The Rangers picked Stefan Cherneski as their first pick in 1997. The Rangers didn’t have a franchise player on their hands, but a hard working kid who was destined for the NHL. Two years later, Cherneski’s career has been filled with triumph and tragedy and his hockey career lays in question.
Cherneski’s life started out a battle. The second child born to his family, Stefan was born 8 weeks premature and doctors were concerned for him. They wouldn’t allow him to go home for another 8 weeks as they placed his tiny body in an incubator to increase his chances for survival. Growing up Stefan became involved in local midget clubs but was never seen as a knock over prospect and thus he never heard his name called in the WHL draft. After signing with the Brandon Wheat Kings prior to the 95-96 season, Cherneski’s rookie year was not the most memorable. Stuck primarily in a third line left winger’s role on a deep and talented Brandon team, Cherneski finished with only 8 goals. Only 5’11 and 185 pounds at the time Cherneski didn’t have the raw ability to crack the Wheat Kings top line, or so everyone thought.
After spending $44 million last year and failing to make the playoffs, things could not be looking worse for the Rangers. When the media is talking draft in March, something went wrong. What went wrong was the Rangers were just too darn old. Although possessing a few solid prospects, most were from resent drafts and thus were only 18 and 19 years old and most were not under contract. As the draft grew closer the Rangers had their sights set on a center, a big center with allot of upside. Unfortunately their top choices David Legwand and Manny Malhotra were ranked second and sixth respectively. Most experts actually expected them to go second and third. The Rangers chance to draft a big time center was slim. But something happened on that hot June day, somehow to the Rangers surprise Malhotra fell into their laps.
Marc Savard 19 years old, 5’10 177lbs, Rangers 3rd pick 91st overall 1995.
When Marc Savard was drafted by the Oshawa Generals in 1993, the scouts said
“he’s too small”. That was a line, like many other hockey players who are
5’10 180lbs are told. Savard had a successful first OHL season compiling 64
points. But still Savard didn’t get much recognition. In his second OHL
season Marc Savard led the OHL in scoring with 139 points. Not bad eh? But
remember he is still 5’10 180lbs..too small. Despite leading the OHL in
scoring in his draft year Savard didn’t get selected until the 3rd round by
the New York Rangers. During his third OHL season Savvy (nickname) was well
on his way to a second consecutive OHL scoring crown until he broke his
ankle. Still Savard finished the season with 87 points in just 47 games. Of
course the scouts dwelled that Marc’s injury was a result of his size, he
“will never cut it at the next level”. After three fantastic junior
season’s, a NHL training camp under his belt, Savard wasn’t even considered
for Canada’s World Junior team or a prospect for the NHL, which bitterly
disappointed him. One of the biggest negatives about Savard was his
reputation as selfish player. Despite always having more assists than goals,
and always looking to pass rather than shoot, the word on Savard was he is
more interested in Marc Savard than the Oshawa Generals. Entering 1996-97 Read more»