So goaltender Jack Campbell earned his third consecutive shutout for the U.S. Men’s National Under-18 team in a 5-0 whitewash of Finland that sent the Americans into the World Championship gold-medal game for the second straight year.  The Port Huron , Michigan native has been impressive and could be the first goalie taken in the NHL entry draft in June.

                          At least one mock draft I’ve seen has the Rangers taking Campbell at No. 10. I tend to doubt it. Traditionally, clubs shy away from using a high first-rounder on a netminder; quality goalies are available in later rounds, and I agree with that strategy.

                          Outside of Henrik Lundqvist (eighth round, 2000) though, the Blueshirts record since 1990 on later-round goaltenders is not encouraging: Corey Hirsch (1991), Dave Trofimenkoff (1993), Vitaly Yeremeyev (1994), Jeff Hall (1995), Jason McLean (1997)  Jason LaBarbera (1998), Johan Asplund (1999), Brandon Snee (2000), Chris Holt (2003), Antoine LaFleur (2007)….may have missed one or two, but you get the picture.

                          Of course, the Rangers also chose Dan Cloutier at 26 overall in 1994, Al Montoya at No. 6 in 2004 and Dan Blackburn at No. 10 in 2001. Chad Johnson, acquired from Pittsburgh at last year’s draft in Montreal , has potential, and the front office, at least short-term, is looking for a veteran to back up Lundqvist, who is signed through 2013-14.  

                         Who would I prefer? Best available scoring forward:  Neideretter, Burmistrov, Tarasenko, maybe Johanson.



                   Watched part of Caps-Canadiens and Bruins-Sabres last night with a pal at Warren 77, the snug Tribeca bar co-owned by Matt Abramcyck, Sean Avery and Chris Miller but made it home for Satan’s double-OT winner. Top-notch staff at the busy joint, including Sean’s younger brother Scott, a former goalie and serious fan who confessed that his second favorite team is the Kings. I can vouch for the Hoegaarden and Stella on tap, the sliders, onion rings with chipotle sauce and chili. Next time, we’re tucking into the plate of mac-and-cheese, which drew raves from other patrons. Just sayin’: I believe Devils will stave off elimination tonight….


              The all-rookie team on my ballot: Forwards---Matt Duschene, Colorado ; John Tavares, Islanders; Jamie Benn, Dallas , Defense---Tyler Myers, Buffalo ; Michael Del Zotto, Rangers, Goal---Jimmy Howard, Detroit

                  Thoughts on any of the above?

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