Goal 1: “Foster passes the puck back to Dylan Wruck at the point who feeds St. Croix to Hewitt’s right for the opening goal of the game.” The goal is described as coming from a bad angle shot from the bottom of the faceoff circle
Goal 2: “Samuelsson sends a sharp cross-crease pass to St. Croix who waits out Hewitt and banks a shot in off a Pats defender for the Oil Kings’ third PPG of the game to make it 3-0.”
Goal 3: 12:21 – “St. Croix denied on the hat trick once again as he blasts a power-play shot off the crossbar.10:58 – … and it’s a GOAL! Play finally stops and the officials review St. Croix’s previous attempt. The replay shows the slapshot actually deflects off the crossbar and the back bar to make it 4-1 Oil Kings. St. Croix nets the hat trick with his third PPG of the game.”
Gordie Clark told Blueshirts United that St. Croix was very open to hearing how the Rangers wanted him to get better, “We hoped he would continue where he left off last year. we didn’t want to see a drop off. I thought that he and his team faded in the Memorial Cup last year but he is a big boy and he loved the fact that I went right to him and told him that we thought his game slipped and that he had to do something over the summer to take care of that. He worked out hard and they are going to be one of the teams out in the West to be favored again. He plays a lot, he handles the puck a lot. He is on the power play and he is scoring goals and making plays. That is the kind of player that he has to be.
Leslie Treff writes at Hockey’s Future that St. Croix is a potential second line center and can both score and make plays. She does note that St. Croix does need to add more strength to be a productive force in the NHL.
At WHL from Above, CJ writes that Michael St. Croix isn’t likely to make Team Canada for the World Junior Championships, or be invited to the camp, because of the available high end talent that should be in the NHL.
He writes that St. Croix is “extremely talented offensively” but with Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, Mark Scheifele and Jonathon Huberdeau not in the NHL, there won’t be a spot for him. CJ writes that he expects St. Croix to spend that time making a run at the WHL scoring title.
Bob McKenzie writes that the top six for Team Canada will likely be Huberdeau, Nugent-Hopkins and Scheifele and Ryan Strome centering Charles Hudon and either Ty Rattie or potential #1 overall pick Nathan MacKinnon.
St. Croix is currently 10th in the WHL in points with 14 goals and 23 assists in 28 games.
Could Michael St. Croix Be A Future Star?
Out of all the top prospects the Rangers have drafted over the last decade, perhaps the best prospect capable of becoming a potential top line forward in the NHL could be Michael St. Croix. Since being drafted by the New York Rangers in the 4th round of the 2011 NHL Draft; Michael St. Croix has emerged as a legitimate top prospect with natural scoring ability. His development has been so rampant that many in the hockey world believe that St. Croix has the potential to emerge as a top 6 or even a 1st line forward and scoring threat in the NHL. The Speedy center-man is currently lighting up the score sheet with the Edmonton Oil Kings in the WHL with 25 points (11 goals/14 assist) in the team’s first 19 games. Averaging 1.32 points per game and a team leading 7 PPGs, St. Croix is getting noticed.
The biggest question surrounding Michael St. Croix is his size, or lack of it. At 5’11 and weighing 176 lbs, can St. Croix handle the physical side of the AHL and NHL, despite being ranked as the Rangers top rated center in their organization? Thus far, St. Croix has answered the bell in regards to durability and consistency as a professional as his career stats will suggest:
There is no doubt that Michael St. Croix is a gifted player with natural abilities. However; the next couple of years will be very important for St. Croix with his development not only the physical part, but also the mental side as well. All signs and expectations are encouraging as the Rangers Organization couldn’t be happier with the progression of Michael St. Croix.
When ranking the Rangers top prospects, both Leslie Treff at Hockey’s Future and Corey Pronman at Puck Prospectus had different opinions on where Michael St. Croix should be placed in the top ten.
Pronman ranked St. Croix second and said that he is a very skilled playmaker with high end vision and “sees everything.” He does note that St. Croix has lots to improve upon though with average skating and a less than desirable physical game. He thinks that Pronman could end up as a “good” second line forward.
Treff writes of St. Croix, “He still needs to add upper body strength to his frame, however, his playmaking ability and ever improving zone coverage should make him ready for the leap to professional hockey in 2012-13.”
He had four points, including a hat trick, over the weekend and was the number one star from Buzzing the Net.
St. Croix has 8 goals and 10 assists in 13 games this season. At this point last year he only had 4 goals and 8 assists.
In his season opening game, Michael St. Croix had a goal and an assist as he looks to put up a repeat performance of the 105 points that he put up during the 11-12 season.
At WHL From Above, CJ lists the top 25 players to watch for this coming season and ranks St. Croix 16th.
He writes “The kid can flat out score. He proved that last year. That will definitely continue this year as the Oil Kings are poised for another run at the Memorial Cup after winning the WHL title last season.”
He adds that St. Croix possesses a good chance at challenging presumptive favorite Ty Rattie for the WHL scoring title.
In the 2011 NHL draft, the New York Rangers had six selections that year and aside from their 1st round selection of J.T Miller, the Rangers draft received a B- grade by many hockey analysts. One prospect who was particularly overlooked during the 2011 NHL draft was Michael St. Croix, who was rated #25 among the top prospects before the draft. The 5’11/ 176 pound Winnipeg native slipped to the 4th round until the Rangers drafted him with the #106th selection. St. Croix was known for his high scoring ability, but never considered a complete package; which may have caused him to slip to the 4th round.
Since being drafted, St Croix has done nothing but impress the Rangers organization with a solid season for the Edmonton Oil Kings compiling career numbers and leading all Ranger prospects in goals (45), assists (60), and points (105); including 18 PP goals. The Rangers signing of Michael St. Croix to a three year entry level contract (two–way deal) most recently indicates the Rangers commitment to the speedy center as St. Croix will start the 2012 season in Edmonton and if he continues to develop, we could see the young center playing in the AHL sometime this season.