Rangers’ Future: Defense – Part 2

By Brandon LeBourveau
I’m back with the 2nd part of this 3 part series, as we now look at the
Rangers defensive prospects. They have a good mix of grit, speed and offense
from their defense prospects, the type of players that Glen Sather and Ron
Low love. Now, let’s take a look at a couple of them.

Name: Mike Mottau
Position: Defenseman
Shoots: Left
Height: 6-00
Weight: 200 lbs
Birthdate: March 19, 1978
Hometown: Quincy, Massachusetts
Acquired: Round 7 #182 overall 1997 NHL Entry Draft

Year Team League GP G A Pts PIM
1999-00 Boston College NCAA 42 6 37 43 57
1998-99 Boston College NCAA 43 3 39 42 44
1997-98 Boston College NCAA 40 13 36 49 50
1996-97 Boston College NCAA 38 5 18 23 77
Mottau recently won the Hobey Baker award, given to the best collegiate
player, last year in his senior season with Boston College. Mottau’s idol
growing up was fellow Ranger Brian Leetch, and their styles of play are very
similar. Although Mottau is not very big (6’0 200) he likes to throw his body
around and get involved in the physical play. He is also very good
offensively, and could be a 50-60 point scorer in the NHL. Mottau is coming
to the Rangers training camp in Burlington, Vermont without a contract, but
if he plays well in camp, you can bet your last dollar Sather will reward him
with a hefty amount of money. At 22, Mike is ready for the NHL, but if he
doesn’t make the Rangers out of camp, a season or two in the AHL should make
a smoother tranisition to the NHL for him.

Name: Tomas Kloucek
Position: Defenseman
Shoots: Left
Height: 6-03
Weight: 210 lbs
Birthdate: March 07, 1980
Hometown: Prague, Czechoslovakia
Acquired: 5th Round, 1998 Draft

Year Team League GP G A Pts PIM
1999-00 Hartford AHL 73 2 8 10 -
Hartford* AHL 23 0 4 4 -
1998-99 Cape Breton QMJHL 59 4 17 21 162
1997-98 Slavia Praha Czech Jr. 43 1 9 10 -
1996-97 Slavia Praha Czech Jr. 43 4 14 18 44
1995-96 Slavia Praha Czech Jr 40 2 8 10 -
Kloucek had an excellent rookie season in the AHL, even though he was
only 19. He was named Hartford’s top rookie and was also named to the AHL
all-rookie team. Kloucek is a very good stay-at-home defenseman with great
hockey sense and defensive instincts. He is a hard worker with a great
attitude and throws his body around often. Although he doesn’t have much
offensive upside, the Rangers really like this kid. He will be given every
opportunity to win a roster spot in training camp. I see it as a big battle
between Mike Mottau and Kloucek for a spot on the Rangers blueline.

Name: Jeff Dessner
Position: Defenseman
Shoots: Right
Height: 6-2
Weight: 195 lbs
Birthdate: April 16, 1977
Hometown: Glenview, Illinois
Acquired: 1996 NHL draft, seventh round (185th overall)

Year Team League GP G A PTS PIM
1999-00 Wisconsin WCHA 40 11 16 27 61
1998-99 Wisconsin WCHA 37 7 14 21 46
1997-98 Wisconsin WCHA 19 1 3 4 43
At 23, Jeff Dessner is starting to bloom into a good defensive prospect.
Most people aren’t very patient when it comes to waiting for prospects to
develop, but the long wait for Dessner will be worth while. Dessner is a very
solid two way defenseman who could have a successful NHL career. 30 point
seasons don’t seem too far a stretch for Jeff, and that’s likely the
production he’ll put up year after year. A lot will happen during training
camp this year, and we will see if Dessner can make the jump to the NHL, or
become a very good AHLer.

Name: Burke Henry
Position: Defenseman
Shoots: Left
Height: 6-03
Weight: 200 lbs
Birthdate: January 21, 1979
Hometown: Thompson, Manitoba, Canada
Acquired: Third Round of the NHL Draft 1997

Year Team League GP G A PTS PIM
1999-00 Hartford AHL 64 3 12 15 -
1998-99 Brandon WHL 68 18 58 76 151
1997-98 Brandon WHL 72 18 65 83 153
1996-97 Brandon WHL 55 6 25 31 81
1995-96 Brandon WHL 50 6 11 17 58
Henry wasn’t very impressive in his rookie season in the AHL, but he is
still a solid prospect. Another great potential two-way defenseman owned by
the Rangers, Henry has a very good offensive upside. In his first two seasons
in junior with the Brandon Wheat Kings of the WHL, Henry had disappointing
offensive seasons. However the next 2 years his numbers skyrocketed. He had
83 points in 97-98 and 76 points in 98-99. Henry will be at training camp
again this season, and he needs to prove to the Rangers management and
himself that he hasn’t fallen off the radar. Is the darkhorse of the Rangers
defense prospects who may make the team this season.

Name: Patrick Aufiero
Position: Defenseman
Shoots: Right
Height: 6-2
Weight: 191 lbs
Birthdate: July 01, 1980
Hometown: Winchester, MA
Acquired: 1999 NHL Draft, 3rd round (90th overall)

Season Team League GP G A Pts PIM
1999-00 Boston U. HE 38 3 20 23 37
1998-99 Boston U. HE 22 3 4 7 14
Aufiero was the player the Rangers selected with the 3rd round pick they
received from the Calgary Flames in the Marc Savard trade on draft day of
’99. It will be a while before we can say who won that trade, but Aufiero in
my opinion was a steal with that 3rd rounder. He’s another solid prospect. He
has 2 years of college left at Boston University, and after he is done with
college he should make a good run at a roster spot for the Rangers, or the
Hartford Wolf Pack, depending on how he develops. A lot can happen in 2
years, and the Rangers hope Aufiero can become a Mike Mottau type

Name: Alexei Vasiliev
Position: Defenseman
Height: 6-00
Weight: 195 lbs
Acquired: 5th Round, 1995 Draft (110th overall)

Year Team League GP G A PTS PIM
1999-00 Hartford AHL 75 10 28 38 20
1998-99 Hartford AHL 75 8 19 27 24
1997-98 Hartford AHL Injured, missed season
1996-97 Yaroslav CIS 44 2 8 10 10
1995-96 Yaroslav CIS 40 4 7 11 4
1994-95 Yaroslav2 CIS - - - - -
1993-94 Yaroslav CIS 2 0 1 1 4
Vasiliev has had some big injury problems during his career. He missed
the whole ’97-98 season, his first in North America, because he needed
reconstructive shoulder surgery on both shoulders. However, he seems to be
fully recovered from past injuries, and could be on the Rangers blueline this
season. Has spent the past 2 years in Hartford, where he was impressive some
games, but horrible in others. He played one game late last season against
Montreal, and looked out of place. He was shaky throughout the game, and
didn’t play well in his own end. He is a great skater with nice speed and
good offensive instincts, however he needs to play better defensively. We’ll
have to see how he plays in training camp to further evaluate his stat
us as a
future NHLer. Should be back in the AHL this season.

Name: Dale Purinton
Position: Defenseman
Shoots: Left
Height: 6-2
Weight: 201 lbs
Birthdate: October 11, 1976
Hometown: Fort Wayne, Indiana
Acquired: Round 5 #117 overall 1995 NHL Entry Draft

Year Team League GP G A Pts PIM
1999-00 Hartford AHL 62 4 4 8 415
Hartford* AHL 23 0 3 3 87
New York NHL 1 0 0 0 7
1998-99 Hartford AHL 45 1 3 4 306
Hartford* AHL 7 0 2 2 24
1997-98 Hartford AHL 17 0 0 0 95
Charlotte ECHL 34 3 5 8 186
1996-97 Lethbridge WHL 51 6 26 32 254
1995-96 Lethbridge WHL 37 3 6 9 144
Kelowna WHL 22 1 4 5 88
1994-95 Tacoma WHL 65 0 8 8 291
Tacoma* WHL 3 0 0 0 13
1992-93 Moose Jaw WHL 2 0 0 0 2
Purinton is a natural defenseman, but he also saw time as Hartford’s 4th
line RW this past season. In my opinion, he’s a Paul Laus type defenseman. A
tough guy who throws the big checks and is very good in his own end. He is a
fighter, and sticks up for his teammates. He sounds a lot like Paul Laus to
me. Was impressive when he was called up for the last game of the season
against the Flyers. He played well in the defensive end and threw his body
around. When the season ended, it seemed like he would be a lock to make the
team because the Rangers didn’t have an enforcer. But now with Sandy McCarthy
around, it should be tougher for Purinton. He likely won’t win a spot on the
blueline this year, as Mottau and Kloucek have a lot more talent than him,
but don’t rule out the possibility of Purinton on the 4th line with McCarthy.

Name: Arto Laatikainen
Position: Defenseman
Height: 6-0
Weight: 187 lbs
Birthdate: May 24, 1980
Acquired: 1999 NHL Draft, 7th round (197th overall)

Season Team League GP G A Pts PIM
1999-00 Blues Finland 51 6 5 11 12
1998-99 Blues Finland 48 0 6 6 14
Yet another two-way defenseman, Laatikainen has been progressing well. He
has improved both his defensive and offensive game and could be a late round
steal in the ’99 Draft. He will likely spend another year or two in Finland,
then the Rangers would want to bring him over to North America and let him
get some experience in Hartford, or if he’s good enough, he’ll make the team.
Keep an eye out for this guy in a few years.

Name: Tomi Kallarsson
Position: Defenseman
Shoots: Left
Height: 6-03
Weight: 194 lbs
Birthdate: March 15, 1979
Hometown: Lempaala, Finland
Acquired: 4th Round, 1997 Draft

Year Team League GP G A PTS PIM
1999-00 - - - - - - -
1998-99 HPK Hameelinna Finland 25 0 0 0 22
1998-99 HPK Hameelinna Finland Jr. 2 0 1 1 6
1998-99 Ahmat Hyvinkaa Finland 2 21 2 7 9 52
1997-98 HPK Hameelinna Finland 12 0 0 0 2
1996-97 HPK Hameelinna Finland Jr. 31 1 3 4 26
A solid prospect, Kallarsson will likely spend a few seasons in Finland
before coming over to North America to get playing time in the AHL. Has
potential, but these next few years will give us some more info about this

Name: Wes Jarvis
Position: Defenseman
Shoots: Left
Height: 6-04
Weight: 210 lbs
Birthdate: April 16, 1979
Hometown: Toronto, Ontario
Acquired: 2nd Round, 1997 Draft (46th Overall)

Year Team League GP G A Pts PIM
1999-00 - - - - - - -
1998-99 Kitchener OHL 52 5 18 23 80
1998-99 Canada Nat. Team 7 1 0 1 4
1997-98 Kitchener OHL 47 10 18 28 112
1996-97 Kitchener OHL 56 4 8 12 108
1995-96 Gloucester Jr. A 43 3 6 9 73
Most people classify him as a bust, but there is still hope Jarvis can
fullfil his potential. He has played very well in 2 games at Rangers rookie
camp, but it’s only 2 games so far, and he still has a lot to prove. An
aggressive defenseman with good hockey sense, but has a very limited
offensive upside. He is a stay-at-home defenseman, which is pretty much what
a lot of the Rangers defensive prospects are. Jarvis will likely be in
Hartford this upcoming season, and less he has a spectacular training camp,
and I mean spectacular.

Name: Filip Novak
Position: Defenseman
Shoots: Left
Height: 6-0
Weight: 174 lbs
Birthdate: May 07, 1982
Hometown: Budejovice, Czech Republic
Acquired: 2000 NHL Draft, 2nd round (64th overall)

Year Team League GP G A Pts PIM
1999-00 Regina WHL 47 7 32 39 70
*Regina WHL 7 1 4 5 5
1998-99 Budejovice Czech Jr 68 8 10 18 34
A very solid two-way defenseman, Novak is a good skater with decent
speed. He plays with a lot of heart and doesn’t back down from the physical
play, although he is small in NHL terms (6’0 174). Novak is a great
puckhandler who loves to play the transition game and go end to end in a
hurry. Likes to join the rush and be the trailing man. Has good hockey sense,
offensive instincts, and overall skills. Has a hard, low accurate shot from
the point and makes the tape-to-tape pass. He still has 3 years of junior
left, and we likely won’t see Novak on broadway until after he graduates from
junior. Keep an eye out for this prospect as well.

Name: Martin Richter
Position: Defenseman
Shoots: Right
Height: 6-4
Weight: 198 lbs
Birthdate: December 06, 1977
Hometown: Prostejov, Czech Republic
Acquired: 2000 NHL Draft, 9th round (269th overall)

Season Team League GP G A Pts PIM
1999-00 SaiPa Finland 23 1 3 4 42
1999-00 Karlovy Vary Czech-Rep 24 0 5 5 18
A 22 year old defenseman, the smoothskating Richter was drafted in the
9th round of the 2000 Draft. He is a great skater with good speed and could
be yet another late round steal by the Rangers scouts. Has impressed many
people at the rookie camp in Kitchener, Ontario so far in 2 games, and could
possibly make the Rangers this season with a good camp, although his likely
destination for this season is the AHL.

Next week i’ll analyze the forward prospects of the Rangers, so stay