Saturday, June 25, 2011

Rangers Select Center Michael St. Croix in Fourth Round

With the 106th pick in the 2011 draft the New York Rangers selected Michael St. Croix out of Edmonton (WHL).  He scored 27 goals and had 48 assists in 68 games this past season.  The reason that St. Croix, ranked 59 in the final rankings, fell to the fourth round has to be about size concerns.  Coming in at 5-foot-11 and 179 pounds which is adequate size, but more difficult at the center position.
St. Croix is seen as a tremendous skater with speed and elusiveness that is mainly a play-maker but can score when necessary.  Has to work on the rest of his game and hope that his offensive skills can maintain as he deals with bigger competition. 
Good value getting a player who most would have accepted in the second round with a mid-fourth rounder.
Scouts Take:
Like McNeill, St. Croix is to be commended for picking up his game and making a statement to scouts as the season went on. Coming into it, the season, the Winnipeg native had high offensive expectations given the flashes he showed as a rookie with the Oil Kings last year. He got off to a slow start, and compounded with some indifferent defensive play, was headed down in some NHL teams' eyes until he turned things around at mid-season and finished the year strong. A very good skater who can dangle with the best of them, he's got a lightning release and just seems to have that sixth sense around the net when it comes to scoring goals or setting them up. He tallied 27 markers and 75 points in 68 games, finishing just three points off the scoring lead to Dylan Wruck. His willingness to get his nose dirty and play more responsible in all zones is precisely why his stock is up these days. Will it be enough to get him into the first round? That remains to be seen, but even if he doesn't crack the Friday night lineup, he won't be around long on Saturday, as he has some of the best natural upside of any in this class. His average size (5-11, 165) hurts him- he needs to get a lot stronger, but that should come in time.
“Michael St. Croix had a solid, though not spectacular season in the WHL this year. The skilled center built on his rookie campaign by becoming a leader with the young Oil Kings, scoring 75 points and improving his plus/minus rating by an impressive 49 points in his second year. St. Croix is a competitive player who likes to set up his teammates, but can also finish when he gets the chance. Next season will go a long way in determining what kind of player St. Croix will be. If he can produce at the level he’s capable of, he could quickly establish himself as one of the potential steals in the 2011 draft.”