New York Rangers best Fourth Round draft picks of all-time

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The New York Rangers have selected 556 players to date at the annual NHL Entry Draft, which began in 1963. Forever Blueshirts continues its series of articles looking at the franchise’s best picks from rounds 1 through 7.

Historically, New York has drafted 59 players in the fourth round, with 30 appearing in an NHL game and 24 suiting up for the Blueshirts. Interestingly, the club’s first fourth-round pick was Campbell Alleson (20th overall) in the 1963 NHL Amateur Draft, and their most recent one was Noah Laba (111th overall) in the 2022 NHL Entry Draft.

Join us each week to see who makes the cut.

Note: Dates and statistics from Hockey-Reference.com and EliteProspects.com were used to compile this list

Top New York Rangers Draft Picks From Round 4

NHL: USA TODAY Sports-Archive
RVR Photos-USA TODAY SportsCredit: RVR Photos-USA TODAY Sports

5. Syl Apps, Jr – 21st Overall 1964

NHL stats: 727 GP – 183 G – 423 A – 606 Pts

New York stats: 31 GP – 1 G – 2 A – 3 Pts

Syl Apps, Jr is the son of Syl Apps, a Hockey Hall of Famer who won three Stanley Cups with the Toronto Maple Leafs in the 1930s and 1940s. During the 1964 Amateur Draft, Apps, Jr., became a Rangers prospect when the club used their second-ever fourth-round pick (20th overall) on him.

After the draft, Apps, Jr. played in the OHA Senior League and made his AHL debut in 1968-69, also spending some time in the CHL before the Rangers gave him a shot during the 1970-71 season. However, his stint on Broadway was short, 31 games, before the team dealt him (with Sheldon Kannegiesser) to the Pittsburgh Penguins for Glen Sather in January 1971.

During his time with the Penguins, which lasted eight seasons, he tallied 500 points and was voted the All-Star Game MVP in 1975. Surprisingly, the team dealt him to the Los Angeles Kings in 1977, where he skated in 201 games over three seasons, retiring after the 1980 season at 32. Apps, Jr. outscored his dad by 174 points and played in 304 more games, but his only professional championship was a Calder Cup title in 1970.

4. Marc Savard– 91st Overall 1995

NHL stats: 807 GP – 207 G – 499 A – 706 Pts

New York stats: 98 GP – 10 G – 41 A – 51 Pts

Marc Savard may be remembered for his time with the Atlanta Thrashers and Boston Bruins and for having his career cut short due to concussion issues at 33, but the Rangers saw something in the former CHL top scorer, grabbing him with the 91st pick in the 1995 NHL Entry Draft.

After starring with the Oshawa Generals from 1993 to 1997, he won an OHL championship in 1997 and a second league scoring title, duplicating the feat he achieved during the 1995 season. Upon making his professional debut, he spent parts of the 1997-98 season with the Rangers and Hartford Wolf Park, where he played in the AHL All-Star Game and was named to the AHL All-Rookie Team.

However, after just 98 games, Savard was traded to the Calgary Flames in June 1999, where he would skate for four seasons before another deal sent him to Atlanta. Following the NHL lockout in 2005, Savard returned from playing in Europe and collected 97 and 96 points in consecutive seasons while surpassing 63 assists in four straight seasons.

Unfortunately, health issues cost him playing time in 2009-10 and 2010-11, and he played only 25 games in 2010-11, the year the Bruins won the Stanley Cup, which got Savard’s name etched onto the Silver Chalice. After almost a decade away from the game, he got into coaching and is now an assistant coach with the Calgary Flames.

3. Igor Shesterkin – 118th Overall 2014

NHL stats: 182GP 115-5-15 2.42 GAA .922 SV%

New York stats: 182GP 115-5-15 2.42 GAA .922 SV%

Although there were some dark days after Mike Richter retired in 2003, that uncertainty ended once Henrik Lundqvist made his debut. For 15 years, The King patrolled the crease at Madison Square Garden, and the Rangers eventually needed to find his replacement, which they did with Igor Shesterkin.

As the 118th overall pick in the 2014 NHL Entry Draft, the Moscow native didn’t come to North America until 2019, building up a resume in his native Russia that included a KHL Gagarin Cup Championship, two All-Star Game appearances, a postseason First All-Star Team honor, and routinely being named the Goaltender of the Week or Month.

Internationally, Shesterkin had a U20 World Junior Championship Silver Medal, a World Championship Bronze Medal, and an Olympic Gold Medal before making his Rangers debut in January 2020.

Since becoming the heir to Lundqvist, Shesterkin finished fifth in Calder Trophy voting, won the Vezina Trophy in his second season, and just became the eighth netminder in franchise history to win 100 games, doing so in one of the fastest times.

Although his future is still being written, there’s no denying that Shesterkin already has a special place in Rangers history and has the potential to go down as one of their greatest draft picks.

2. John Vanbiesbrouck – 72nd Overall 1981

NHL stats: 882GP 376-346-119 2.98 GAA .899 SV%

New York stats: 449GP 200-177-47 3.45 GAA .890 SV%

John Vanbiesbrouck began his United States Hockey Hall of Fame career when the Rangers selected him with the 72nd overall pick in the 1981 NHL Entry Draft. After playing with the Soo Greyhounds in the OHL, he debuted in 1981-82, eventually playing regularly during the 1984-85 season.

Within a season, he was the Rangers’ number one goalie, winning the Vezina Trophy in 1985-86 with a league-leading 31 wins. Once Richter joined the ranks in 1990, the pair backed New York to the Presidents’ Trophy in 1991-92. But, with new teams entering the league, Vanbiesbrouck ended up getting traded to the Vancouver Canucks, who lost him to the Florida Panthers in the 1993 Expansion Draft.

After three seasons, he led the club to the Stanley Cup Finals in 1996, where they lost to the Colorado Avalanche. Following that remarkable run, he left Florida in 1998, joining the Philadelphia Flyers and suiting up for the New York Islanders and New Jersey Devils before retiring at 38 in 2002.

Vanbiesbrouck, known as “The Beezer,” skated in 882 games, ranking 11th all-time in NHL history and first amongst American-born goalies. Meanwhile, when he retired, he was the winningest netminder from the United States, only getting passed by Ryan Miller and Jonathan Quick. Since hanging up his skates, he’s served in various general managers, including becoming the leader of the USA U20 program in 2018, which has earned him two Gold Medals in 2021 and 2024.

1. Tony Amonte – 68th Overall 1988

NHL stats: 1,174 GP – 416 G – 484 A – 900 Pts

New York stats: 234 GP – 84 G – 99 A – 183 Pts

The Rangers selected Thayer Academy Prep School skater Tony Amonte with the 68th pick in the 1988 NHL Draft. Upon graduating from the USHS-Prep league, he advanced to Boston University, collecting 146 points in two seasons and winning an NCAA Hockey East Championship in 1991.

Eventually, Amonte made his NHL debut in 1991-92, earning All-Rookie Team honors and being named a Calder Trophy finalist. However, after 234 games over two and half seasons, the club traded him to the Chicago Blackhawks in a deal that brought playoff hero Stephane Matteau to Broadway.

While in Chicago, Amonte served as captain, skated in 627 games, scored 268 goals, and finished his nine-year tenure with 541 points. On the backside of his career, he played with the Phoenix Coyotes, Flyers, and Flames, retiring after the 2006-07 season at 36.

Internationally, he won a World Cup and Olympic Silver Medal and is one of just 16 American-born players to collect 900 points in the NHL. Besides earning an induction into the United States Hockey Hall of Fame, he served as the head coach of Thayer Academy from 2010 to 2022.

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