Recap: Gordie Clark and Jeff Gorton Draft Chat

Last night, Rangers Director of Player Personnel Gordie Clark and assistant Director of Player Personnel Jeff Gorton held a live video chat at Blueshirts United.

Click here to watch the 50 minute video.

Here is a recap of the main points of the chat:

  • Clark says that the team trusts it’s scouts and they have done plenty of mock drafts to see where certain players could be drafted.
  • He follows that by saying that there are seven or eight guys that everyone will have at the top of the board and make impacts at their position when they come into the league. He says that as you go down the list, there are still players that will play in the top six and be top four defenseman.
  • Gorton says that the Rangers have a few guys in mind to pick at 15. They say that it’s different from last year where they felt confident Dylan McIlrath would be there.
  • On Tim Erixon, Clark says that he was right after Chris Kreider on the Rangers draft board in 2009. Kreider was taken because of his explosive speed and natural scoring ability. Clark says that he had Glen Sather call Calgary twice to ask if they were going to sign Erixon. Clark called him an “elite defenseman.”
  • Gorton says that getting Erixon is like getting another first round pick. He says that the second round isn’t as deep as it was in the past and felt good enough to send both second round picks to get Erixon.

  • Clark says that they have done mock drafts where the player the Rangers wanted was taken and they traded down to take another player and get another pick. He says that the Rangers probably have four plans and should have an indication around pick 10 on what will happen.
  • Gorton says that the Rangers are still looking for a number one center and mentions Derek Stepan as someone who may be able to grow into that role. He says that it’s shortsighted to say that they will take a center just because they need a center. He says that if there is a tie between a center and a defenseman, the team would likely take a center because of the depth they have built on defense.
  • Clark says that size is always appealing when looking at players. Clark says that the most important quality in a player is “hockey sense.” He says that hockey sense is the number one thing that you need to be able to have to play in the NHL.
  • On character, Gorton says that “it’s everything” and that the young players in the organization are character players. Gorton called Rocco Grimaldi a “little warrior” and someone who has a lot of character.
  • On Mark McNeill, Clark says that he was on a very average team and took the team on his back and towards the playoffs. Clark says that he won eight faceoffs in a row in a game that they saw and tested very well at the combine.
  • If a defenseman is “that far ahead” of the next player on the board, the Rangers will take the defenseman. Gorton says that getting a forward is something that they need to do, but they can’t let a player that they have so highly ranked pass them by.
  • On Mikhail Pashnin, he will come over to the Rangers development camp and “it’s a good bet” that he will be signed. Clark says that Pashnin’s game will play much better in the NHL than the KHL.
  • “You can never have enough quality defenseman.”
  • Gorton says that this is a big year for the Rangers to move forward in their development. He says that they will look at everything, short-term and long-term, in trying to get better.
  • On playoff experience, Clark says that it’s something that the young players needed to have.
  • On Carl Hagelin, Gorton says that he got better with each game that he played in the AHL. He has good speed and the team is very high on him
  • Gorton says that the Rangers are aware of the ‘Russian factor” but they take the right player for them.
  • On Evgeny Grachev, Clark says that if he could go back, he would have left Grachev in Brampton for his last year in junior. He thinks that Grachev will challenge for a spot with the Rangers this season.
  • The Rangers don’t have a bias against the QMJHL. Gorton says that it’s a coincidence that the team hasn’t taken a Quebec player but they have no problems with it. Clark says that he would love to draft Jonathan Huberdeau or Sean Couturier. He also says that there are fewer players and fewer teams in the Q and that has an impact on it.
  • Clark says that the combine is the last chance to talk with prospects and that the team already has an indication on whether they want to take a player before they get to the combine.
  • Gorton says that the team will look at goalies if they think one will project out to be a starter or backup at the NHL. He says that they like Scott Stajcer even though he has dealt with injuries. If there is good value they will take a goalie.
  • On Jason Missiaen, the Rangers scouts kept looking at him and seeing him progress and get better and they decided to sign him.
  • Clark says that it would cost the Rangers Henrik Lundqvist to move up to take a player like Gabriel Landeskong
  • Gorton says that the acquisition of Oscar Lindberg made it easier to trade a player like Roman Horak.
  • On Kreider, Clark says that Chris Kreider is ready to turn pro, but that players don’t leave college unless they are sure. He says that Derek Stepan was 100% ready to turn pro when he left Wisconsin. Clark says that Kreider is fast tracking himself this summer and will be ready to concentrate on his pro career next summer.