2013 NHL Draft Preview: Taylor Cammarata Edition

A draft preview of USHL center/left wing Taylor Cammarata.

From now until the 2013 NHL Entry Draft Blueshirt Banter is going to be previewing some of the candidates the New York Rangers might select. Since the Rangers do not have a first or second round pick, we will be looking at players rated to be drafted in or around the third round in order to familiarize ourselves with players the Rangers might select with their three third round picks.

At the end of the day we really don't know what's going to happen on draft night. Glen Sather might pull a rabbit out of his hat and trade back into the first round (unlikely), he might find someone he likes and make a move to get into the second round (possible) or he might just stick with his third rounders and find some talent in the later rounds (something Sather and his scouting staff have had success with).

This morning we're going to be talking a look at USHL center/left win Taylor Cammarata.

Cammarata is a very interesting prospect in this year's draft. He's a player who lead the USHL in scoring, is committed to the University of Minnesota next year and really opened eyes with his offensive ability. In 59 USHL games this year he scored 38 goals and 55 assists for 93 points.

Here is his Elite Prospects page if you want to see all of his numbers for yourself.

Here is his draft preview from Hockey Prospectus, who has him ranked at 59th.

Cammarata was the top scorer in the USHL this year, an impressive feat for a 17-year-old, leading the league in scoring by six points. He is a great puck possessor, with very quick hands, and he can produce rapid movements. He is also an agile and shifty player, making him difficult to check. Cammarata receives praise for his hockey brain as well, and he has shown that he can be a great playmaker, setting up teammates well, with a high level of offensive creativity and instincts. Why is a highly talented player producing at an elite level in a difficult scoring league not a first rounder? For one, he is small, measuring at just 5'7". For another, he has just average top speed, which is underwhelming at his size, despite his agility and good acceleration. I have heard divided opinions on his willingness to play a gritty game, with one scout saying he will not engage at all, and another saying he likes to play that style. He is committed to the University of Minnesota for 2013-14.

There is obvious concern about his size, as you can see above, but his offensive abilities have to outweigh that. The Rangers have three third round picks, so they can afford to take a couple of gambles. In fact, I would argue the Rangers should take at least two high-risk, high-reward players to see if they pan out. You don't have a first or a second round pick, there are very few sure things in the third round, take a chance and see if something pans out.

I think this is the kind of player the Rangers might be interested in. They can use his offense and he has a ton of upside. The risk is that his game might not translate to the next level because of his size. We'll get a pretty good idea of whether or not that is true when he plays in the NCAA.

The Rangers are not afraid to put in a pick they may have to wait for as they go though college (Chris Kreider, Brady Skjei and Cristoval Nieves are prime examples) so this wouldn't be a pick out of left field.

I think he's a player that's worth it.

What do you guys think?