Some excerpts from today's 20-minute conference call with Clark, the team's player personnel director, and assistant personnel director Gorton on the June 25-26 enrty draft in L.A., where the Rangers are scheduled to pick 10th in the first round:
CLARK: “It may not be deep in real top-end players but it’s very deep in players who will end up playing in the NHL on top three lines….there’s a lot of guys who are going to play in the top three lines or top six D.....It’s not a real deep draft as far as what you might call a franchise player, some people claim you add (Cam) Fowler or (Erik) Gudbranson to the top two, but from 5 to 20, the 19th guy could go sixth, the seventh guy could go 18th. We think we can bring an impact player to the new core of Rangers with one of those guys, but we just have to see how it all starts falling after three or four."
CLARK: “We have our A-rated players and if any of those are available...we think they have a chance of being a top-end guy. If they’re gone, we can start maybe looking at what we’ll do at a certain position, another impact guy to bring into the good core of young kids we already have."
When I asked him who his A-rated players were, he hit me with the familiar Torts line "None of your business", then Gorton said:
After the top two, "there's a bit of a falloff....there’s four, five or maybe seven guys, depending who you’re talking to, there’s probably another ten guys who you can throw a blanket over. We have guys we really like, each team’s different…"
As I wrote on Twitter: "We think quite a bit of him," said Clark, referring to Vladimir Taresenko, but are doing their due diligence to see when and if he might leave Russia, dispatching Russian scout Vladimir Lutchenko today for one last face-to-face visit before the draft.
"He’ll have the most updated information on what these guys are thinking, if they signed, where they stand, as of today. He (Lutchenko) has been right on Anisimov and Grachev and unfortunately, Cherpanov, as to if they would come over. "
CLARK ON TRADING UP OR DOWN: "Those really are (options) , we’ve talked to Glen, he usually takes care of that. It will depend on how the first five or six go…"
GORTON ON SPECIFIC PLAYERS:
Brett Connolly: " A highly skilled guy, as an underage, he was probably in the same conversation as Hall and
Switzerland's Nino Neiderreiter: "One of those few guys that comes over and played in WHL, had a great year, a goal scorer and a big body, he’s gonna be a good player."
Jeff Skinner: "A goal scorer, had 70 or 80 goals during the season and the tournament in Bratislava, a little bit undersized, but has pure offensive talent and a natural scorer, maybe one of the best scorers in the draft. He’s gonna be a pretty high pick."
Nick Bjugstad: "A big specimen-type kid, has a lot of lot of talent,
Kirill Kabanov: "He’s had a bunch of incidents, he's in Moncton and at a playoff game we were at, he ended up on the bench, got yelled at by his teammates, never came out for third period, next day or so he was on a plane. There’s a lot of talent there, I know with the Russians you always hear about character but it's the same for other kids. He has some issues, you better do your homework before pulling the trigger and drafting a guy like that."