TORONTO CANADA - JANUARY 19: Xavier Ouellet #16 of Team Orr tries to avoid the checking Matt Puempel #18 of Team Cherry in the 2011 Home Hardware CHL/NHL Prospects game on January 19 2011 at the Air Canada Centre in Toronto Canada. (Photo by Claus Andersen/Getty Images)
Next up in the Blueshirt Banter draft pick preview special is 18 year old Matt Puempel. Puempel was the 2009-10 CHL rookie of the year, posting 33 goals and 64 points in 59 games. This led to preseason discussions as someone that would be in the top of this draft, among Gabriel Landeskog, Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, and Adam Larsson Unfortunately for Matt, he played on a terrible Peterborough team this year, and suffered a hip injury late in the year. Those two fact combined to knock Puempel down to 28th in the central scouting rankings. Nonetheless, he is a guy that should be available at 15, and presents considerable upside.
Matt Puempel is a 6'0, 190lb left wing. He finished the 2010-11 season with a line of 35-34-69 in just 55 games. His goal scoring rate trailed only Gabriel Landeskog, among the draft eligible prospects this year, and his point scoring rate only behind Ryan Strome among the WHL prospects. His power play production also rivaled the very best of the group, with 0.60 power play points per game. He's even someone that our rivals on the Island feel is the best fit for us.
Scouting reports, per usual, after the jump.
We start with thescoutingreport.org:
....Puempel still remains as one of the premier goal scorers in this crop. Puempel will likely make a living off his release and shot power/accuracy, but he improved some of the other areas of his game this season as well. It was evident that he started to take some steps to become more of a dominant player on his own and began to create a lot of his own opportunities instead of relying on a center to get him the puck. Assuming NHL teams are satisfied with his injury rehabilitation, Puempel is still very much a Top 15 type player.
Matt is a fantastic player, with both skill and speed, Matt moves the puck well and is able to protect the puck in his own end. Every time his time has the puck you can see Matt getting in front of the net waiting for passes, but he is also not afraid to play in the corners and behind the net. Matt has puck control abilities for beyond the tender age of 17, he is smart enough to fall back to defense if needed or any other position, he can cover his man very well and can create turnovers.
The 2010 CHL Rookie of the Year has unreal hands and offensive hockey sense. He can snipe pucks from anywhere in the offensive zone and does the unexplainable- able to fire the puck from seemingly impossible angles and situations.....Where Puempel loses his shine is in the fact that he is of extremely average size, strength, skating ability and compete level. He's not poor in any of those areas, but NHL scouts look at him and keep thinking how much more dangerous and effective he could be if he just tried a little harder, had an extra step and adds the extra mass that's expected before he hits his physical peak.
As you see, Puempel has the skill, and is considered a natural goal scorer, which as many a Rangers' fan will attest, is something the team sorely lacks. With lots of mock drafts around projecting our preferred targets of Mark McNeil and Joel Armia being taken off the board by the time our pick comes around, Puempel joins a long list of guys that the Rangers will give a look. The question becomes, should be be near the top of the list? Tell us in the comments.