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New York Rangers Fan Club

The Fish Bowl
by Toby Ivey

Saturday, June 26 2004


The NHL Entry Draft: Day 1

Day one of the 2004 NHL Entry Draft didn't go the way that most fans expected, but the end result was what appears to be a future franchise goaltender and a mixed bag of seven left handed forwards that very much define the term "prospect".  Despite plenty of speculation, the first three picks in the draft went as expected, the Blue Jackets did trade the fourth pick to Carolina, but the home team Hurricanes didn't surprise many with their selection of Andrew Ladd.

The same could not be said for the Coyotes who tried to eke out another draft pick from the Rangers before settling for Minnesota High Schooler, Blake Wheeler, a pick that caught most people by surprise.  The selection brought the Rangers up to the podium for their first pick of the draft, which they quickly used to select Michigan and US Junior champion goalie, Al Montoya.  While General Manager Glen Sather appeared more than satisfied with the selection, the same could not be said for the many Blueshirt faithful who angrily reacted to the use of a second top 10 pick on a goaltender under Sather's management.

With Dan Blackburn and Henrik Lundqvist already in the system, speculation immediately centered on the health of Blackburn's shoulder, and whether his recent work-outs after a one-year layoff may have shown more damage than initially expected.  Whatever may be the reason, there are certain to be plenty of questions over the selection as the summer progresses.

The Rangers made their first trade of the day later in the first round, when they used their 24th and 46th picks to move up to take Finnish winger, Lauri Korpikoski.  The fast skating winger had rocketed up the depth charts this season, as the 17 year old discovered a new found scoring touch that obviously impressed Ranger European Scout Christer Rockstrom, who was among the Rangers brass to visit the stage and hand Korpikoski his jersey.

Starting the day with five second round picks,  Sather proceeded to make several trades that saw the Rangers convert the 37th pick into the 60th, 73rd and 80th picks to go along with the 36th, 48th and 51st that they retained.

In recent years the focus has been on the NCAA and European players, but with six selections in the second and third rounds, Sather and his scouting staff included selections from the CHL, including their first selection of a player from the Quebec Major Juniors since Shawn Collymore back in 2001.

With the 36th pick New York selected Centerman Darin Olver from Northern Michigan, the school coached by former Ranger assistant Walt Kyle.  The 170lb Olver lead the Wildcats in scoring in 2003-04 in his first year in the NCAA, but had his offensive production slowed as the season progressed.

New York then went with gritty forward Dan Byers at the #48 pick, a teammate of first round selection Kyle Chipchura on the Prince Albert Raiders of the WHL.  Byers had a disappointing year and appears to be more in the role-playing mould than that of Korpikoski and Olver who both have offensive upside.

At 51, the Rangers went to the QMJHL to select the 6'6", 220lb Bruce Graham, who while not a physical force, had been projected to be a border line first round pick as a play-making forward with some offensive upside.  They then followed Graham up with Alaskan native Brandon Dubinsky, yet another centerman who now plays for the Portland Winterhawks of the WHL, the same team as Ranger prospect and 2003 draft pick Ivan Dornic.  Dubinsky figures to be another smallish forward with offensive upside.

Rounding out the day were third round selections Zdenek Bahensky, a promising winger who has questionable desire and Billy Ryan, a high scoring prospect out of Cushing Academy (90 points in 37 games), the same team that Ray Bourque's son Chris (2nd round pick) has been playing on.  Bahensky has indicated he is willing to play in the CHL next year, while Ryan will be attending Maine starting in 2005-06.

Overall the draft was a day of disappointment for many Ranger fans, who had hoped for so much more.  Sather's team once again appeared to favor look to Europe and the NCAA for most of their inspiration, with a couple of oddly placed selections out of the WHL and the Graham selection that was perhaps made easier by the fact he had dropped so far.  In what many consider to be a weak year, the Rangers once again displayed their poor sense in timing, overlooking several promising European prospects with a perceived concern that they had relied too heavily on players from across the Atlantic.

Perhaps there were other options the Rangers could have pursued in maybe trading down with the Kings and picking up AJ Thelen or Drew Stafford with the #12 pick, while adding another solid 2nd round pick in the process.  Other players the Rangers passed on included Robbie Schremp (25th), Roman Voloshenko (42nd), Roman Teslyuk (44th), Adam Pineault (46th), Enver Lisin (50th), David Booth (53rd), Viktor Oreskovich (55th) and Sami Lepisto (66th).

Little can be expected in tomorrow's later rounds where the Rangers will add five more players to their list and the performance of the draft so far will no doubt once again bring calls for the removal of the wholly disliked Glen Sather.

New York Rangers Draft Day Trades
∑Traded the 24th and 46th picks to Calgary for the 19th and 247th picks
∑Traded the 37th pick to Florida for the 50th and 73rd picks
∑Traded the 50th pick to Phoenix for the 60th and 80th picks

Outside The Garden Draft Day Coverage

RBC Center - Raleigh, NC
June 26-27, 2004
Rounds 1-3 June 26th
Rounds 4-9 June 27th
Television: ESPN2 June 26th 12pm (EDT)

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 Additional stories from this Author:

YOUR COMMENTS

POST COMMENT >>
DATE AUTHOR COMMENT
6/26/2004 RAYNGER Nice work...
6/26/2004 DarthSather Hit it on the head
6/27/2004 Dump I think you're way off
6/29/2004 Toby re: I think you're way off...
6/30/2004 dump From what I read
6/30/2004 Toby Other scouts...
7/1/2004 dump True scouts are clueless a good amount of time
7/2/2004 dump Free agents-trades
7/14/2004 Toby re: True scouts
POST COMMENT >>
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October 14th, 2016

Who was the last #40 to score a goal for NYR before Grabner?

Answer...
  STANDINGS
  Team GP W L OT Pts  
  Capitals 82 55 19 8 118  
  Penguins 82 50 21 11 111  
  Blue Jackets 82 50 24 8 108  
  Canadiens 82 47 26 9 103  
  Rangers 82 48 28 6 102  
  Senators 82 44 28 10 98  
  Bruins 82 44 31 7 95  
  Maple Leafs 82 40 27 15 95  
  Islanders 82 41 29 12 94  
  Lightning 82 42 30 10 94  
  Flyers 82 39 33 10 88  
  Hurricanes 82 36 31 15 87  
  Panthers 82 35 36 11 81  
  Red Wings 82 33 36 13 79  
  Sabres 82 33 37 12 78  
  Devils 82 28 40 14 70  
FULL STANDINGS
  RANDOM RANGER

COLTON ORR
(2005-2009)
  Born: Mar 3 - 1982  
  Pos: Right Wing  
  GP: 224  
  G: 4  
  A: 7  
  Pts: 11  
  PIMs: 522  

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