Tuesday, September 1, 2009

More HF's Top 20 Prospects, Fall 2009

New York Rangers
3. (NR) Ryan McDonagh, D Grade: 8.0C
Acquired: 6/30/09 Trade w/Montreal (First Round, 12th overall, 2007 NHL Entry Draft)
Age: 20

McDonagh was Minnesota’s reigning “Mr. Hockey” when he was selected first among the US defensemen available in the 2007 NHL Entry Draft. A quick-skating offensive blueliner, McDonagh was selected 12th overall by the Montreal Canadiens. He entered the University of Wisconsin that fall, and did not get much ice time. However, he showed enough leadership skills so that after the season, the coaching staff named him an assistant captain for the 2008-09 season.

This past season, McDonagh got much more ice time, became a steady presence along the blueline, and was voted the most competitive player on the squad by his teammates. A solid performer on defense for the United States in the 2009 U20 World Junior Championships, McDonagh was also named to the Big Ten Academic All-Conference team this past spring.

Recently named a tri-captain of the 2009-10 Badgers, McDonagh is the only junior among the three. This is particularly significant because the 2009-10 squad is considered an upperclassmen team. With the decision of Jamie McBain (CAR) to join the professional ranks, McDonagh will get the opportunity to show his offensive skills in the coming season. Should he do so, this will most likely be his last collegiate season.

4. (5) Derek Stepan, C Grade: 8.0C
Acquired: Second Round, 51st overall, 2008 NHL Entry Draft
Age: 19

University of Wisconsin sophomore Stepan had a very good freshman season with the Badgers during 2008-09. After starting slowly, he became a go-to center as the season went along. He finished second on the Badgers in scoring, and was the top scorer on the team in the final 20 games of the season. The two-time WCHA Rookie of the Week was third among WCHA freshmen last season.

Stepan has a high hockey IQ, great instincts, and soft hands. His positioning and coolness under pressure are top notch. Invited to the US U20 World Junior Championships Tryouts in Lake Placid earlier this month, Stepan was one of the better players in the camp.

Likely to be selected to play for the United States in the 2010 U20 WJCs, Stepan is expected to be an offensive for the US team, and play a large amount of ice time in all situations for the Badgers during this coming season.