In the prospect profile on Sam Jardine I spoke about looking to the Canadian Junior Tier A leagues like the BCHL or the AJHL during the later rounds of the draft. It's something the Devils have done a few times in recent drafts-Derek Rodwell and Curtis Gedig-and usually with the understanding that the player is going to play NCAA hockey to further develop his game.
Often the players from the BCHL/AJHL haven't been scouted as much as the main Canadian junior leagues and a team can possibly unearth a gem in the sixth or seventh round. The latest In Lou We Trust prospect profile again focuses on one of these players: Defenseman Ryan Renz from the Vernon Vipers of the BCHL.
Ryan Renz Career Statistics:
Who Is Ryan Renz?
Renz is a 6'2" 210 defenseman who most recently played for the Vernon Vipers of the BCHL. After spending a few years in the KIJHL league, he settled into a role with the Alberni Bulldogs in the 2009-2010 season. Renz who is committed to attending Northeastern University in 2011 (along with top NHL Draft prospect Jamieson Olesiak), started the 2010-2011 season with the Alberni Bulldogs, but his season took an interesting turn in December of 2010.
Renz, in describing himself states:
"I bring a physical presence and lots of intensity. I try to improve other players as I improve myself and be a team guy and make an impact each time I’m out on the ice,"
Apparently Renz was the focus of some drama during the 2010-2011 season as he left the Bulldogs in late December. After battling injuries early in the year, Renz was eventually traded to the Vernon Vipers (through the Prince George Spruce Kings) in their quest for a three-peat at the Royal Cup. From what I have been able to gather there was talk that he might want to try and play in the WHL (he was drafted in the WHL Entry Draft in the 8th round in 2008) that he was trying to force his way to Vernon or that he was unhappy after head coach Nolan Graham resigned in the offseason.
In this Vernoncentral.ca feature on Renz, after he was named first star of one his first games with the Vipers, you see Renz talk about his departure from Alberni a bit. (If you want to just watch the interview with Renz skip to about 2:30 of the video, otherwise enjoy some Vipers highlights with a Linkin Park song in the background.)
After watching the video I am going to say that he doesn't seem like a bad kid at all.
What Experts Have Said About Renz
Renz is a physical defenseman who plays in all situations. Renz is committed to Northeastern University for next season, which is of course why he's not in the WHL. He was traded twice this season. My call: I think the fact that Renz is playing in the BCHL is going to hurt him here, and I wonder if teams are going to be suspicious of the fact he was traded twice this season.
While Renz was traded twice, he was traded both times on the same day, so it's not like he wore out his welcome with two teams.
It's hard to get a read on what Renz has to offer as there isn't much information out there. We do know that Renz will be exposed to competitive hockey in the Hockey East conference next year, offers good size at 6'2'' 200 pounds and could have been in the WHL had he not committed to Northeastern early. At a program with likely first round pick Olesiak, it's not like he is going to a college team that doesn't have high aspirations. Depending on how high of pick a team invested in him, Renz could provide a great return based upon his draft position. The unknown about Renz is why he left Alberni and as PuckProspectus notes above if that will influence team's opinions of him. I don't think it should. While it obviously affected the number of times scouts got to look at him, I don't think the fact that he might have asked for a trade as a terrible sign. Remember Gabriel Landeskog -who we always hear synonomous with good character- pushed his way via trade from Plymouth to Kitchener. There are a lot of different things at play when a player is in the junior ranks, especially Tier A junior and I won't hold any trade request against Renz.
Should the Devils pick him? He is undoubtably a pick you have to let develop in the college ranks, but the Devils have had success with similar players like Mark Fayne and to a lesser degree Curtis Gedig and if the Devils were to select him in the sixth or seventh round I would welcome the opportunity to watch him develop at Northeastern for the next few years.
Now that you've read all of this information on Ryan Renz, I want to know what you think of him as a prospect. Do you want the Devils to pick him in the late rounds of the draft? Did you see him play or know of any other good scouting reports on him? If so, then please share them in the comments. Thanks for reading and sound off below!