The 2013 NHL Entry Draft has come and gone, and with it the New York Rangers now have four new players to add to their ranks. Despite the Rangers not having a first or second round pick, things were still really interesting. Let's take a look at everything that unfolded on draft night:
- The Rangers kicked things off by trading for Minnesota Wild defenseman Justin Falk. Mike wrangled up some information from Hockey Wilderness about the former fourth round pick, so he's going to have a more in depth look at the trade in the next couple of days. My quick review? I think the Rangers did a really good job getting some quality defensive depth, especially when you realize Ben Ferriero wasn't making the team next year.
- Then it was announced the Rangers have hired Ulf Samuelsson to work as an assistant coach under Alain Vigneault. There was speculation Samuelsson put his name in to be an assistant right after Vigneault was hired, and that appears to be accurate now that he's been hired. Look for the Rangers to confirm this sometime in the next few days since it's not official yet.
- Alright, let's move on to the draft now. Throughout the day you got the sense the Rangers had their eyes on a few players and that they might look into trading into the second round. No one truly thought the Rangers were going to move into the first round, especially with how expensive the prices were. There was also a serious amount of speculation that in a draft his deep, the Rangers would be served with using all three of their third round picks and trying to find a gem. In the end, that ideology won out.
- Here's how good the Rangers did with their third rounds picks on paper. Pavel Buchnevich (75th pick) and Anthony Duclair (80th) both could have been late first round picks and no one would have batted an eyelash. Here's both of them being selected in the second round of the My NHL Draft mock. Both players have tons of upside and a world of potential. Let's take a quick look at both:
Buchnevich, who I quickly reviewed right after he was picked here, was ranked 17th (!!) on Hockey Prospectus this year. From his rankings:
Buchnevich had a quality season in Russia and in international play, despite suffering injuries during parts of the year. The obvious aspect of his game is his skill level. He has high-end puck possession skills, with top-of-the-line hands and hockey sense. He shows good offensive instincts, standing out through his reads and creative decisions. He can be a quality passer, although he is prone to the selfish play now and then. An NHL executive told me that he has the offensive ability to dominate, at times. His skating garners a mixed bag of reviews. One scout described it as average, with another saying he is very good, thanks to his impressive acceleration and ability to put defenders on their heels. Buchnevich's area of concern is his physicality. He is roughly average in height, but he needs to add major bulk. His style of play is not one of physical intimidation.
Ranking explanation: Adam Erne is a better skater with more physicality than Buchnevich, but the Severstal forward's puck skills, vision, and offensive instincts won out in the end. Erne has a better statistical record, as he notched 55 points in 64 games as a 16-year-old, with over a point per game this year in the QMJHL. Buchnevich has been a near point-per-game player in the Russian junior league the past two seasons, but there is a competition adjustment to be made. There are reasonable arguments for either player, but Buchnevich's strengths and upside make him the choice. Erne is perhaps more safe, and certainly skilled in his own right, but he does not have the potentially elite puck possession tools of Buchnevich.
What jumps out for me about Buchnevich are his WJC U-18 numbers: five goals and six assists for 11 points in seven games. For a team like Russia (at a WJC level), those are outstanding numbers. He's a point-per-game player in the MHL (KHL juniors) and had a goal and an assists in 12 KHL games last year.
I wanted the Rangers to use their picks on players with significant offensive upside. Buchnevich is just that. Look at the ranking above. "High-end puck possession skills, with top-of-the-line hands and hockey sense." "Elite puck possession tools." Those are the things you want to see out of a guy like this. He fell because he still has two years left on his KHL contract. But the Rangers can be patient with him. He'll be 20 when he's off that deal, no need to rush him.
Duclair exploded onto the scene in the QMJHL in 2011-12, posting a little over a point per game as a 16-year-old. He followed it up with another quality campaign, despite a drop in his scoring rate. Duclair is a dynamic, exciting player, with high-end skating, if not better. He can be fun to observe because of his great speed, easily turning on the jets and putting defenders on their heels. Combining that skating ability with his great puck skills gives him the flair to create scoring chances and goals out of nothing. He shows the ability to make some quality passes, and although I wouldn't describe him as selfish, he can try to be too flashy in his rushes. In addition, he sometimes attempts to force passes that are too difficult. Although he shows some decent work ethic in physical battles, he could stand to bulk up a fair amount, and he needs to continue to work on his defensive game.
In the 2011-2012 junior season only No. 1 overall pick Nathan MacKinnon had more points than Duclair (if we're looking at players who were 17 and under at the time). Look at this list. The names on that list are pretty impressive.
Some minor injuries hampered Duclair, and it hurt his numbers a little, which might have accounted for his fall. Still, the Rangers have to be thrilled (and shocked) he fell into their laps in the third round. Especially when you think about the fact that they used their FINAL third round pick on him. He's a guy to keep an eye on for sure.
- And with their 65th pick the Rangers select Adam Tambellini. Tambellini is a prototypical Rangers pick. A hulking center with offensive ability. The Rangers have dipped into the BCHL ranks before (and we actually speculated they might again) so this isn't out of left field. The Rangers have no issues waiting for Tambellini to develop through the NCAA. Gordie Clark said the team would wait all four years if they have to. He's currently slated to go to the University of North Dakota. You can read his profile here.
I'm going to go into the Rangers other two picks later (this story has already reached more than 1,200 words). Just one more note: The Rangers are actively trying to trade Ryan Clowe's rights, so, keep that in mind as we move through this week.
Thoughts on all this guys?