New York Rangers reaping the benefits of a strong 2009 draft class

By Leslie Treff

Chris Kreider - New York Rangers

Photo: Selected 19th overall in the 2009 NHL Draft, Chris Kreider is among the top forwards for the New York Rangers this year, with 13 goals and 17 assists through 52 games. (courtesy Jim McIsaac/NHLI via Getty Images)

The New York Rangers selected seven players in the 2009 NHL Draft. Of those seven, three are still part of the organization, including the team's first round selection and current first line NHL forward, Chris Kreider. Two additional players, second rounder Ethan Werek and fifth round selection Roman Horak, were traded in transactions that have proved very fruitful for New York.

Prospect Oscar Lindberg came from Phoenix in exchange for Werek, and Horak was traded to Calgary in the deal that brought Tim Erixon to New York – the same Erixon who was later a piece of the trade with Columbus for Rick Nash. In all, the 2009 draft has to be considered one of the most successful for the Rangers in recent memory.

Chris Kreider, LW, Phillips Andover (Massachusetts Prep) – 1st round, 19th overall
Status: NHL Player
NHL Games Played: 75

Kreider was very raw when selected in the first round of the draft. Not even a high school graduate (he had to attend summer school to be eligible to start Boston College the next fall), the Rangers saw his size and speed and decided to take a chance on the dominating prep school player. After a slow start at BC, Kreider took his time learning the game, playing in two U20 World Junior Championships (including a gold medal team in 2010) and two men's World Championships. He also was a member of two NCAA champion teams with the BC Eagles.

Kreider turned pro after three years of college and immediately impressed in the 2012 NHL playoffs. Expected to make a big splash during the 2012-13 regular season, his performance was disappointing and he was eventually returned to the AHL. The 2013-14 season has been a different story entirely as Kreider has worked his way onto the Rangers top line and is now among the top-scoring rookies in the NHL.

Ethan Werek, LW, Kingston Frontenacs (OHL) – 2nd round, 47th overall
Status: Prospect
NHL Games Played: 0

Werek was a big, hard driving scoring center when he was drafted out of the OHL. The pick with which Werek was selected was compensatory for the inability to sign Alexei Cherepanov, but Werek was nothing like the Russian puck wizard. Werek's weakness was his skating, but the Rangers saw his good size and ability to finish as very enticing. However, in May 2011, after Werek completed his junior career, the Rangers traded him to Phoenix for current prospect Oscar Lindberg.

Werek is now in his third and final season of his entry-level contract and has yet to play in the NHL.

Ryan Bourque, LW, USNTDP – 3rd round, 80th overall
Status: Prospect
NHL Games Played: 0

Bourque was a small, highly creative, exciting center at the time he was drafted. Drafted from the US National Development program, Bourque went to the QMJHL for the 2009-10 and 2010-11 seasons and was a solid point-per-game player with the Quebec Remparts.  

A smart player with very good wheels, Bourque plays in all situations with the AHL Hartford Wolf Pack. He has struggled to consistently produce offense at the professional level however, and he may not be suited for the north-south NHL style of game. Furthermore, he has a history of concussions.

He is in the final year of his entry level contract, and although a good AHL player, it is not likely that Bourque will be re-signed by the Rangers.

Roman Horak, C, Ceske Budejovice (Czech Jr.) – 3rd round, 127th overall
Status: Prospect
NHL Games Played: 83

Horak was considered a small, responsible, two-way forward when he was drafted. Hoped to be a future part of the Rangers penalty killing unit, along with Carl Hagelin, the Rangers had Horak penciled in as a future bottom-six NHL forward when, on June 1st, 2011, the Rangers exchanged their rights to Horak for the rights to unsigned defenseman Tim Erixon (CLB).

Horak played for the Flames for parts of the 2011-12 and 2012-13 seasons. In November of this season, he was traded from Calgary to Edmonton, and currently plays for the Oilers' AHL affiliate, the Oklahoma City Barons.

Scott Stajcer, G, Owen Sound (OHL) – 5th round, 140th overall
Status: Prospect
NHL Games Played: 0

Stajcer was drafted as a project goaltender who had good size and good puck reaction. Unfortunately, he has been injured quite a bit since the 2009 draft and lost more than a year and a half of development due to injury.

He has spent most of his professional career in the ECHL, including the Rangers' ECHL affiliate Greenville, and more recently the Florida Everblades and now the Gwinnett Gladiators. Currently the backup netminder in Gwinnett, not affiliated with the Rangers, it is unclear what Stajcer's future will be within the organization.

Daniel Maggio, D, Sudbury Wolves (OHL) – 6th round, 170th overall
Status: Bust
NHL Games Played: 0

A big strong defensive defenseman, Maggio had the size that the Rangers love. However, Maggio did not develop the way the organization wished for and the Rangers chose not to sign him prior to losing his rights in 2011.

Since he began his professional career in the fall of 2012, Maggio has played for several AHL, CHL and ECHL teams. He currently is a member of the AHL Lake Erie Monsters.

Mikhail Pashnin, D, Chelyabinsk Mechel (Russia-2) – 7th round, 200th overall
Status: Bust
NHL Games Played: 0

With decent size and good vision, Pashnin was a defenseman who the Rangers had been watching in Russia for a couple of years. Passed over in the first two drafts he was eligible for, Pashnin had a very good 2008-09 season with Mechel Chelyabinsk and the Rangers decided to select him with their last pick in the draft. At the time, there was some indication that he might be interested in playing hockey in North America, which later proved not to be true. Pashnin currently plays for Lokomotiv Yaroslavl of the KHL.