Every year when draft day arrives, all I ask is that the players chosen somehow excite me. That their given potential sets hope in motion. Unlike many, I was not hoping to see Angelo Esposito in the CH. I was convinced that the Habs would go for size and character, and they did not let me down.
No need to reinforce the notion that this was one strange draft round. While every player selected surely has talent to boast and a fair amount of upside, i got the impression I was watching a junior entry draft, rather than a crop of mostly 18 year olds.
Damn, weren't some of these kids small! The van Riemsdyk kid the Flyers grabbed, looked like a freckle-faced 13-year-old, awkward smile and goofy gaze. Logan Couture, while larger seemingly, had that schoolyard brat / bully face that anyone would want to punch out. I'm looking at him, and listening to a TSN commentator mention leadership and captaincy in his profile, and I want to die laughing. Patrick Kane and Kyle Turris have a lot of growing to do before they can play with NHL men.
I'm sure all will become solid NHLers soon enough, but I didn't see one kid I would rush.
That might explain why I was content upon seeing the Habs pick. The Anaheim Ducks won the Cup with a big, tough team. This was not lost on Gainey and company. Both Ryan McDonagh and Max Pacioretty, at 18, have the size of grown men. Talent aside, their largeness will assist their development greatly, perhaps shaving a year or two off their progression. I know little other than what I have read today on these players, but I get the feeling that if they are to grow any more, and they should, their stature will serve them well in the big man NHL.
As I knew only small details on the players, I went searching for whatever info was available concerning them and their careers thus far. After rapidly reading a bunch, I am comforted in their upsides.
I've posted intros to some articles here, that after reading them, you will certainly like these two much more. Enjoy!
Montreal was 12th in line at the NHL Entry Draft and picked Minnesota high school defenceman Ryan McDonagh.
The six-foot-one, 200-pounder was considered a sleeper in the draft, and there were a lot of surprised onlookers when the Canadiens passed on Montreal-born Angelo Esposito, one of the most gifted forwards available. His dream of being a Hab was shattered and the dejected look on his face as he sat in the stands said it all.
"Angelo was on our list but he wasn't on our list at the 12th spot," Canadiens GM Bob Gainey told TSN.
The Montreal Canadiens? The Montreal Americans is more like it.
The Habs drafted a pair of U.S.-born skaters in Friday night's first round of the NHL entry draft - defenceman Ryan McDonagh at No. 12 and winger Max Pacioeretty at No. 22.
On a team that already has two young American players that are key to their success, forward Chris Higgins and defenceman Mike Komisarek, the newcomers will feel right at home in a few years when they make the big club.
"Seems like the Canadiens have a lot of confidence in U.S.-born players," said Pacioretty. "That's a great feeling."
Habs fans hoping their team would take Quebec scoring star Angelo Esposito were no doubt disappointed when McDonagh's name was called, but scouts drool over the American blue-liner's game.
With the 12th overall pick in the 2007 NHL Entry Draft on Friday, the Montreal Canadiens selected defenseman Ryan McDonagh of Cretin-Derham High School in Minnesota.
McDonagh has a sensational season as a senior at Cretin-Derham High in 2006-07, recording 14 goals and 40 points in 26 games. He won the "Mr. Hockey" Award as the top high-school player in the state after being named the Most Valuable Player of the Minnesota State Championship Tournament in 2006, when he helped his team to the title.
The 18-year-old native of St. Paul also represented the United States at this year's Under-18 World Championship, notching three assists in seven games. He was offered scholarships by three colleges, including St. Cloud State and the University of Minnesota-Duluth, but decided on the University of Wisconsin, where he will play this fall.
McDonagh is impressive at both ends of the ice, possessing the talent to rush the puck and complete passes while also being able to out-muscle opponents along the boards and in the corners. The 6-1, 200-pounder, who was the 11th-ranked North American skater by the Central Scouting Service, can quietly dominate a game but occasionally makes decisions that backfire.
There was a theory that the Montreal Canadiens might trade up in the draft in order to select Angelo Esposito, the No. 8 ranked skater from Quebec, who won a Memorial Cup in 2006 with the Remparts of Patrick Roy and was the top-ranked player in Central Scouting's mid-season rankings.
Central Scouting obviously saw something they didn't like in Esposito's game and apparently so did the Canadiens. They stayed put at No. 12 in the first round and then selected the No. 11th ranked player instead - Ryan McDonagh, from Cretin-Derham high school in Minnesota.
McDonagh was named Minnesota's Mr. Hockey of 2007 and is bound for the University of Wisconsin next year.
The knock against Esposito, according to one amateur scout, is his inconsistency; and his unwillingness to play physically or to play in traffic.
"In terms of offensive upside and ability to change the game and be a big influence offensively, Kevin Shattenkirk, with his vision, is probably the cream of the crop," U.S. coach Ron Rolston said.
McDonagh is slightly ahead of Shattenkirk in most rankings and might squeeze into the top 10.
He joined Team USA for the world under-18 championships.
"What I enjoyed about him was his competitive nature, and he was extremely tough to play against in the defensive end," Rolston said.
It's a small world, after all, and Ryan McDonagh is about to give you the latest tale of confirmation.
Later this week, McDonagh and fellow teenage University of Wisconsin men's hockey recruit Kyle Turris are projected to be first-round picks in the NHL Entry Draft.
Later this summer, McDonagh and Turris will share living quarters on the UW campus and begin their highly anticipated college careers.
But well before the kid from New Westminster, British Columbia (Turris) and the kid from suburban St. Paul, Minn. (McDonagh) decided to attend the same college - before they began making phone calls to determine how to best accessorize a tech-savvy dorm room - their paths crossed.
"Funny story," McDonagh began, recalling when he was on the verge of a decorated prep career at Cretin-Derham Hall (Minn.) High School. "We played in a tournament together. (Turris) actually played on a Minnesota team."
Turris said he was 13 or 14, visiting a family friend in Minnesota, when he was asked to tag along and play in a tournament in Chicago.
Ryan McDonagh was a designated hitter and first baseman for the Cretin-Derham Hall, but his future appears to be in hockey, where he is a talented two-way defenseman.
The two-sport star just celebrated a state baseball title and is expected to be taken high in the NHL draft.
Those familiar with Ryan McDonagh's athletic prowess will say they would like to have a piece of the young man's future. But the Cretin-Derham Hall senior would have a hard time doubting there is no time like the present.
McDonagh celebrated his 18th birthday last Wednesday. Over the weekend the designated hitter/first baseman helped lead Cretin-Derham Hall to the Class 3A baseball championship.
Today he and his family will leave for Columbus, Ohio, where on Friday he will be among the first names called in the NHL draft.
McDonagh, a talented two-way defenseman, will be one of the first defensemen taken. And if we are to believe the recent scuttlebutt, his stock is on the rise.
Cretin-Derham Hall coach Jim O'Neill said his information points to McDonagh being selected anywhere from fifth to 20th.
"The first four players are said to be rated apart from the others," O'Neill said. "After that it can come down to needs and who likes you."
McDonagh, this year's Mr. Hockey in Minnesota, said he interviewed with all but two NHL teams when he was in Toronto for the pre-draft combine earlier this month. St. Louis [ninth overall] and Columbus [seventh] then had him visit for an individual workout.
TSN Insider's Forecast
The nephew of former NFL quarterback Steve Walsh is considered a fine athletic specimen and the winner of the prestigious Mr. Hockey award as Minnesota's top high school player has a chance to be a top 10 pick. It would be a surprise if he falls below the middle of the first round. Some teams think he's as good a defenceman as there is available, a solid two-way threat with edge who played well before and after his high school season with the U.S. Under-18 team. He is off to the University of Wisconsin next season.
NHL Central Scouting
A skilled offensive defenseman with the ability to rush the puck. Has good first step quickness and makes quick accurate passes in the defensive zone. Has a good shot from the point. Strong along the boards as well as one-on-one in the corners. Has the ability to dominate a game, but needs to play to his level every night. His offensive style sometimes leads to risky decisions.
Plays a steady game. Continues to make the smart play with the puck, moves the puck up ice well. Has good feet, contains his man well off the rush. Made a big move up ISS rankings late in the year, jumping from #58 in April to #19 in May.
The Canadiens selected left winger Max Pacioretty with the 22nd overall pick in Friday's NHL entry draft.The six foot, one inch, 203 pound Pacioretty projects as a prototypical power forward. Pacioretty is a long-term project and he will hone his skills at the University of Michigan next season. He has a wicked shot and takes it often. However, don’t look for him in an NHL uniform for at least three years.
Since committing to play hockey for the University of Michigan in January 2006, forward Max Pacioretty has done nothing but blossom.
He went from Taft Prep School to the United States Hockey League this season, earning rookie of the year accolades and setting himself up for another honor.
Pacioretty, who arrives at Michigan this fall, could join the growing list of Wolverines who have been first round picks when the NHL Entry Draft gets underway Friday in Columbus, Ohio. He'll be the first of what could be seven future Michigan players drafted this year.
"I'm trying not to think about it too much," Pacioretty said before leaving his New Canaan, Conn., home to head to the draft. "Whatever happens, happens. If I don't go as high as I'm projected then that's something that motivates you. It could help you in the long run."
When Max Pacioretty's name gets called next weekend in Columbus, it’s going to be another defining moment for the rising hockey star and his career. But it won't be an end for Pacioretty, because he’s humble enough to admit he’s still got a ways to go. Given his background, it might not have never happened altogether.
Pacioretty was born and raised in Connecticut, but he was not born into the hockey culture. His parents were not native New Englanders, they moved to Connecticut from California. They even missed Wayne Gretzky and hockey’s California mini-explosion. Before Max, not a sole Pacioretty had even played the game. But his parents gave young Max the freedom to choose something he wanted to do and to let him have something he could call his own.
"When I was four years old my parents brought me to the rink for public skate," Pacioretty recalled. "I kept going back and ended up registering for hockey. It just happened from there."
His interest grew and he continued to play without the pressure to excel from his parents.
Before he knew it, he was playing up with older kids because he got to the point where his game was a bit more advanced than other kids his age. "My parents never pressured me growing up," he explained. "I just found hockey. It turned out to be the thing I love."
When the NHL completes the first round of its annual entry draft tonight, Southern Connecticut's credentials in pro hockey should grow again.
New Canaan's Max Pacioretty, a left winger, is expected to be picked sometime tonight. The NHL's Central Scouting Bureau ranks him No. 16 among North American skaters, and several hockey media mock drafts had him picked late in the 30-pick first round. Pacioretty, 18, played at New Canaan High, Taft School, and in the junior United States Hockey League over the past five seasons. He plans to play next season at the University of Michigan. Versus will televise the first round tonight, beginning at 7.
Pacioretty will join a growing contingent of pro hockey players from Fairfield and New Haven counties, a group that includes Buffalo's Chris Drury, of Trumbull, and Bridgeport Sound Tigers forward Eric Boguniecki, of West Haven. The New York Rangers selected Darien's Hugh Jessiman 12th overall in 2003; Jessiman struggled through his first pro season and a half but showed signs of improvement in the second half of this past season.
TSN Insider's Forecast
There is no real mystery to Max Pacioretty's game with Sioux Falls of the USHL. He is an up and down winger who goes hard to the net, provides some physical play and is not without some offensive ability. He doesn't necessarily excel in any one area of the game but does a lot of things well enough to get first-round consideration, although a number of teams view him as more second-round material. He will attend the University of Michigan in the fall.
NHL Central Scouting
A competitive power forward with a good physical presence. Has a very good wrist shot with a quick release. Is a good skater with excellent first step quickness. Strong in the face-off circle and does what it takes to help his team win. Needs to improve his consistency around the net. Effective on the penalty kill, but needs to improve his defensive anticipation.