. Next season, I am certainly going to get Gordie Clarks ear somewhere outside café 31 and ask him directly what their intentions were in the first round. In my draft the Rangers took Teubert who was ranked anywhere from 15-28th overall, mostly around 18th or so. He ended up going 13th overall I believe to the Kings. Remember the name?this kid is good, and will only get better. Rangers missed the boat on this one, but still get a very good player in Del Zotto. This kid will be in the show in a couple of seasons.
2nd Round- Derek Stephan:
OK, so the Rangers didn?t really address a need with the first pick, but they did get a very good player in Del Zotto. In the 2nd I am salivating that many of the guys I had pegged were still available. Kiril Petrov, the number 2 ranked European skater was still there. Rumors swirled he might not come over for a few years due to the lack of a transfer agreement?but Petrov is 6?3? 212lbs, and a bull down low. He waould have certainly added size to the future top 6 of the Rangers, and with Anisimov, and Cherepanov already in the system I was surprise dthey passed him up. Niemi was also available, who has a total cannon of a shot from the point. Something that none of the current Rangers really have. Instead, the Rangers pass up on these guys, go off the board totally and draft Shattuck?s Derek Stephan!!! Not sure where this pick came from, but I would imagine that the Rangers have fully scouted this guy for sometime now. He does come from a great pre-school, ands he is the leading offensive force there, so statistically speaking, he is intriguing?but again, I was very surprised, as I thin he would have been available in the 3rd and maybe even the 4th round. Anyway, after further reading up on Stephan, I think this kid could surprise a few people. He has an amazing skillset, and supposedly is one of the faster players in the draft. Every scout commented on his first three strides being his best attribute. Also, scouts raved about how good his hands were down low. Hopefully Gordie Clark found a Diamond in the rough here. On a team loaded with centers, Stephan will really have to turn heads to make this club.
3RD Round- Evgeny Gratchev
Not really sure why this guy was available in the 3rd? In quite a few mock drafts, he was taken in the first round, or early in the 2nd. Gratchev is a big kid 6?3? at the age of 18, and already 210lbs. He plays more of a North American style game, than a European. He will go in the corners, and muck it up. He is very good down low, and scouts say, you can?t knock the guy off the puck. Sound like a guy that will fit in real well in Renney?s system. Renney loves the puck control game down low in the offensive zone. This pick makes a lot of sense to me as Gratchev plays both the wing, and center. He will be the guy digging in the corners, and playing physical to create a little more room for Anisimov, and Cherepanov. I am not the biggest proponent of drafting Russian, or Czech players, as they seem to be more of a crapshoot than the Canadiens, American, Swedes or Finns, but in this case I love this pick. It addresses a need for size up front, and also completes the potention line in the future of Ani, Chere and now Gratchev. Keep an eye on this kid. I fully expect him to make the team within 2 seasons.
3rd Round- Thomas Kundratchev:
Rangers make a deal here and take another player, that they thought would be long gone by this time. Kundratchev was ranked n the 40?s by many of the scouting services. Guy has a big point shot, and is labeled as a physical two-way defenseman. I personally don?t see him as a physical defenseman, but more out of the Karpotsev mode. He can play the body, but is very inconsistent. He has a good skillset, but almost every scout said the same thing about him. He is overly aggressive, and takes himself out of the play often, but being the first to initiate contact. Scouts also say he is easily beaten to the outside. But?the positives are his skating which is supposedly way above average, and again his point shot. With the wealth of defenseman in the system, I think this guy will have a hard time making the team.
4th Round- Dale Weise:
For you guys that like the tougher aspects of the game, you will love this kid. He?s 6?2?, he 202lbs, and he plays a rough and tough style of North American hockey. He gets a lot of garbage goals around the net, and is the type of player that sacrifices himself for the benefit of the team. He likes to drop the mitts for himself and his teammates, but he is not just a fighter. Guy loves the physical game, bangs in the corners, and is a very effective forechecker. He will be Hartford bound for a few seasons, but has a chance to crack the lineup as an energy guy/4th line checking winger in a few years. Skating is a little suspect.
5th round- Chris Doyle:
Somehow this player was overlooked until the 5th round. Doyle was a PPG player in the QMJHL, and was considered one of the most dangerous offensive players in the Q. He has an awesome skillset, and in 4 playoff games managed 6 points. Scouts love his offense, and explosive speed. He is not a complete player yet, and has to work on his defenseive coverage, but a very interesting player for a 5th rounder. This pick has Gordie Clark written all over it! The Rangers have always done real well in the later rounds, and in the case of Doyle, they might have found another solid late rounder.
6th round- Mitch Gaulton:
I love this pick! I was really hoping the Rangers would have found a way to nab one of the physical defenseman in this years draft. But as the picks went on, it seemed that wasn?t the avenue they were going. In the 6th round they finally got one. Here?s the scoop on this guy. Gaulton came out of Midget as one of the top 4 ranked prospects going into Jrs. He played a mean physical game, and opposing players knew he was on the ice, when they played against him. As the season went on he had injured himself. He ended up with season-ending elbow surgery, which made him drop significantly from the Rankings. Some services though kept him up there in the top 50 or so players available. Remember at one point, Gaulton was considered a top 5 player along with Stamkos, Doughty, and Del Zotto. This is a great 6th round choice here, and Gaulton is a very young kid, and hopefully resilient enough to withstand the the injured elbow. His skating is very good, as are his insticts. Great first outlet pass, good point shot. Not too many holes in his game. This pick reminds me a lot of Michael Sauer. Sauer in his draft year was ranked a top 5 defenseman, but separated his shoulder. He was taken by the Rangers in the 2nd round, and has since become one of the top rated prospect in the Rangers system. For Gaulton, I think in time he too will surprise a few people, and if he can get healthy, I like his chances down the road to make the team, not only by his skillset, but due to the lack of physical presence on the Rangers blue line.
For the new draft class of 2008, the Rangers have wasted no time in getting them acclimated into the system. Rangers prospect development camp starts today. MSG I believe will be covering it this year. Good that the new crop of players will be thrown right into the mix to see where they are on the current Rangers depth chart among prospects.