August 4, 2008
The Garden State native is the next prospect covered in my "Prospect Profiles" series.
In the year before his draft eligibility, he had a breakout year, registering 14 goals and 51 assists for 65 points as a member of the Owen Sound Attack. He led all OHL defensemen in points.
However, due to worries about his defensive positioning, he slipped to 21st overall in the 2006 NHL Draft where the Rangers were able to take him. Growing up a Ranger fan his entire life, he wears number 22 to pay homage to the great No. 2, Brian Leetch.
Last year, he was sent back to the Canadian juniors to further polish his skills and he did not disappoint. He notched 29 goals along with 41 assists to raise his point total on the season to 70, all while registering a low 38 PIM as a member of the Brampton Battalion.
After the OHL season, he was sent to Hartford and was able to register an assist with minimal ice time in 11 games. Despite this, his more than point per-game pace in the OHL is very encouraging for his development.
At the prospect camp after this year's NHL draft, he showed big signs in maturity, both in physical appearance and play on the ice.
My bet is that he spends a year in the AHL as a member of the Hartford Wolf Pack, but I believe that we will be able to see Bobby in the NHL sooner rather than later.
In my mind, he can become that powerplay quarterback that the Rangers have desperately needed on the point for some time now. He certainly has the offensive capability to do so, but how he performs defensively at a higher level remains to be seen, and will be the determination of whether or not he becomes a bottom pairing, PP specialist, or a bonafide first pairing defenseman just like No. 2.