Josh Brown Draft Story Thursday's Record

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Josh Brown Draft Story Thursday's Record

Postby JEF on Thu Apr 06, 2017 10:33 am

Rangers eyeing best player available at OHL draft
Waterloo Region Record
By Josh Brown
KITCHENER — Draft day strategies are never set in stone.

Take last year's Ontario Hockey League selection as an example.

The Rangers had certain players in mind for their first pick when, surprisingly, defenceman Giovanni Vallati fell all the way to Kitchener's 16th overall slot.

The team quickly abandoned their plan and happily snapped up the rearguard.


"We never thought Vallati would be there for us," said newly minted general manager Mike McKenzie. "Never in a million years.

"It was a good experience last year to be involved in that. You just think he's not going to be there, and the next thing you know we start hearing that maybe teams are passing on him."

Vallati turned out to be a steal. He worked his way up from the third pairing to become a top-four defenceman for the Rangers this past season.

McKenzie and his scouting staff will be on the hunt for more bargains when the OHL's 15-round online draft goes Saturday beginning at 9 a.m.

The Barrie Colts will pick first, followed by the Guelph Storm, North Bay Battalion, Saginaw Spirit and Niagara IceDogs.

The Rangers have the 13th overall selection, which is where they took Mike Davies back in 2013. The club also has single selections in every round but the fourth and eighth, and two picks in the 10th round.

There is little urgency to target certain positions in the draft with every player from this year's roster — except overagers Frank Hora, Dylan Di Perna and Darby Llewellyn — eligible to return.

The Rangers will go with the best player available early on and may snag a few high risk-high reward American players later in the draft if it makes sense.

This year's draft isn't front-loaded with tons of top-end talent, but there are still a lot of gems in the mix.

American Jack Hughes, who played for the Toronto Marlboros this past season, is the big catch. Respected scouting service hockeyprospect.com has him rated first in their draft rankings, noting that "he has elite level offensive tools that would make him an impact player immediately upon entering the OHL."

But the 15-year-old is a chancy pick since he has committed to the United States national team development program for next season.

Several local players are expected to go in Saturday's draft, with Kitchener Jr. Rangers centres Justin McCombs and Cole Schwindt and Waterloo Wolves rearguard Nathan Allensen at the top of the list.

Cambridge Hawks centre Ryan Campbell is also intriguing as he finished first in off-ice testing among 77 draft-eligible players invited to a recent combine hosted by the OHL.

The Rangers had a specific plan at the draft two years back.

"We put a premium on speed and skill," said McKenzie. "We found our team was a little bit slow especially playing in our division. Guys that are fast can come in and play right away. They don't need time to adjust to the speed."

Things are different this time around.

"Now we're getting into a position where we can give guys time to develop on a fourth line or third defensive pairing," he said. "Let them kind of grow instead of rushing them in."
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Re: Josh Brown Draft Story Thursday's Record

Postby Sideliner on Thu Apr 06, 2017 8:27 pm

Thanks for posting the article.

I don't see the Rangers taking a flyer on Hughes, Beecher, or Turcotte in the early rounds - especially after the Rippon mess-up last year. However I'm betting that the Knights will get one of them. Not a shot at London, as there was a time when Kitchener was an equally attractive destination....plus they do have all those picks.

I'll be happy if another Vallati slips to #13. At least our last three 1st rounders were better than the previous two.
Last edited by Sideliner on Fri Apr 07, 2017 9:28 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Josh Brown Draft Story Thursday's Record

Postby LoneRanger on Thu Apr 06, 2017 9:50 pm

Sideliner wrote: I don't see the Rangers taking a flyer on Hughes, Beecher, or Turcotte in the early rounds - especially after the Rippon mess-up last year.


If i'm GM and if Beecher is available then i would absolutely grab him...he's the one i'm locked in on

If you want to play it safe then i would suggest selecting Aidan Prueter
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Re: Josh Brown Draft Story Thursday's Record

Postby Medway Bear on Fri Apr 07, 2017 8:14 am

Sideliner wrote:I'll be happy if another Vallati slips to #13. At least our last three 1st rounders were better than the previous two.


Could they have been much worse? Mind you I have not gone back and looked at the players taken after them.

Just curious about other poster's thoughts on our last 3 first rounds (Murray's only 3 in charge). Do you think they rank in the top three that were available at their position in the draft. For example Vilardi and Tippett are probably better than Meireles, but they were not available to the Rangers. Are the Rangers last 3 first rounders in the top 3 of the players drafted after him?
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Re: Josh Brown Draft Story Thursday's Record

Postby Sideliner on Fri Apr 07, 2017 9:00 am

I agree Medway, with the benefit of hindsight one could certainly say "I wish we had picked XXXXXX" instead of "YYYYYY". Mascherin may be an exception. Not too many people regret that pick.

I know I too have the benefit of hindsight, but Davies and Schmalz were probably not worthy of being picked in the first round even though one might argue that they were decent players in the last part of their junior careers.

Sideliner wrote:Thanks for posting the article.

I don't see the Rangers taking a flyer on Hughes, Beecher, or Turcotte in the early rounds - especially after the Rippon mess-up last year. However I'm betting that the Knights will get one of them. Not a shot at London, as there was a time when Kitchener was an equally attractive destination....plus they do have all those picks.

I'll be happy if another Vallati slips to #13. At least our last three 1st rounders were better than the previous two.


Hey LR do you have a good feel for how "committing" Beecher is compared to the other two?. If you you think he could be coaxed I'm all on board!

Any others you like? ....or any more insight on how the Rangers might approach their selections in the first couple of rounds? I haven't followed the prospects like I used to.
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Re: Josh Brown Draft Story Thursday's Record

Postby JEF on Fri Apr 07, 2017 10:46 am

Sideliner. Good point about hindsight. It's fun to take a look back at past drafts and see who was taken where.

Interesting that in 2016 Liam Foudy and Allan McShane were taken 18th and 19th by London and Erie.

Here is a link to the 2016 draft http://ontariohockeyleague.com/2016-draft/

You can also select previous years from that list.

Happy searching.
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Re: Josh Brown Draft Story Thursday's Record

Postby Medway Bear on Fri Apr 07, 2017 12:06 pm

Sideliner wrote:I agree Medway, with the benefit of hindsight one could certainly say "I wish we had picked XXXXXX" instead of "YYYYYY". Mascherin may be an exception. Not too many people regret that pick.

I know I too have the benefit of hindsight, but Davies and Schmalz were probably not worthy of being picked in the first round even though one might argue that they were decent players in the last part of their junior careers.

Sideliner wrote:Thanks for posting the article.

I don't see the Rangers taking a flyer on Hughes, Beecher, or Turcotte in the early rounds - especially after the Rippon mess-up last year. However I'm betting that the Knights will get one of them. Not a shot at London, as there was a time when Kitchener was an equally attractive destination....plus they do have all those picks.

I'll be happy if another Vallati slips to #13. At least our last three 1st rounders were better than the previous two.


Hey LR do you have a good feel for how "committing" Beecher is compared to the other two?. If you you think he could be coaxed I'm all on board!

Any others you like? ....or any more insight on how the Rangers might approach their selections in the first couple of rounds? I haven't followed the prospects like I used to.


While hindsight is not ideal, its all that you have to evaluate how someone drafts (or a number of things) when it is not measurable. A GM may have taken X who turned out to be a star only because Y was not available (who later turn out to be a bust). Is that GM good or just lucky? I think all you can do, at the end of the day, is measure the success of the players a GM they drafted against those that they could have drafted. Hindsight may be, but what other way is there to evaluate whether a GM had a good draft in the end? I am certainly not expecting a GM to draft the best player they could have every time, but if they regularly get a player who was in the top 3 or 5 of the players available they must be doing something right. If they are not, may be they aren't so hot.
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Re: Josh Brown Draft Story Thursday's Record

Postby Sideliner on Fri Apr 07, 2017 5:09 pm

Yep good points.

I'm hopeful the Rangers just go with choosing he best player available at round 1....who hopefully reports.
My understanding is that this draft is not particularly deep, and after about #20 the guys making the picks will have to have done their homework. At least that's the impression I'm getting.
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Re: Josh Brown Draft Story Thursday's Record

Postby LoneRanger on Fri Apr 07, 2017 11:19 pm

Sideliner wrote:Hey LR do you have a good feel for how "committing" Beecher is compared to the other two?. If you you think he could be coaxed I'm all on board!

Any others you like? ....or any more insight on how the Rangers might approach their selections in the first couple of rounds? I haven't followed the prospects like I used to.


Beecher has no school commitments...he would like to play USNTDP but he may be convinced otherwise...whether its next year or as a 17 year old,there's no doubt Beecher will play in the OHL

I'm hearing McKenzie will look for a little more size and grit than Heibert has

Rangers need a centre who can win faceoffs and play a strong defensive game while still contributing points...i'm looking at Aidan Prueter or 6'4 Mason Primeau
Grabbing a d-man wouldn't be a bad idea either at #13 since we lost Rippon...a few i like are Nathan Staios,Thomas Harley and Billy Constantinou
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Re: Josh Brown Draft Story Thursday's Record

Postby Sideliner on Sat Apr 08, 2017 7:30 am

Drafting a bit more size will likely make some on this board a bit more happy. I did see Primeau's name as "one to watch", and I knew he had size. Just didn't know whether or not he was a top 13 player. I just haven't read much on him so I have no idea. Thanks for your thoughts.
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