New York Rangers draft day strategy unclear; only certainty is uncertainty

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Chris Drury at the draft (Getty Images)

The New York Rangers have made it clear that they are willing to trade their first overall pick tonight. Ranked 16 but actually picking 15th due to the Arizona Coyotes forfeiting pick 11 for a Combine violation.

There’s also a report per Frank Seravalli that the Chris Drury has been in contact with teams in the top 10 about moving up. One possibility I see is trading Ryan Strome along with pick 15 to the Ottawa Senators for pick 10.

Rangers could move up in the first round

Why would the Rangers want to move up in the first round?

They have been long rumored to be in on Jack Eichel. The Sabres have made it public they want another top 10 first round pick. If Ryan Strome is indeed traded today for any reason, one must assume that Chris Drury has a trade in place for Eichel or maybe Evgeny Kuznetsov from the Capitals.

There simply is no way the Rangers would weaken themselves at 2C without an upgrade in the fold.

rangers draft
Feb 4, 2021; New York, NY, USA; New York Rangers center Ryan Strome (16) celebrates after scoring a goal at 1:41 of the first period against the Washington Capitals at Madison Square Garden. Mandatory Credit: Bruce Bennett/Pool Photo-USA TODAY Sports

Moving up seems also unlikely because of the uncertainty of this draft. Outside of the top 10, this is really anyone’s guess because so many of these prospects have not been properly scouted due to the pandemic.

Plus, the Rangers really don’t need to add another prospect to a pool that’s overflowing.

Rangers may select a goalie?

What if the Rangers keep the pick?

I firmly believe Chris Drury is likely to move the pick for win-now help. Even if he isn’t using it for Eichel. However; Rick Carpiniello is now throwing everyone a curveball.

We’re actually hearing that the Rangers might actually — hold on now — be in the market for a goalie. Perhaps it is insurance against Igor Shesterkin’s progress flattening; he was inconsistent in his first full NHL season after an eye-popping half-season the year before. Or perhaps it’s insurance against Shesterkin being difficult to re-sign as a restricted free agent.

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One has to admit, they didn’t see this one coming.

Sure the Rangers could draft a goalie. There are two predicted to go in the first round in Jesper Wallstedt and Sebastian Cossa. However; I am really struggling to see it happening. I’m more inclined to believe Drury just wants Igor Shesterkin’s camp to know they won’t be taken advantage of in contract negotiations and could go another route.

Uncertainty is the only certainty

At this point, it’s fair to say that the only thing anyone seems to know for sure is they don’t have any idea of what may go down tonight.

The Sabres have said for months they want another top 10 pick for Jack Eichel. The Rangers are one of the rumored frontrunner and are looking to move up in the draft. Is that for an Eichel trade?

Anaheim holds pick three. Will they trade it with Trevor Zegras to land Eichel? Or what about Minnesota who are reportedly making an offer? For all we know, Eichel may still be a Sabre after this draft.

And what about the Blue Jackets? Are they going to trade Seth Jones tonight? Or what about the Blues who have a star in Vladimir Tarasenko that wants out.

This draft has the possibility to be one hell of a show, unless Frank Seravalli spoils it again.

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