The 2020 draft is considered one of the deepest drafts in recent memory. Jeff Gorton and the Rangers currently hold two first round picks. One of them was acquired from the Carolina Hurricanes at the deadline for Brady Skjei. Just to make things a little more complex, Carolina had 2 before the deal, their own and Toronto’s. The Rangers would get the lesser of the two.
Possible Pick Numbers
Of course, at this moment there is a lot of uncertainty. What if the season is cancelled? How will they handle the lottery? For the sake of this article, let’s just take it at face value with today’s overall league standings knowing that not winning the lottery might move you down a spot.
The Carolina Pick
Currently Toronto and Carolina are neck and neck. Their picks sit at 20 and 21, meaning the Rangers would be traded the 21st pick. Let’s look at 3 possible targets based on NHL.com’s rankings.
20. (20) Jeremie Poirier (6-0, 199), D, Saint John (QMJHL) — An offensive defenseman with good puck skills, hockey sense and game-breaking ability who led QMJHL defensemen with 20 goals in 64 games.
21. (21) Seth Jarvis (5-9, 179), C, Portland (WHL) — A smart, skilled player who executes with pace and excels as a penalty-killer. Jarvis creates offense with his vision, quickness and playmaking ability. He was second in the WHL with 98 points (42 goals, 56 assists) in 58 games.
22. (22) Justin Barron (6-1, 195), D, Halifax (QMJHL) — The right-handed shot, who returned to the lineup Feb. 26 after missing three months with a blood clot, had 19 points (four goals, 15 assists) in 34 games. He’s a proven skater and competitor capable of making the good first pass.
The Rangers Pick
New York right now would be selecting around 16 with their current point totals. Here are their possible targets in this spot based on NHL.com’s rankings.
15. (15) Braden Schneider (6-2, 202), D, Brandon (WHL) — A two-way right-shot defenseman who is capable of playing the power play and penalty kill with great competitiveness and smarts. He had 42 points (seven goals, 35 assists) in 60 games in the Western Hockey League.
16. (16) Hendrix Lapierre (5-11, 179), C, Chicoutimi (QMJHL) — The left-shot forward has great hockey sense, compete and playmaking qualities. He was limited to 19 games because of an upper-body injury but may have the highest ceiling of any player projected to go in the first round.
17. (17) Rodion Amirov (6-0, 167), LW, Ufa (RUS) — A skilled left wing with speed and high hockey IQ who can play all situations, he models his game after forwards Auston Matthews of the Toronto Maple Leafs and Nikita Kucherov of the Tampa Bay Lightning. He had 22 points (10 goals, 12 assists) and four power-play goals in 17 games with Tolpar Ufa in Russia’s junior league and two assists in 21 games in the Kontinental Hockey League.
18. (18) Dylan Holloway (6-0, 203), C, Wisconsin (NCAA) — The left-shot forward has good hands, high compete and a drive to create offense. He should be the first college player selected after he had 17 points (eight goals, nine assists) in 35 games as a college freshman.
The Rangers are very deep in goal and on defense. So when it comes to the first round, you have to expect the Rangers to look at forwards, and in particular centers. Of course, best player available will be an option, but this draft is deep so I expect that pivots will be the focus.
Note: Prospect Profiles from NHL.COM