Breaking down the Rangers 2nd-7th round picks
Seven names were drawn on day two of the 2018 NHL Entry Draft for the New York Rangers. After a mixed feeling of a day one, day two followed suit with some interesting selections.
2nd Round, Pick 39 – Olof Lindbom, G
Very interesting pick to say the least. The Rangers have a plethora of talent in between the pipes. As Daniel wrote on his piece for the site, there is plenty of great young talent in the farm.
Lindbom, considered to be the fourth best goalie of this draft class, put up decent numbers in his time with his home club, Djurgarden Jr. of the Swedish Junior League. in 20 appearances with the IF-J20 squad, he had a .897 save percentage allowing 3.10 goals against a game as a 17-year-old.
Where he really shined was during the World Junior Championships. Lindbom posted a blistering save percentage of .949 and only gave up 1.66 goals against in his 6 appearances.
It is unclear where he will fit with all of the other talents in Georgiev, Shestorykin, and Huska on the rise in the Rangers organization behind King Henrik. But if the below tweet is true, maybe the Rangers see a bigger picture with Lindbom.
A source says that Rangers goalie whisperer Benoit Allaire was thrilled with the selection of goalie Olof Lindbom, FWIW. More on that in @TheAthleticNYC later. #NYR
— Rick Carpiniello (@RickCarpiniello) June 23, 2018
3rd Round, Pick 70 – Jacob Ragnarsson, D
The first of four blueliners selected on day two, Ragnarsson shows potential as a decent two-way d-man.
Here's a look at #NYR third-round pick Jacob Ragnarsson. pic.twitter.com/rDknELbl4C
— Alex Nunn (@aj_ranger) June 23, 2018
His offensive production isn’t smoldering but his defensive plays are what Ranarsson is known for. in 47 games with Almtuna IS in Allsvenskan, he contributed 13 points.
Ragnarsson has been described as very active and engaging in the defensive zone.
“In the defensive zone, he is active with the puck, willing to skate it out when needed and pressuring opponents with his long reach and active feet.” Via CanucksArmy
That skillset is needed with the exceedingly rising amount of offensive d-men that could be filtered under Coach Quinn in the upcoming seasons. Having a defenseman that is able to perform a 200-foot game is needed in the Rangers d-core.
3rd Round, Pick 88 – Joey Keane, D
Back-to-back picks for the Blueline in the third round. Joey Keane played adequately for the Barrie Colts last season in the OHL. Labeled as the most improved player for the OHL last year, Keane led all defenseman in plus-minus rating with 45.
WATCH THIS: With their 3rd round (88th overall) pick, the @NYRangers added steady two-way defenceman Joey Keane of the @OHLBarrieColts who led all #OHL blueliners with a plus-45 rating in 2017-18. #NHLDraft pic.twitter.com/FvXf9Pp3Y9
— OntarioHockeyLeague (@OHLHockey) June 23, 2018
Joey Keane joins first-round selection K’Andre Miller as very versatile offensive d-men with great skating ability and puck-moving ability.
Keane wasn’t selected last season in his first entry draft. This time around he fell to the Rangers at 88.
4th Round, Pick 101 – Nico Gross, D
Where have we seen this before, the Rangers went with a third straight man on the blueline. At 101, the Rangers went with the Switzerland native, Nico Gross.
Gross received some pretty reputable accolades last season with both the Oshawa Generals of the OHL and in the world junior championships. He was selected on the OHL’s Second All-Rookie team and was Switzerland’s captain during the WJC U-18.
WATCH THIS: @NYRangers fans can get a glimpse of Swiss defenceman Nico Gross of the @Oshawa_Generals, their 4th round (101st overall) selection. #NHLDraft #OHL pic.twitter.com/OeFJbcMwI8
— OntarioHockeyLeague (@OHLHockey) June 23, 2018
on the defensive end, Gross is skilled in his craft and has shown flashes of shutdown defense at both full strength and penalty killing.
“Defensively, Gross is difficult to beat one-on-one. His skating allows him to keep forwards to the outside. He keeps his gaps tight and uses his stick effectively. He holds the blue line like a seasoned veteran. It’s hard to judge his penalty killing abilities on a Generals’ team where the PK wasn’t that great. But he seems to understand his responsibilities when a man down.” Via OHL Writers
5th Round, Pick 132 – LAURI PAJUNIEMI, RW
Finally a forward, a rightwinger in fact. Pajuniemi had a struggling year last season, his first with TPS at the Liiga level. he only amassed a dismal 7 points in 32 games. but I believe there can be some potential hidden with him.
Fast forward to about minute and a half in, you can see Pajuniemi get forced into the corner, and fight his way around the back of the net to creat a scoring chance. he uses his quick hans to split the two defenders at the face off dot, losing the puck slightly before regaining it to whip around a nice wrister past the goaltender.
Again at 335, we can see him pulling the d-man toward him before burning him along the boards. once he gets a second to look up the sets his sights n a streaking linemate for a nice tap in on the doorstep.
Yes, this is only a few plays, but branching off of those abilities can help mold his play. The Rangers are in need of forward depth, and given time, Pajuniemi can fit in down the line.
6th Round, Pick 163 – SIMON KJELLBERG, D
Back to the Defensemen with the second to last pick in Simon Kjellberg. he was a part of Rögle BK J20 last season in the SuperElit league. In 43 games he had nine points, with four goals and five assists.
A relatively big d-man in this draft at 6′ 3″. He has been regarded as an intelligent d-man but in need of work with mobility.
163. RANGERS: Simon Kjellberg D
Another surprise for me. A big and smart defenseman, but the skating needs much work. #nhldraft2018
— Jimmy Hamrin (@jimmyhamrin) June 23, 2018
He is also the son of Patric Kjellberg, a seven-year NHL vet in the 90s to early 2000s.
7th Round, Pick 216 – RILEY HUGHES RW
Rounding out the New York Rangers picks in 2018, the seventh round selection belonged to RW Riley Hughes.
St. Seb's RW Riley Hughes, a Northeastern commit, taken 216th by New York Rangers. Has size, skating, shot and vision. Needs to play more in the dirty areas, but has the physical tools.
— Jeff Cox (@JeffCoxSports) June 23, 2018
The Rangers traded into the seventh round, but no announcement has been made as to what the other parts of the trade were.
Hughes spent last season with St. Sebastian’s school and registered 21 goals and 15 assists in 30 games. in addition to playign for st. Sebastian, he also had time spent with Sioux City of the USHL.
For the upcoming future, Hughes will be taking his talents to Northeastern University.