Rangers could eye these prospects with No. 30 pick in 2024 NHL Draft

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David Reginek-USA TODAY Sports

Now that the New York Rangers were eliminated by the Florida Panthers in the Eastern Conference Final, we know that the Blueshirts will be on the clock with the No. 30 overall pick in the first round of the 2024 NHL Draft at The Sphere in Las Vegas on June 28.

The Rangers prospect pipeline looks to be well established on the wings with 2023 first-round selection Gabe Perreault and 2021 first rounder Brennan Othmann, along with Brett Berard and Adam Sykora of the Hartford Wolf Pack. Despite the emergence of Noah Laba and Bryce McConnel-Barker, center remains an area where the organization should look to improve its prospect depth.

Rangers general manager Chris Drury will also want to augment his prospect pool on the right side of the blue line, with the only notable prospect being 21-year-old Victor Mancini, a fifth round selection in 2022 who joined the Wolf Pack after his junior season with the University of Omaha Mavericks and played a regular role in the Calder Cup Playoffs this spring.

Related: Here’s what’s next for Rangers after being eliminated from 2024 Stanley Cup Playoffs

Based on the latest rankings from NHL Central Scouting, here are some North American skaters who stand out as future Blueshirts.

Kamil Bednarik (6-foot-0, 185 pounds)

A left-shot center with the United States National Team Development Program in the United States Hockey League who is committed to Boston University. Bednarik has been skating on a line for the U-18 team with fellow Terrier commit Cole Eiserman. Bednarik scored two goals and four assists in seven games for the United States at the U-18 World Championships, highlighted by three points in the opener against Slovakia. He is a consistent player who puts in a strong effort every game, and can play with anyone. His skating needs improvement, though he compensates with hard work at both ends of the ice. Bednarik should excel at the collegiate level, where he can add a scoring punch to his game.

Henry Mews (6-foot-0, 181 pounds)

A right-shot defenseman with the Ottawa 67’s of the Ontario Hockey League. Mews had 15 goals and 46 assists in 65 games with 65 penalty minutes, and filled in at right wing due to several injuries. Mews is generally an offensively-minded defenseman with vision and intelligence. He has mobility, skill, and the vision to make plays. His poise and patience with the puck in the offensive zone is elite for his age, with a smooth stride and skating ability. Mews put his offensive abilities on full display at the U-18 World Championships, scoring two goals and five assists for seven points in seven games for Canada. He was their power-play quarterback, a role he could thrive at one day in the NHL.

Charlie Elick (6-foot-3, 194 pounds)

A big right-shot defenseman with the Brandon Wheat Kings of the WHL, where current Rangers defenseman and 2020 first-round pick Braden Schneider was a former captain. Elick is a strong skater with good speed and balance, and who moves well in all directions. He is effective utilizing his assets in size and strength to provide a physical presence in board battles and net-front game. Elick consistently finishes his checks and can deliver the heavy hit. He can carry the puck up ice and make plays in the offensive zone. An excellent defender who competes and battles with consistency while making good decisions and passes in the defensive zone. An impressive combination of size and skating with the ability to shut down opponents. Elick had four goals and 23 assists in 65 games along with 71 penalty minutes during WHL play, where many players considered him to be the toughest defenseman to beat in 1-on-1 situations. He had two assists for Canada in the Hlinka Gretzky Cup, and another three assists in seven games played at the U-18 World Championship. The team that drafts Elick will be getting a defenseman with size, physicality, and good defensive-zone awareness. He is projected to be a pure defensive defenseman in the NHL, likely in the bottom six.

Cole Beaudoin (6-foot-2, 209 pounds)

A center with the Barrie Colts of the Ontario Hockey League, who had 28 goals and 34 assists for 62 points in 67 games, Beaudoin will be a sneaky find for whichever team takes him. Beaudoin has playmaking vision to regularly find his teammates and open areas around the net where he can finish. He is considered to be master on the forecheck, and is relentless in his pursuit of the puck. Beaudoin was excellent at the U-18 World Championship with two goals and two assists in seven games. He primarily served as Canada’s fourth-line center, while also being the team’s best penalty killer and received some power-play time as well. In the Hlinka Gretzky Cup, Beaudoin had two goals and three assists for Canada. He’s big and uses his frame to protect the puck, while his leg strength makes him difficult to knock off the puck. A main concern of his game is his skating with a shorter and choppier stride, and he projects as a supporting middle-six center who hits, blocks shots, and defends – intangibles which NHL teams look for from a reliable two-way center.

Dean Letourneau (6-foot-7, 209 pounds)

It’s easy to notice the giant center for St. Andrew’s College of the Prep Hockey Conference. At 6-foot-7, and 209 pounds, the Boston College commit had a great year registering 61 goals and 127 points to push himself into consideration to be drafted in the first round. He will be a long-term project, as Letourneau will play in the USHL for the 2024-25 season for the Sioux Falls Stampede before heading Commonwealth Avenue for the Terriers. Letourneau is physically dominant, while still being able to skate and move the puck like a smaller center. Letourneau moves so well for his size, and has a net-front presence teams covet. He has quick hands, and could develop into the next Tage Thompson. St. Andrews coach David Manning said, “It’s his presence. As a big kid, he casts an imposing figure. He wants to be counted on, he wants to play in big moments. In his time here, he has produced in those critical times. His foundation as an athlete is very strong. He’s explosive, he’s got great agility and he’s very coordinated, so he’s a bit of a special package for an athlete. As he develops his strength, he’ll be tougher to knock off the puck and have the ability to impose himself even more.”

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