Gabe Perreault tops Rangers prospects selected in 2023 NHL Draft

Gabe Perreault leading the rush
Gabe Perreault (Photo Credit: BC Athletics)

Nearly one year ago now, the New York Rangers selected forward Gabe Perreault among their five picks in the 2023 NHL Draft. It’s a pick they remain quite happy about, just as the Blueshirts must be pleased with the progress of their 2023 draft class overall.

After Perreault, the Rangers selected defenseman Drew Fortescue in the third round, defenseman Rasmus Larsson in the fifth round and forwards Dylan Roobroeck and Ty Henricks in the sixth round.

Two members of that draft class won a gold medal at the 2024 IIHF World Junior Championship, and a third signed his entry-level contract late in the season and appeared in the Calder Cup Playoffs with the Hartford Wolf Pack.

That’s the type of success and progress Rangers general manager Chris Drury would like to replicate when the 2024 NHL Draft tales place Jun 28-29 at the Sphere in Las Vegas.

Related: Rangers 2022 NHL Draft class graduated four players to Hartford Wolf Pack

How Rangers picks from 2023 NHL Draft are progressing

Gabe Perreault
Gabe Perreault warms up (Photo taken by Alan Selavka)

Gabe Perreault (No. 23 overall)

After failing to have a first-round pick in 2022, the Rangers used their own first-round pick last year to select Perreault from the United States National Team Development Program (USNTDP) of the United States Hockey League (USHL) at No. 23 overall. In his first year in the national program, Perreault recorded 18 goals and 32 assists in 51 games with the U-17 team. During his draft-eligible year, Perreault set the record for most points in a single season by any player in the history of the program with 53 goals and 79 assists for 132 points. He represented the United States at the 2023 IIHF World U18 Championships, where he helped them win the gold medal and ranked second on the team in scoring with five goals and 13 assists.

One of the reasons why Perreault may have fallen to 23rd in the draft was a belief that he isn’t the strongest skater.

Boston College coach Greg Brown said that “His anticipation and thinking are at such a high level, you don’t even notice. He works very hard, his skating will pick up. He’s usually taking two steps in the right direction before anyone might know. It’s certainly not a problem for him.”

Perreault scored 19 goals and 41 assists for 60 points in 36 games played during his freshman campaign at BC and was named to the All-Hockey East Second Team and Hockey East All-Rookie Team. He was also helped the United States win gold at 2024 World Juniors, when he recorded three goals and seven assists in seven games.

The 19-year-old averaged 1.67 points per game at BC, third best in the NCAA and only slightly behind Macklin Celebrini of Boston University (1.68), who’s the consensus top overall pick in the 2024 draft.

Perreault is expected to return to Chestnut Hill for his sophomore season, and then could turn pro after his second season is complete. The Rangers hold his signing rights until August 15, 2027.

Drew Fortescue (No. 90 overall)

With both their first-round pick and third-round selection, the Rangers selected a player from the USNTDP, where New York’s assistant coach Dan Muse had coached previously. Drew Fortescue was taken at No. 90 overall in the third round and joined Perreault at Boston College and on the United States team in the 2024 WJC. The left-shot defenseman amassed four goals and four assists for eight points with a plus-13 rating in 40 games for BC. Despite being a freshman, Fortescue was entrusted with a shutdown defensive assignment, often skating on the Eagles top defensive unit, matching up against the opposition’s best forwards.

Fortescue scored one goal and had three assists in seven games as the United States won the WJC gold medal. He will return to Boston College in the fall for his sophomore season. The Rangers may want Fortescue to remain in the NCAA for another year to add a bit more offense to his game before offering him an entry-level contract. The team holds his signing rights until August 15, 2027.

Rasmus Larsson (No. 152 overall)

Swedish defenseman Rasmus Larsson was the Rangers’ selection at number 152 overall after acquiring the pick from the Edmonton Oilers as a result of a trade on March 31, 2023 that sent Jayden Grubbe’s signing rights to Edmonton in exchange for this fifth-round pick. Larsson is a 6-foor-3 left-shot defenseman, who’s been described as a sturdy, puck- moving player with an accurate shot and plenty of natural athleticism. Larsson played for both the Swedish U20 and U19 international teams as well as Vasteras IK of Sweden’s top junior league. He was one of the top scoring defenseman, with 16 goals and 18 assists for 34 points and a plus-23 rating in 50 games during the 2022-23 season. He led all J20 Nationnell defensemen with his 16 goals. After coming over to North America, Larsson scored four goals and had 13 assists for 17 points in 59 regular-season games for the Green Bay Gamblers in the USHL. He was a plus-2 in six playoff games. Larsson is part of a large incoming freshman class at Northern Michigan. When introducing Larsson and the rest of the incoming recruiting class, then Wildcats coach Grant Potulny said “Rasmus is a long, smooth skating defenseman with incredible edge work. He is able to manipulate defenders on the offensive blue line and is someone who will be up in the rush for us next season. He has always generated offense and we believe that will continue to be the case at NMU.” The Rangers hold Larsson’s signing rights until August 15, 2028.

Dylan Roobroeck (No. 178 overall)

In the sixth round, the Rangers selected forward Dylan Roobroeck at No. 178. a pick acquired from the Winnipeg Jets as part of the trade on March 21, 2022 for Andrew Copp. The 6-foot-7, 204 pound forward collected 26 goals and 46 assists for 72 points in 68 regular season games in the 2023-24 season for Oshawa of the Ontario Hockey League (OHL). During the OHL playoffs, Roobroeck had a team-high 11 goals, along with 15 assists for 26 points in 21 games as they won the Bobby Orr Trophy as the Eastern Conference Champions. Roobroeck became the first player from the 2023 draft class to sign with the Rangers, inking his three-year, entry-level contract on May 20. Two days later, Roobroeck made his AHL debut in a Calder Cup playoff game against the Hershey Bears.

Ty Henricks (No. 183 overall)

With their final pick of the draft in the sixth round, the Rangers selected left wing Ty Henricks at No. 183 overall. Henricks spent the 2023-24 season with the Muskegon Lumberjacks in the USHL, scoring 17 goals and adding 15 assists for 32 points in 60 regular-season games before adding one goal in eight playoff games. Henricks is committed to playing at Western Michigan University. When commenting about his commitment to the school, Henricks stated “I really like the way the play; they play physical, they play hard, they have a presence that a lot of teams don’t have. They have a physical presence where, if somebody picks the puck up along the boards, they know they’re going to get hit every single time … so that’s whey I picked it, they play more of my style, so I think I’ll fit in really well.” There is no rush for him to sign a professional contract, as his signing rights do not expire until August 1, 2029.

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