With the NHL Draft quickly approaching (16 days to go). I figured now would be a good time to start looking at some of the players that the Rangers may or may not be announcing when they walk up to the podium with the 28th pick in the Draft.
Let's focus on Nicholas Kerdiles shall we?
The 6'2 201lb. left handed winger was Team USA's points leader during the U-18 World Junior Championships as well as putting up 42pts in 50 games last season with the NTDP in the USHL.
While not having a single outstanding skill; Kerdiles is a jack of all trades with high end skating, strength and offensive skill and is defensively responsible in his own end.
Kerdiles is projected as being one of the better forward prospects to be available in the bottom half of the first round and should develop into a solid top 6 power forward.
Below the jump are a couple of profiles on Kerdiles from people who know more than I do.
From Hockey Prospectus' Corey Pronman: an expert on the Draft and player development:
27. Nicolas Kerdiles, Left Wing, USA Under-18 National Team-USHL
Kerdiles is the top forward on the US U-18 team in what has been a weak crop of forwards for them this year. He's not a truly flashy player but certainly has good offensive skills and is a pretty well-rounded player with several offensive elements and gets it done in his own end as well. Kerdiles is a good skater who has a technically sound stride and can really be a pest on the forecheck with his speed. He has solid puck skills with the ability to make the odd move in open ice and shows some creativity off the rush. Kerdiles will flash the ability to be an above-average distributor but is inconsistent in that area as there will be times when he has tunnel vision and doesn't show desirable sense, only to make a great sense play later in the game. He's a hard-working two-way player who will drive the net, pressure physically on the forecheck, and hustle back diligently to help on defense. Kerdiles will also be used on the penalty kill and shows the ability to be effective. He doesn't have a really notable weakness other than his somewhat skinny frame, though as stated above, he doesn't have a standout skill.
From Corey's Top 100 NHL Draft Prospects.
(FYI Corey is a must follow on twitter for all things prospects and draft related: https://twitter.com/#!/coreypronman)
And from Chris Peters over at United States of Hockey
The single biggest reason for Kerdiles to be part of this list is his versatility. He’s defensively responsible, but has great goal-scoring ability and offensive touch. Kerdiles has a solid 6-1, 192-pound frame that he uses well to protect the puck and take opponents off of it. He’s not overly physical, but plays a very steady, strong game.
Here are some of my thoughts on Kerdiles and where he could fit in the Rangers organization:
When it comes to the Rangers organization depth; they could use more size and skill on the forward lines and Kerdiles certainly fills that spot to a tee and while he may not jump directly to the AHL right after the Draft, Nicholes still has time to develop and grow into his body and round out his game.
My semi-educated projection on Kerdiles? A solid, steady top 6 forward who could put up 20-25 goals while still be a physical player.
If there is any player I would want the Rangers to draft I would have Kerdiles at the top of my list.