The New York Rangers had to wait a while before their first pick in the 2014 NHL Entry Draft, but the 59th pick finally came today (and Kevin can go away). The Rangers selected Brandon Halverson, a goaltender from the Sault St. Marie Grayhounds of the Ontario Hockey League.
Halverson, 18, is a massive 6’4, 179 pound goaltender who fits the criteria for both a Rangers’ pick and a Benoit Allaire project. The Rangers love guys who show significant improvement as the season goes on, and Halverson absolutely did. In the month of March, Halverson was a monster in the March, posting a 2.17 GAA and a .940 Save %.
I’ve barely watched him play, so I’m not going to BS you with made-up stuff. Instead, I’ll leave it to the guys who have seen Halverson. Here’s Brock Otten of OHL Prospects:
Halverson is a mammoth goaltender (6’4) who saved his best for last. He was sensational in the final month of the season and left a good taste in the mouths of NHL scouts. Halverson isn’t all that different from the guy he’s been learning from, Matt Murray. Lots of athleticism, and you can’t teach his size, but he has some holes positionally that make him inconsistent at this point. Next year, Murray will move on and the crease in the Soo will likely be his for the taking. All signs point to the Greyhounds having a ton of faith in Halverson moving forward and he could end up developing into a real good netminder.
There’s nobody in the NHL who teaches positioning better than Rangers’ goaltending coach Benoit Allaire, so that can be worked on. It’s the size and athleticism that presumably Clark and Allaire love.
Here’s some of what Future Considerations says about Halverson:
“Is poised in the net and is very strong when he secures the puck; a battler who does not let the puck get away from him once he has captured it in his glove or under his pad. Strong technically with a tight five hole. His blocker and glove are also strengths. Halverson is a very good communicator with the defensemen and typically handles the puck well. Needs to be more aggressive in his crease and get to the top of the blue paint, where he’ll take up even more of the net. Would benefit his game to be more active and clear pucks within his reach or use his stick to poke check. Positioning is still a work in progress as he could challenge shooters more by coming out further, but with his size and in this league, he can get away with sitting deeper in the crease.”
With Talbot newly promoted and Missiaen and Stajcer likely leaving due to lack of development, the Rangers sorely needed to add a goaltending prospect to the pool. Ideally, he and Mackenzie Skapski will battle for a spot as Lundqvist enters the twilight of his career in 3-5 years.
The Rangers pick next, barring any trades, at 85th overall.
UPDATE: Some more opinions on Halverson.
Great pick by the NYR for Halverson-Best puck handling Goalie I've EVER seen (including Brodeur) & he can stop the puck with size/technique!
— Mark Seidel (@MarkSeidel) June 28, 2014
Love the pick of Halverson in the second round. I think he was the second best goalie available behind Demko. Huge, huge upside.
— Chris Dilks (@ChrisDilks) June 28, 2014
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