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Rangers pick six on draft's second day

by Staff Writer / New York Rangers
Ethan Werek proved his ability to score goals in a big way after former NHL great Doug Gilmour became his coach with the OHL's Kingston Frontenacs last season. Werek is known for his tireless work-ethic.

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By Jim Cerny,

After selecting Chris Kreider with the 19th overall pick in the 2009 NHL Entry Draft on Friday night at the Bell Centre in Montreal, the Rangers were extremely busy -- adding six draft picks and two other players to the organization during Day 2 of the draft on Saturday.

The Rangers not only selected six players -- including the son of Hall-of-Fame defenseman Ray Bourque -- in the second-through-seventh rounds of the draft, but the club also added two players via trade.

Hulking forward Brian Boyle, a 6-foot-7 former first-round pick, was acquired from the Los Angeles Kings in exchange for a third-rounder in the 2010 NHL Entry Draft. And unsigned goaltender Chad Johnson, a Hobey Baker Award finalist after starring for the University of Alaska-Fairbanks this past season, was picked up from the Pittsburgh Penguins for one of the Rangers’ three fifth-round selections in this year’s draft.

Boyle spent parts of each of the last two seasons in the National Hockey League playing for the Kings. Last season he recorded four goals and an assist in 28 games, while also totaling 42 penalty minutes. In 36 career NHL contests, the 24 year-old Boyle has eight goals.

“Brian is a guy we’ve known since his championship days with (Boston College),” stated Gordie Clark, the Rangers Director, Player Personnel. “He’s a big guy with skill.”

The 23-year-old Johnson was the CCHA Player of the Year in 2008-09. He posted a microscopic 1.66 goals against average in 35 games, while also recording six shutouts and a sterling .940 save percentage at Alaska-Fairbanks.

“Chad’s a goaltender with size and quickness, coming off just a scary good year,” explained Clark. “Now we have another goaltender that has the chance to play in the NHL.”

With their first selections on Saturday, the Rangers chose two more forwards to follow Kreider, the speedy winger from Phillips Academy in Andover, Mass., who was the club’s first-round pick on Friday.

Ethan Werek, a forward who played for Kingston in the OHL this past season, was selected by the Rangers with the 47th overall pick. And Ryan Bourque, a center from the United States 18-and-under Developmental Program, was chosen 80th overall.

“We know there is a goal-scoring concern, and addressing that was the number one priority for us at the draft,” said Clark. “We wanted to get goals and get faster as an organization, and I think we accomplished that. Plus Werek and Bourque might have been the two hardest-working kids we saw all year.”

Werek, a rugged six-foot-two, 195-pounder, notched 32 goals and 64 points while playing in 66 games for Kingston this past year. Werek’s game really took off when former NHL star Doug Gilmour took over the coaching reins in Kingston. With Gilmour behind the bench, Werek recorded 49 points in 43 contests.

“My last look at him prior to the draft was at the combine, and everything he did was with maximum effort,” Clark said of Werek. “Now take that work ethic and throw in the fact we think he’s a goal scorer, plus he’s like a sponge learning how to become a pro from Dougie Gilmour, and we think he’s going to be a real good player.”

Ryan Bourque, a center who played with the U.S. Under-18 team in 2008-09, will pursue his hockey career under Patrick Roy in Quebec next year. Roy and Bourque's father, Ray Bourque, won the Stanley Cup as teammates with Colorado in 2001.
The 5-foot-9, 165-pound Bourque, who said he had a premonition that the Rangers would select him sometime on Saturday, is a tenacious center who scored 20 goals and added 26 assists in 48 games this past season. He will be leaving the U.S. program to play for NHL legend Patrick Roy with the Quebec Remparts of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League in 2009-10.

Of course, being around a hockey Hall of Famer like Roy won’t be anything new to Bourque, whose dad was a legendary defenseman for both the Boston Bruins and Colorado Avalanche.

“He’s a player who plays with a lot of energy, who’s got some good skills, and who’s not big in stature, but who’s got a big heart,” Ray Bourque said of his son. “He goes after it, and that’s what (the scouts) like. He brings it shift in and shift out. He’s a lot of fun to watch.”

Bourque’s connection to the National Hockey League is not only linked through his father. Bourque’s older brother, Chris, is a forward for the Washington Capitals.

“He’s been a huge influence on me, and it’s just awesome to have him to see how his development is going and to see just how tough it is to make it,” Ryan said of brother Chris.

Another intriguing connection that Bourque has in place is that he and Kreider both hail from Boxford, Mass., and the two went to middle school together before going their separate ways in high school.

“Pretty small world, it’s crazy how that works,” said Bourque.

Following Bourque’s selection, the Rangers did not pick again until the fifth round where they chose another forward, center Roman Horak from the Czech Republic with the 127th overall selection. Profiled as a swift skater with a nice scoring touch, the six-foot Horak notched 16 goals and 33 points this past season.

One of the appealing things about Horak is that he has made it known that he is coming to North America next season and is opting into the major-junior Canadian Hockey League’s Import Draft draft next week. Clark noted that Horak’s willingness to leave home to learn the North American game and become better acquainted with North America itself was a big plus in the Czech-native’s favor when the Rangers decided to draft him.

Later in the fifth round, the Rangers selected Scott Stajcer, a goaltender who was ranked fifth among all draft-eligible North American goalies by Central Scouting. Last season, while tending goal for Owen Sound in the OHL, the 6-foot-3 Stajcer appeared in 35 games and posted a 3.57 goals against average and a .906 save percentage.

Stajcer’s play improved as the season wore on in Owen Sound, and he eventually took over the No. 1 goaltending position and then was invited to take part in the 2009 CHL Top Prospects Game.

“He’s a big goaltender with a great work-ethic,” explained Clark. “With Chad Johnson closer to turning pro, we can take our time with (Stajcer) and give him a couple more years at Junior.”

With their final two selections in the 2009 draft, the Rangers chose a pair of defensemen, rugged Daniel Maggio, and Mikhail Pashnin from Russia. Both are intriguing late-round picks,  with Maggio coming back from a knee injury and Pashnin, who already played well for the Russian squad at the 2009 World Junior Championships, being the first overall selection in the recent Kontinental Hockey League draft.

“We are happy with what we accomplished here,” Clark said at the conclusion of the draft. “It all begins with the fact that we think we got an elite player in Kreider, two goal scorers and hard workers the next two picks in Ethan and Ryan, and gained some valuable depth in goal. We feel good about things.”
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