The 2013 NHL Draft came and went this past weekend and it was relatively uninteresting in Rangers-land. No draft picks were moved in or out, Glen Sather stood fast and left Gordie Clark to select the players he thought would best help this organization.
Left to his own devices Gordie used his five selections on five projects, none of whom project to compete for a roster spot in fall camp. Fans will have to patient for this current crop of prospects to develop and hopefully we’ll see some offensive output from this class several years down the road. It is interesting to note that the Rangers drafted two players from the QMJHL – the same amount of players selected from the Q since 2007 (in which they also took two).
Here's a look at each of the five:
Clark opened the third round by selecting University of North Dakota commit, Adam Tambellini. Tambellini absolutely dominated his BCHL competition this past season. Tambellini used his size, speed and great shot release to give teams a headache. He’ll have to continue to develop his defensive game and turn into an all-around effective two-way player. He will more than likely spend all four years at NoDak to grow into his body and grow his game.
Pavel Buchnevich, the second of the third round picks, is a wild card. Buchnevich is a highly skilled offensive dynamo. He stood out this year in at the Under-18 tournament in his home country showing off his skill and playmaking abilities. It feels like well-worn territory, but with every Russian draft pick the big question of whether he will actually come to the USA is asked. Buchnevich has two years remaining on his KHL contract so there isn’t much to get excited over just yet. If he does come though, he will hopefully be stronger and physically more mature than he is now.
The selection of Anthony Duclair closed out the third round for the Rangers. The Quebec Remparts winger burst on the scene as a rookie with 31 goals and 66 points in 63 games. Expectations for Duclair went sky high and there were musings that he might be go in the first round this year. However, injuries and inconsistency led to Duclair’s stock dropping sharply. If he can find a groove and add some strength Duclair could be a terrific prospect. The slick winger is an absolute stud in the offensive zone. He has elite speed that allows him to retrieve loose pucks and generate scoring chances. He also has great puck protection skills. Duclair has to improve his defensive game and show better positioning in his own zone. He will be an exciting prospect to follow over the next few years.
There’s not much to say about the Rangers fourth round selection, P.E.I. Rockets’ Ryan Graves. Graves is a work in progress. He attempts to play a physical, intimidating game in a league that is not overtly physical. Graves needs to improve is skating and footwork in order to play the shutdown role he is sized for.
With the Rangers final pick of the 2013 NHL Draft, they chose goalie Mackenzie Skapski of the Kootenay Ice. Now in my preview I had stated that I did not thing where the Rangers were selecting a goalie would be a wise choice. I stand by that opinion. Skapski posted a 34-25 record with an unremarkable 2.78 GAA and .910 Save % for the Ice. He lead his team to the eighth and final playoff spot in the WHL’s Eastern Conference – to which Kootenay got railroaded by top seed Edmonton. Skapski did have a fantastic February and recorded four shutouts with a 1.27 GAA and .956 Save %.
Skapski is a big body in the net. He uses his size to cut down angles well, but he needs to work on his recovery. In limited viewings, Skapski seemed slow on rebounds and therefore exposed on second and third shots.