As we approach the 2009 NHL Entry Draft, I thought it might be fun to look back at Ranger’s drafts past. As we can all attest given the abysmal seasons in the late ‘90’s and early 2000’s, the Rangers haven’t always done a very good job of drafting and developing talent. Along the way though they drafted the pieces that helped bring the Stanley Cup to Manhattan. Here’s a look at a 20 year period (1986 – 2005) starting with the five year stretch between 1986 and 1990.
Brian Leetch - Round 1, 9th Overall - 1205 GP - 247 G - 781 A - 1,028 PTS - 571 PIM
Bret Walter - Round 3, 51st overall - 0 NHL GP
Shaun Clouston - Round 3, 53rd overall - 0 NHL GP
Mark Janssens - Round 4, 72nd overall - 711 GP - 40 G - 73 A - 113 Pts - 1,422 PIM
Jeff Bloemberg - Round 5, 93rd overall - 43 GP - 3 G - 6 A - 9 Pts - 25 PIM
Darren Turcotte - Round 6, 114th overall - 635 GP - 195 G - 216 A - 411 Pts - 301 PIM
Rob Graham - Round 7, 135th overall - 0 NHL GP
Barry Chyzowski - Round 8, 156th overall - 0 NHL GP
Pat Scanlon - Round 9, 177th overall - 0 NHL GP
Joe Ranger - Round 10, 198th overall - 0 NHL GP
Russ Parent - Round 11, 219th overall - 0 NHL GP
Soren True - Round 12, 240th overall - 0 NHL GP
Highlights: Any time you add a premier, Hall-of-Fame defenseman like Brian Leetch then you have had a successful draft. In addition to Leetch, the Rangers added 2 centers, both of whom played in the NHL for 600+ games. Mark Janssens was a journeyman checking center in the league for many years while Darren Turcotte was a good offensive player whose career was derailed by injury problems. Nevertheless, Turcotte was moved early in the 1993-1994 season in a deal that netted the Rangers solid, two-way Forward Steve Larmer from Hartford. Larmer would go on to win the Stanley Cup with the Rangers that season.
Lowlights: While you have to feel good having added 3 NHL regulars, missing on picks 51 and 53 was not good. Bret Walter and Shaun Clouston were teammates at the University of Alberta but both failed to reach the NHL. Those picks today would be late second rounders and to have missed on both would definitely be the lowlights of this draft.
Jayson More - Round 1, 10th overall - 406GP - 18G - 54A - 72Pts - 702PIM
Daniel Lacroix - Round 2, 31st overall - 188GP - 11G - 7 A - 18 Pts - 379PIM
Simon Gagne - Round 3, 46th overall - 0 NHL GP
Mike Sullivan - Round 4, 69th overall - 709GP - 54G - 82A - 136Pts - 203PIM
Erik O'Borsky - Round 5, 94th overall - 0 NHL GP
Ludek Cajka - Round 6, 115th overall - 0 NHL GP
Clint Thomas - Round 7, 136th overall - 0 NHL GP
Chuck Wiegand - Round 8, 157th overall - 0 NHL GP
Eric Burrill - Round 9, 178th overall - 0 NHL GP
Dave Porter - Round 10, 199th overall - 0 NHL GP
Brett Barnett - Round 10, 205th overall - 0 NHL GP
Lance Marciano - Round 11, 220th overall - 0 NHL GP
Highlights: This draft was not near the success story of the 1986 draft. 1st rounder, Jay More, was a decent depth defenseman for several years. His career was probably prolonged by the expansion era in the early ‘90’s. 2nd round pick Dan Lacroix had a nice run in the QMJHL but never could convert that into success at the NHL level. 4th round draft pick Mike Sullivan had the best career in the NHL. He has been rumored to be the next assistant head coach of the Rangers under John Tortorella if Jim Schoenfeld gets bumped back upstairs.
Lowlights: There were many in this draft. Neither of their two top picks turned into much. Their 3rd round pick, Simon Gagne (unfortunately not the current Flyers LW) never appeared in the NHL. Additionally, none of the players chosen in rounds 5 – 11 ever made it into the NHL.
Troy Mallette - Round 2, 22nd overall - 456GP - 51G - 68A - 119Pts - 1,226 PIM
Murray Duval - Round 2, 26th overall - 0 NHL GP
Tony Amonte - Round 4, 68th overall - 1,174GP - 416G - 484A - 900Pts - 752PIM
Martin Bergeron - Round 5, 99th overall - 0 NHL GP
Dennis Vial - Round 6, 110th overall - 242GP - 4G - 15A - 19Pts - 794PIM
Mike Rosati - Round 7, 131st overall - 1GP - 0G - 0A - 0Pts - 0PIM
Eric Couvrette - Round 8, 152nd overall - 0 NHL GP
Paul Cain - Round 10, 194th overall - 0 NHL GP
Eric Fenton - Round 10, 202nd overall - 0 NHL GP
Peter Fiorentino - Round 11, 215th overall - 1GP - 0G - 0A - 0Pts - 0PIM
Keith Silfstein - Round 12, 236th overall - 0 NHL GP
Highlights: Obviously the big name here was Tony Amonte. He scored 900 points in a very good career with the Rangers, Blackhawks, Flyers, Coyotes and Flames. Both Troy Mallette and Denis Vial were noted tough guys who contributed as journeymen for several teams.
Lowlights: Of the 11 players drafted, only 3 contributed anything in the NHL. The 26th overall selection would be a first round pick today and to get no production from that player (Murray Duval) is disappointing.
Steven Rice - Round 1, 20th overall - 329GP - 64G - 61A - 125Pts - 275PIM
Jason Prosofsky - Round 2, 40th overall - 0 NHL GP
Rob Zamuner - Round 3, 45th overall - 798GP - 139G - 172A - 311Pts - 467PIM
Louie DeBrusk - Round 3, 49th overall - 401GP - 24G - 17A - 41Pts - 1,161PIM
Jim Cummins - Round 4, 67th overall - 511GP - 24G - 36A - 60Pts - 1,538PIM
Aaron Miller - Round 5, 88th overall - 677Gp - 25G - 94A - 119Pts - 422PIM
Joby Messier - Round 6, 118th overall - 25GP - 0G - 4A - 4Pts - 24PIM
Greg Leahy - Round 7, 139th overall - 0 NHL GP
Greg Spenrath - Round 8, 160th overall - 0 NHL GP
Mark Bavis - Round 9, 181st overall - 0 NHL GP
Roman Oksiuta - Round 10, 202nd overall - 153GP - 46G - 41A - 87Pts - 100PIM
Steve Locke - Round 11, 223rd overall - 0 NHL GP
Kenneth MacDermid - Round 12, 244th overall - 0 NHL GP
Highlights: This very easily could be the Ranger’s most successful draft of the past quarter-century. Not only did the Rangers draft 5 players who each played in a minimum of 300 NHL games (albeit none of these players made much of an impact for New York) but the Rangers packaged up two of these players ,RW Steven Rice and LW Louie DeBrusk, with veteran Center Bernie Nicholls and Defenseman David Shaw for Mark Messier and Jeff Beukeboom. Of course Messier and Beukeboom helped steer the ’94 squad to the Stanley Cup thus breaking a 54 year drought and putting to rest the chants of, “1940!” Zamuner went on to a successful 13 year career spanning nearly 800 games with 4 clubs. Jim Cummins appeared in parts of 12 seasons and was a noted tough guy. Aaron Miller despite never playing a game in a Rangers uniform carved out a solid 14-year career as a stay-at-home defenseman with several NHL organizations. Even 10th round pick Roman Oksiuta, showed a decent scoring touch in parts of 4 NHL seasons scoring an average of .3 GPG and .57 PPG over 153 career games before heading back to Europe to conclude his career. Oksiuta was also one of the pieces the Rangers sent to Edmonton to acquire veteran Defenseman Kevin Lowe who played an important role on the 1994 Cup winning team.
Lowlights: Missing on their second round pick #40 overall, is disappointing. Other than that this draft was a huge success.
Michael Stewart - Round 1, 13th overall - 0 NHL GP
Doug Weight - Round 2, 34th overall - 1,184GP - 275G - 732A - 1,007Pts - 952PIM
John Vary - Round 3, 55th overall - 0 NHL GP
Jeff Nielsen - Round 4, 69th overall - 252GP - 20G - 27A - 47Pts - 70PIM
Rick Willis - Round 4, 76th overall - 0 NHL GP
Sergei Zubov - Round 5, 85th overall - 1,068GP - 152G - 619A - 771Pts - 337PIM
Lubos Rob - Round 5, 99th overall - 0 NHL GP
Jason Weinrich - Round 6, 118th overall - 0 NHL GP
Bryan Lonsinger - Round 7, 139th overall - 0 NHL GP
Todd Hedlund - Round 8, 160th overall - 0 NHL GP
Andy Silverman - Round 9, 181th overall - 0 NHL GP
Jon Hillebrandt - Round 10, 202th overall - 0 NHL GP
Brett Lievers - Round 11, 223rd overall - 0 NHL GP
Sergei Nemchinov - Round 12, 244th overall - 761GP - 152G - 193A - 345Pts - 251PIM
Highlights: There’s a decent shot that 2 of the players drafted in 1990, Doug Weight and Sergei Zubov, will one day be enshrined into the NHL Hall of Fame. Zubov was Brian Leetch’s running mate for a few seasons and actually led the team in scoring during the 1993-1994 regular season with 89 points. He was later traded by the Rangers before the 1996-1997 season with C Petr Nedved for D Ulf Samuelsson and LW Luc Robitaille. Doug Weight has had a stellar career with the Rangers, Oilers, Blues (twice), Ducks, Hurricanes and currently the Islanders. He is likely to return for his 18th season overall and 2nd with the Islanders. He was flipped by the Rangers to the Oilers at the deadline in 1993 for one of my personal favorites, Esa Tikannen. Twelfth round pick, Sergei Nemchinov was also a key contributor on the 1994 Rangers club and finished his 11 year career having appeared in 761 NHL games.
Lowlights: The Rangers completely whiffed on 3 of their first five picks getting no NHL games from the 13th, 55th, and the 76th selections overall. It’s tough when you get nothing from your first round pick; especially one as high as 13th overall. The Rangers also drafted a total of 10 players who never appeared in the NHL.
A final analysis of these drafts show the Rangers netting a Hall-of-Fame Defenseman in Brian Leetch, and several assets that would be dealt to help bring to the Rangers players who played key roles on the 1994 team like Steve Larmer, Kevin Lowe, Brian Noonan, Stephane Matteau, Esa Tikannen, Jeff Beukeboom and Mark Messier. The Rangers also drafted a couple of players who would contribute directly to winning the Stanley Cup in Sergei Zubov and Sergei Nemchinov. That’s not a bad haul for a five year period.