Michael St. Croix is a New York Rangers prospect making waves in juniors and it's time to get to know him.
Who is this prospect? What type of talent does he possess? What does his future with the Rangers look like?
We'll answer those three essential questions and give you everything you need to know about Michael St. Croix.
St. Croix is a 19-year-old center prospect from Manitoba, Canada, who was selected with the 106th overall pick in the 2011 NHL Draft.
His career with the Edmonton Oil Kings of the WHL started in earnest in the 2009-10 season, when he scored 18 goals and added 28 assists.
In 2010-11, the 5'11" 179-pound St. Croix continued to play well, scoring 27 goals and adding 48 assists.
2011-12 was his breakout season. St. Croix scored 45 goals and added 60 assists, for an outstanding 105 points in only 72 games.
This season, through 60 games, the center has scored 31 goals and added 43 assists.
The Oil Kings all-time leading scorer has a nice NHL pedigree. His father was former goaltender Rick St. Croix and his brother, Chris St. Croix, was drafted by the Calgary Flames.
He's been the WHL Player of the Week multiple times and was an All-Star in 2011-12.
St. Croix may be small, but he makes up for it in other areas.
The center is very fast and is smooth with the puck. He's a terrific passer who has shown finishing ability.
St. Croix, if anything, is a playmaker. He's put up big numbers in juniors and has a bit of flair to his game. He has great vision on the ice, which allows him to make plays and put his teammates in position to score.
He has the offensive talent, but still hasn't been consistent enough on both sides of the puck to make it out of juniors.
The lack of strength will be an issue on defense, as he will get bullied by bigger centers. He won't be able to dig in the corners and will need space to operate.
St. Croix projects as a talented, second-line center.
He's not going to offer much on defense, but will excel on the power play—potentially operating at the point—and as an offensively-minded center.
His size will always be a limitation. St. Croix won't offer anything on the penalty kill and will probably end up being a liability on defense.
That said, St. Croix is a nice looking prospect. He has the speed and vision to be a productive offensive player.
St. Croix needs to spend a year or two in the AHL, gaining strength and experience before he can be considered for the NHL roster.
But his high-profile junior career deserves notice and he's certainly on the radar of the Rangers. With time, St. Croix could establish himself as a top-end player for New York.