I read an interesting article on the mothership recently and it featured a prospect that has been mentioned on Blueshirt Banter by some members. The article which can be found here is a great read. It goes on to detail how we acquired the 6th round pick to select Festh and how it ultimately may end up as a big time steal. In my opinion Glen Sather may be a horrible GM when it comes to actually signing free agents, but his success in the draft and trade market has been top notch.
Not too long ago the Rangers farm system was shot. We needed to restock the whole system and we really did a great job of that. I think when you draft well, you build your team better with young talent that can be a core of your team. Right now our system is stocked full of young talent. We already know that we have one of the best defenseman talent in the NHL. Then take a look at our forwards.Chris Kreider, Christian Thomas, Carl Haggelin and now Jesper Festh. I really believe the Rangers are destined for great things in the near future because of the way we have restocked our farm system.
I have heard Jesper Fasth's name dropped a few times during game time threads. Many have said he was the most impressive player they saw while observing our young talent. I really cannot say that I know too much about him because frankly I have never seen him play. But every time I see or hear his name mentioned its always some high praise. Everything I have read recently suggests Fasth may have been the steal of the 2010 NHL Draft.
The article also mentions that we may have landed another star in Tim Erixon. Erixon who is a fellow Swedish import like Fasth, has major talent. Basically Glen Sather has assembled two of the best up and coming prospects in hockey in Erixon and Fasth. Tim Erixon is one of the best hockey prospects in the world and landing him for just 2 2nd round picks is a major steal. Now we have arguably the best defensive talent in the NHL. Sather may be a free agent signing away from being bashed again, but you cannot deny the mans success in the draft. He is also one of the best trading GM's I have ever seen. How he is able to swoop in and steal a player away I will never know.
Jesper Fasth may not be ready to come to America just yet. In the article it suggests that Fasth would rather come to the Rangers late than early. In a way that is a good thing. He is acknowledging the fact that he still needs work and respects the level of play in the NHL. Everything that I read about Fasth suggests he is going to be a star in the NHL and has immense talent right now. His major strength is speed and his skating ability. Many offensive prospects can do it all, but skate. Fortunately this kid is a extremely good skater already.
He already has a great offensive game and should improve on that which is scary for Rangers opponents because this kid is already one of the best players not in the NHL. I am willing to say we see Jesper Fasth in a Rangers uniform by 2012-2013. I know I can wait a year or two, most likely two from what Fasth says in his interviews. Also I wouldn't be shocked to see him come over next year. He thinks he is two years away from being a NHL caliber player, I believe its more like a year. At least he is willing to come over here prepared and battle tested compared to coming over here unprepared.
Tim Erixon on the other hand is ready for the NHL now in my opinion. We acquired this guy for peanuts, a 2011 2nd round pick. Considering that he is widely said to be a top 10-15 pick this year had he re-entered the NHL Draft, that's a major value for us. I think Erixon will enter training camp with the job to lose. I think Erixon is penciled in for a job on this team next season. All he has to do is come to camp and show Torts that he is dependable enough to play at a high level this season.
Erixon adds more talent to an already extremely talented defensive core. Staal and Girardi may be the best pairing in the NHL. Sauer was great last year and I was really happy we finally gave him a shot to play for the Rangers. Del Zotto is polarizing in my opinion. He is the offensive puck moving player we need in the defense and on the power play. There is no denying his talent, but he needs to get his mind right. Ryan McDonagh is one of the best prospects in hockey in my opinion. He will continue to grow and improve. I want Gilroy back but I doubt he is retained and this is where Erixon could take over. Erixon could also take over for McCabe considering his age and what it would cost to keep him. Regardless I see Erixon being a major part of the team next season.
Acquiring Tim Erixon is basically the writing on the wall for what the Rangers will do in the draft later this month. I expect the Rangers to either go after a playmaking center or a offensively skilled forward. Picking at 15 we should have plenty of options on the board when it comes time for us to make our selection. The only other position that the Rangers may draft for is goalie, but I wouldn't be too pleased with that strategy. Its time to go out and get that playmaking center. There are a few in the draft that should be available when we pick. We could also look for that scoring threat we need on the wing. This happens to be a draft with a bunch of really talented scorers as well. The Rangers really cannot fudge this pick up because there is so much talent available anyway. Remember that Gordie Clark plays a big part in the draft and he has had a lot of success in recent drafts for the Rangers. I am confident the Rangers will land a great player with the 15th overall pick.
Our farm system is stocked up with great talent. We just landed one of the best hockey prospects in the world with Tim Erixon. Jesper Fasth is on his way to becoming a great offensive threat. We hold the 15th overall pick in the upcoming draft. We should have some cap room to go out and make a key acquisition. We have great young talent on our NHL roster and a world class goaltender. Everything is looking good for the Rangers in the near future. Finally this team is back on track and building a team the right way. I expect big things from the Rangers over the next two years. So look at all the positives and feel good about our team, because we are developing into one of the better teams in the league.