In any professional sport, a team’s success in the Draft is usually no more than a 50/50 coin toss. Hours upon hours of meetings, interviews, scouting assignments and more meetings culminate in a decision that must be made within a five minute span on Draft Day. A player who excels in junior hockey, prep school, the European junior league or in the college ranks doesn’t always pan out in the pros. An underachiever in the amateur ranks may turn out to be the next Pavel Bure or Brian Leetch. And, unlike many of the other professional sports leagues (NBA, NFL), the players selected in the NHL Draft are usually at least a few years away from being in the position to even battle for a roster spot.
But with this being said, having a clear, concise game plan is important for any team in determining the type of player that a team would like to see suit up in their colors.
Rangers Vice President of Player Development, Tom Renney
, oversees all facets of the team’s amateur scouting operations and will be the go-to guy come this weekend at the Blueshirt Draft table.
So, without a first round draft choice to speak of (it was acquired by the Florida Panthers in the Bure trade on March 19), what will the Rangers’ draft philosophy be heading into Saturday’s event? We asked Renney to shed some light on the Blueshirt Draft blueprint.
“We have worked very hard at identifying those players in the draft who best demonstrate Ranger qualities,” said Renney. “We may not have a first round pick per say, but we will be satisfied that our first player chosen will be in keeping with the philosophy that saw us draft the likes of Dan Blackburn
, Fedor Tutin
and Garth Murray
last year. Fedor, who was chosen in the second round, could turn out to be one of the best picks in the entire draft from a year ago. And any time other NHL teams talk about our prospects, the first name off their lips is Murray. To top it off, we feel as mid to late round picks, the likes of Bryce Lampman
, Shawn Collymore
and Ryan Hollweg
clearly demonstrate that our commitment to the Ranger traits - traits that our fans would be proud to associate with - is the proper way to draft. We would love to have a first round pick, and we will be well prepared in case we acquire one, but in the meantime, we're looking for Rangers!”
So, will the Blueshirts be looking to fill any particular position or simply go with the 'best available' approach over the two days in Toronto?
“While we’ll be cognizant of our organizational needs, we feel that we have to remain true to our system of evaluating, rating and ultimately ranking players,” Renney added. “We will follow our list and stroke names off as they are called, keeping in mind that we are working off of OUR list, not the NHL Central Scouting list. There is sure to be some discussion at the table to ensure consensus on a particular player. It is important to acquire the feel of a scout’s passion on a player as the draft unfolds, but by and large, we will take the next best player off of our list.”