New York Rangers 2011 draft review

By Leslie Treff
Photo: J.T. Miller brings a very strong work ethic and physical streak to the Rangers organization. (Photo courtesy of Ian Altenbaugh/HF)

The Rangers selected six skaters in the 2011 NHL Entry Draft. Going into the Friday of the draft, the Rangers only had four selections, including a first round selection (number 15 overall), as well as one fourth-round and two fifth-round picks. It was the fewest number of picks owned by any of the 30 NHL teams.

By the time the draft ended, two more picks were obtained by the Blueshirts. The first additional pick was obtained through a trade with the Blues, in which Evgeny Grachev was sent to St. Louis in exchange for a 2011 third-round selection (72nd overall). Although it was somewhat disappointing for the Rangers to receive a pick basically equivalent to that at which the former highly-touted Grachev was drafted, both the team and Grachev had felt that it was time to move on.

The other pick that was obtained, a sixth rounder (#172), was received from Nashville in exchange for the Rangers 2012 sixth-round pick. It is not unusual for New York to select high risk, high reward European players at that point in the draft, and management saw an opportunity to grab just such a player, and they made the deal to obtain the selection.

In total, New York selected four forwards and two defensemen, including three players from the CHL, one from the USHL, one from a Minnesota high school and one skater from Europe.

J.T. Miller, C – USNTDP U-18 (USHL)
1st Round, 15th overall
Height: 6’1, Weight: 200 lbs

The Rangers were looking for size, toughness and scoring ability, along with a strong work ethic with their first pick in the 2011 draft. They selected Miller, who shined during several international appearances, including the 2011 U-18 WJCs in Germany this spring, where he led the United States with 13 points. Miller also posted impressive numbers while playing for the U-18 NTDP during the 2010-11 season; he skated in 48 games with the U-18 Team, recording 11 goals and 26 assists, in addition to 80 penalty minutes during the 2010-11 season.

Rated 23rd among North American skaters by NHL Central Scouting in their final rankings, Miller described himself after being drafted as "a competitive kid [who is] … hard to play against." A little surprised to be selected by the Rangers (they only spoke to him once before the draft), Miller knows that must improve his overall strength this summer. He participated in the Rangers Development Camp last month and will be attending the University of North Dakota this fall.

Steven Fogarty, C – Edina Hornets (USHS)
3rd Round, 72nd overall
Height: 6’3, Weight: 200 lbs

Fogarty was selected with the pick that the Rangers obtained through the trade of Evgeny Grachev to the St. Louis Blues. A Minnesota high school player, who was a finalist for Minnesota’s Mr. Hockey this past season, Fogarty was the captain of the Edina Hornets in the Minnesota Boys High School Hockey League during the 2010-11 season. With 23 goals and 17 assists, 12 penalty minutes and a plus-14 rating, Fogarty led Edina in goals, points, plus/minus rating, game-winning goals, and shorthanded goals.

The Minnesota native, who is verbally committed to the University of Notre Dame for the 2012-13 season, posted two goals in six games for the USHL Chicago Steel after joining the team when his high school season was completed. Surprised himself that he would be selected so high in the draft, Fogarty likes to bang home garbage goals and works well along the boards.

Although Fogarty was expected to return to Chicago for the 2011-12 season, it was just announced that Fogarty will join the Penticton Vees of the BCHL for next season. Apparently, it is not only the Steel that will be disappointed to lose Fogarty’s services. The WHL Edmonton Oil Kings were hoping to convince him to play in the CHL during 2011-12, but at this point Fogarty is intent upon retaining his college eligibility.

Michael St. Croix, C – Edmonton Oil Kings (WHL)
4th Round, 106th overall
Height: 5’11, Weight: 179 lbs

Ranked 59th among North American skaters by NHL Central Scouting, St. Croix’s stock has dropped over the past season. Somewhat undersized and at times less physical and sure with the puck than others selected ahead of him in the draft, if he develops, St. Croix could be a steal in the draft for the Rangers. He has excellent vision, good skating and shifty moves, and was an excellent playmaker for the Oil Kings this past season. St. Croix played in 68 regular season games, posting 27 goals and 48 assists, including nine power play goals, 48 penalty minutes, and plus/minus rating of plus-28. He led the Oil Kings in assists, ranked second in points and power play goals, and third in goals and plus/minus rating. St. Croix is expected to play two more seasons in the WHL prior to becoming a professional.

Shane McColgan, RW – Kelowna Rockets (WHL)
5th Round, 134th overall
Height: 5’9, Weight: 165

McColgan may be the Rangers wild card in this draft. Once thought of as a potential first round selection (he was drafted in 2008 in the first round of the 2007 WHL Bantam Draft and was the runner-up to Ryan Nugent-Hopkins (EDM) for the 2010 WHL Rookie of the Year Award after finishing tied for second in league in rookie scoring), McColgan scored fewer points this past season (21 goals and 45 assists) than in his rookie campaign. Undersized, speedy, with an edge to his game, McColgan fell at least in part because of inconsistent play with and without the puck. But if he can play a smart, but tough, game, he could be a wonderful asset to the Rangers.

Samuel Noreau, D-Baie Comeau Drakkar (QMJHL)
5th Round, 136th Overall
Height: 6’4, Weight: 206 lbs

Ranked the 183rd North American skater by NHL Central Scouting, Noreau is Baie Comeau’s tough guy. One of the tallest skaters in the league, Noreau is a good fighter, who is tough in front of his own net. He ranked seventh in the league and second on Baie Comeau in penalty minutes. Last season, Noreau posted five goals and five assists in 67 regular season games. With work to do on his skating and decision-making, Noreau is expected to spend at least two more years in junior hockey.

Peter Ceresnak, D – Trencin Jr. (Slovakia Jr)
6th Round, 172nd Overall
Height: 6’3, Weight: 209 lbs

A right-hand shot, Ceresnak is a two-say defenseman who has size and good hockey smarts. According to the Rangers, Ceresnak is "[v]ery good at shutting down opponents and not afraid to pinch into the offensive zone." Since being drafted, Ceresnak was selected by the OHL Peterborough Petes in the CHL Import Draft, and is expected to play in North America for the 2011-12 season.