It has been a busy offseason for the New York Rangers so far. A quick recap if you have been living under a rock, General Manager Jeff Gorton and President John Davidson were fired and Chris Drury has become the active President & GM. David Quinn and his staff (except Benoit Allaire) were fired and the Rangers hired highly sought after coach Gerald Gallant.
Recently, the Rangers traded a 7th round pick for Barclay Goodrow and is reported to sign with the Rangers at 6 years for $3.6 million. They also traded Brett Howden to Vegas for a 4th round pick and defensemen Nick DeSimone. With the Seattle draft approaching, fans are waiting to find out who will be selected from the Rangers. The two favorites to be selected are Julien Gauthier and Colin Blackwell.
After that, the trade freeze will be lifted on Thursday at 1pm. The Rangers have one of the deepest prospect pools in the NHL and rumors are swirling on whether they will use their wealth of prospects and their 1st round pick to acquire an elite center like Jack Eichel.
While there is a very high chance that the Rangers will be using their 1st round pick (15th overall) to trade for immediate help before the draft, fans have learned that plans are fluid and can change in an instant. Should the Rangers elect to keep the 15th pick these are 5 players that the Rangers should target if they are available.
Aatu Räty – Kärpät (Liiga)
If you went back over a year ago Aatu Räty was a favorite to be the first overall pick in this draft, so what happened? Räty moved up to the top Finnish league (Liiga) and was very underwhelming only scoring 6 points in 35 games. He was also cut from the U-20 team and did not make the Finnish World Junior squad.
To say this year did not go right for Räty would be an understatement. Many scouts believe it would be a big risk to take him so why should the Rangers select him? Well, despite having an off year he has shown flashes of great skill. He still has good playmaking abilities and a solid shot, but scouts are showing concern on his skating abilities. On top of that, Räty comes in with a big frame of 6’2” and 185 pounds, the weight might be a little low but many players put on extra muscle when coming to the NHL.
Overall, Räty projects as a 200 foot player who can win face offs (which the Rangers need) with offensive upside. With the plethora of high end prospects in the pipeline the Rangers can afford to take a risk on a player like Räty.
Fedor Svechkov – Ladia Togliatti (MHL/VHL)
A name that has been linked to the Rangers with this pick, Svechkov would be a great pick for the Blue Shirts. Described as a competitive, feisty, and defensively responsible player it is easy to see why he has been linked to the Rangers. Scott Wheeler of The Athletic described Svechkov as “one of the most complete players in this draft”.
Svechkov is looked as a “safe” pick with a good chance of making a NHL roster, but might not be a high end offensive player. While he might not be a high end offensive player, that doesn’t mean he can’t drive plays. Svechkov is completely capable of carrying the puck into the offensive zone and creating plays. He also isn’t known as being the strongest skater, but he has been known to be physical and defensively responsible always competing every night.
The Rangers would get a great top 9 forward with Svechkov and should seriously give him a look if he is available Friday.
Zachary L’Heureux – Halifax Mooseheads (QMJHL)
This pick is going in the opposite finesse players and going with the gritting, hard to play against type of player the Rangers are trying to acquire. L’Heureux brings not only grittiness and toughness but skill as well. The biggest knock on him is he can lose control of his temper as he has been suspended from the QMJHL multiple times.
L’Heureux, when on the ice, is impossible to miss. He looks like the Tasmanian devil out there and isn’t afraid to use his body to his advantage. His compete is unmatched and can help a team immensely and can fit the Rangers need of gritty, hard to place against players while still having skill to drive plays and score goals. He is known for leaning on his shot which results in the puck whipping off his stick when releasing.
Many scouts see him as a middle six winger and if the Rangers can get him to control his temper while keeping that chip on his shoulder he would be a great addition to the team. His blend of tenacity and skill could be very beneficial to the Rangers.
Cole Sillinger – Sioux Falls Stampede (USHL)
Sillinger might not be available when the Rangers are on the clock but if he is then he should be seriously looked at if he falls to them. Sillinger can bring a lot to the Rangers, as he was one of the best forwards in the USHL last year. He is described as a relentless, confident, goal scoring forward who can play both center and on the wing.
One of his greatest assets are his stick handling ability and his shot both of which scouts raved over. Sillinger has also been described as a player who’s always engaged in the play, can use his body to drive a play, and has his head on a swivel always looking for options to make a play. His one knack like most young players is his skating as skating is one of the hardest skills to predict in transitioning over to the NHL.
Overall, Sillinger is an incredible talent that can bring high end offensive talent like his play making and amazing shot while at the same time bringing the competitiveness the Rangers are looking for.
Chaz Lucius – U.S. National Development Team (USHL)
Like Sillinger, Lucius might not be available for the Rangers when it is their turn to select. Lucius did not have a great start to the season as he started the season getting surgery to repair a bone lesion in his knee. He had to spend almost 2/3 of the season rehabbing. When he finally came back he lit up the lamp 13 times in 13 games.
Unfortunately again for Lucius, he was unable to compete in the Worlds U18 tournament as he fell ill with a fever. Corey Pronman described Lucius as “one of the most purely skilled players in the draft, with elite one-on-one skills and the ability to make defenders miss” which is high praise for a player who did not play a full season.
Lucius has been projected as both a center and a winger in the NHL and time will tell if he will be able to stick to the center position. Overall, Lucius is an instinctive goal scorer who has no trouble reading the game and could be a great addition to a teams power play. He is committed to go to University of Minnesota next year and should help the Gophers compete next season.
Seattle Kraken Expansion Draft Day
The Seattle Kraken will make their picks today. Who will they take? Get more details here.