Rangers can use Carolina’s pick in a package to draft a good center
The Rangers will wait and see where the Carolina pick acquired in the Brady Skjei trade falls, but it does give them a good opportunity to move up in the draft. As it currently stands it can be no worse than 24th and no better than 20th.
Rangers should target Anton Lundell
New York is going to get a phenomal talent in Alexis Lafreniere. He of course is a winger and the Rangers are loaded on the flanks. The area which they need help with is center. It is also where the prospect pool is the weakest with Karl Henriksson being its best prospect.
Now the Rangers aren’t going to put together a big enough package to get the #2 or #3 pick to try and draft Quinton Byfield. However, they could take their second 1st round pick and Pavel Buchnevich and try to move into the 9-14th spot to try and draft Anton Lundell of Finland.
Per The Draft Analyst, Lundell is currently ranked at 11and is a solid center. The 6’1″, 185 lbs, Finnish pivot plays both sides of the puck well and is projected as top 6 forward.
Offensively, Lundell’s elite shot definitely makes him more of a shooter than a passer. His average of 3.7 shots per game (162 shots in 44 games) is high considering he averaged under 16 minutes. Passing-wise, most of his assists were of the not primary variety although he was able to equally distribute his production between 5v5 and the power play. His vision is sound and the delivery of his passes are clean, but most of the chances he generates are off the cycle and created within short distances.Lundell – via Draft Analyst
Making the deal work
The key here is believing that moving Pavel Buchnevich is the right move. Are Vitali Kravtsov and Julien Gauthier ready for bigger roles? If the answer is yes then only half the equation is figured.
The other part of the equation is if Lundell is still available and the right team looking for instant help offensively is willing to make the trade. One example would be Nashville picking at 11. They may want the NHL proven Buchnevich being in a win now mode.
The Rangers fallback plan
Now if that fails there are two centers who may just fall to the Rangers or could very well be a small trade to move up. Something along the lines of swapping first round picks and giving up a 2nd or 3rd rounder.
Those two centers go by the names Dylan Holloway and Jan Mysak. Here’s the skinny on both via The Draft Analyst.
Dylan Holloway: A hard-working power forward with a strong sense for the game, Holloway was one of the top players in Canadian Junior “A” for the AJHL’s Okotoks Oilers before beginning his draft year as a freshman for the University of Wisconsin. Blessed with ideal size and excellent balance, Holloway is a jack of all trades who can play either center or wing; serve as a playmaker or finish around the net; and most importantly, be matched up against opposing top players. Although his start with the Badgers has yet to produce eye-popping stats, one must consider his ability to impact shifts without denting the scoresheet. Additionally, he was a key figure in a Wisconsin recruiting class that also included forwards Alex Turcotte, Cole Caufield, and Owen Lindmark, so there is only so much puck for these talented underclassmen to share.
Jan Mysak: Jan Mysak was a prolific scorer in junior hockey, but that seems like eons ago, no? Mysak, a gifted offensive forward and the prize of the Czech Republic’s draft class for 2020, was earning his stripes as a teenager in the tough Czech Extraliga for nearly two full seasons before joining the OHL’s Hamilton Bulldogs in mid-January. With Litvinov, Mysak suited up for a team that not only ranked near the bottom, but also struggled to score. In a way, the situation allowed him to play a top-nine role, albeit with fluctuating minutes, and also gave him the opportunity to see significant time on the power play. He also displayed a high motor, youthful exuberance, and was finding ways to get under the skin of opponents twice his age.
Regardless, the Rangers having two picks in round one gives them options to draft a center in the first round of the 2020 draft.