Henrik Lundqvist tops Rangers’ late-round gems in NHL Draft since 2000

NHL: Stanley Cup Playoffs-Montreal Canadiens at New York Rangers
Andy Marlin-USA TODAY SportsCredit: Andy Marlin-USA TODAY Sports

Barring a trade or two, the New York Rangers will have four selections in the 2024 NHL Draft next weekend. Along with the No. 30 overall pick in the first round on Friday, the Rangers own picks in the fourth, fifth and sixth rounds Saturday.

That first-round pick will be an important one for the Blueshirts since they do not have a selection in the following two rounds. So, there’ll much pressure to get it right near the end of the first round.

But Chris Drury will be looking for some Day 2 magic at the draft, hitting big on a pick or two in the latter stages. It’s happened before for New York, notably in the seventh round of the 2000 draft when the Rangers selected a goalie by the name of Henrik Lundqvist.

The Hockey Hall of Famer is the gold standard of successful later-round draft picks by the Rangers, but there have been some other notable wins, as well.

Related: Ranking New York Rangers first-round picks in NHL Draft since 2000

New York Rangers late-round gems in NHL Draft since 2000

NHL: Minnesota Wild at New York Rangers
Brad Penner-USA TODAY SportsCredit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

Let’s examine the top 10 best late-round draft picks made by the Rangers since the turn of the century in 2000.

10. Matt Rempe (2020, 6th round, No. 165 overall)

It’s a very small sample size for a very big (6-foot-8) forward, but Matt Rempe squeezes into this list ahead of forwards Ryan Hollweg (2001, 8th round. No. 238 0verall) and Nigel Dawes (2003, 5th round, No. 149 overall). Part of that is the crazy impact Rempe made in just 28 games as a rookie this season (17 regular-season games, 11 in Stanley Cup Playoffs) and the bright future he has at just 21 years of age. The kid is popular and looks like he has what it takes to be a fourth-line staple for years to come.

9. Petr Prucha (2002, 8th round, No. 240 overall)

Petr Prucha scored 30 goals as a 23-year-old rookie with the Rangers in 2005-06 and added 22 the next season. His play really dropped off after that when Prucha scored just 11 goals in his next 90 games on Broadway before he was traded to the Phoenix Coyotes. Prucha was out of the NHL after the 2010-11 season but was a successful late-round pick all things considered.

8. Morgan Barron (2017, 6th round, No. 174 overall)

Morgan Barron has carved out a nice role for himself as a checking center with the Winnipeg Jets after the Rangers traded him there ahead of the 2022 deadline as part of a package for forward Andrew Copp. He only played 18 games in parts of two seasons with the Rangers but 164 games since with the Jets. The 25-year-old scored an NHL career-high 11 goals this past season.

7. Ryan Graves (2013, 4th round, No. 110 overall)

Ryan Graves never played an NHL game with the Rangers, but has become a top-four defenseman in the NHL elsewhere. In 372 NHL games, Graves is a plus-94, including a League-best plus-40 in 2019-20 with the Colorado Avalanche. He’s also had two excellent seasons with the New Jersey Devils and is now on a long-term contract with the Pittsburgh Penguins.

6. Marek Zidlicky (2001, 6th round, No. 176 overall)

Another defensemen drafted by the Rangers in a later round who never played for them and had a solid NHL career. Zidlicky played 836 NHL games for five teams, notably with the Nashville Predators and Minnesota Wild. He also played in three Winter Olympics, including 2006 in Turin when he helped the Czech Republic win the bronze medal.

5. Jesper Fast (2010, 6th round, No. 157 overall)

The Rangers landed one of the best defensive forwards in the game when they selected Jesper Fast late in the 2010 draft. He played seven seasons for the Rangers and helped them reach the 2014 Stanley Cup Final and 2015 Eastern Conference Final. He’s continued to be a respected NHL player with the Carolina Hurricanes since leaving New York as a free agent, and has played 703 regular-season games and 80 postseason games in the NHL.

4. Carl Hagelin (2007, 6th round, No. 168 overall)

One of the fastest skaters in the NHL, Carl Hagelin played four seasons with the Rangers, helping them reach the conference final three times and the Stanley Cup Final once. A solid two-way player, who twice scored 17 goals for the Blueshirts, Hagelin played 713 NHL games for five teams. He won the Stanley Cup twice, in 2016 and 2017 with the Pittsburgh Penguins.

3. Ryan Callahan (2004, 4th round, No. 127 overall)

It’s not too bad when you land a top-six forward, who’s a popular two-way stalwart, three-time 20-goal scorer and team captain in the fourth round. Such was the case with Ryan Callahan, who played parts of eight seasons with the Rangers and another six with the Tampa Bay Lightning. Callahan scored 186 goals in 757 NHL games.

2. Igor Shesterkin (2014, 4th round, No. 118 overall)

Igor Shesterkin won the Vezina Trophy as the top goalie in the NHL in 2021-22 and has led the Rangers to the Eastern Conference Final twice in the past three seasons. He’s considered one of the best goalies in the world and proved it again in the 2024 NHL postseason. Shesterkin is already seventh all-time in Rangers history with 135 wins (he’s 135-59-17) and fifth with a 2.43 goals-against average.

1. Henrik Lundqvist (2000, 7th round, 205th overall)

The gold standard. Henrik Lundqvist joined the Hockey Hall of Fame in 2023 after winning 459 games in his career, most in Rangers history and sixth all-time in the NHL. He won the Vezina Trophy in 2011-12 and was the backbone for the Rangers when they advanced to three conference finals in four years. His No. 30 hangs in the rafters at Madison Square Garden.

Jim Cerny is Executive Editor at Forever Blueshirts and Managing Editor at Sportsnaut, with more than 30 years of... More about Jim Cerny

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