He idolized Brian Leetch and his father is a season-ticket holder at Madison Square Garden. But it’s not the sentimental reasons that spurred the Rangers to select defenseman Bobby Sanguinetti in the first round of the NHL draft on Saturday.
“We know he’s three, four, five years away,” Rangers assistant general manager Don Maloney said by telephone from General Motors Place in Vancouver, British Columbia. “But the way the game has trended, he has a game that is suited for the new NHL.”
Twelve months ago, the shy and unassuming Phil Kessel might have looked forward to his draft day with plenty of excitement.
As this Saturday and the NHL Entry Draft arrived and passed, the emotion that Kessel seemed to exude was relief. When the Boston Bruins made Kessel the fifth overall pick, the waiting, speculation and yes, maybe even some pain for Kessel was over.
It was a year ago that Kessel, one of the most talked-about recruits to enter the college game in some time, was the top-rated prospect for the 2006 Entry Draft. Despite putting up 51 points in 39 games with Minnesota and an additional 11 points in seven games at the World Junior tournament, Kessel’s stock fell.