September 7, 2020

Three prospects from the 2019 draft the Rangers are very high on

Matthew Robertson at Traverse City (Getty Images)

We know all the big name prospects the Rangers have either on the roster or in the pipeline. Kaapo Kakko has moved off that list after a full season on Broadway and will soon be joined by Alexis Lafreniere next year.

2019 New York Rangers draft prospects

Some other prospect names that are untouchable at the moment are K’Andre Miller and Nils Lundkvist on defense. At the moment, Vitali Kravtsov also falls under this category. I will say that I did hear some whispers that the organization would listen on Vitali if the deal was right.

There are three other names that you don’t hear too much about in the news but internally the Rangers believe all three can be NHL players. Maybe that’s because they were the next three picks after the Rangers took Kakko with the #2 pick overall in 2019. If things continue to hold, it could be the best draft in Blueshirts history.

Matthew Robertson, LD (6-4″, 201 lbs, 19 years-old)

As per usual the Rangers went a little off the board with the 48th overall pick in the 2019 draft. They passed over talented wingers Pavel Dorofeyev and Patrik Puistola to select defenseman, Matthew Robertson.

new york rangers prospects
Robertson (WHL)

Robertson, is a highly-intelligent rearguard with impressive skating and footwork ability for a big player. According to The Draft Analyst,”His bursts of speed and quick dashes to loose pucks lean more towards the economical or deliberate side. One can assume he does this to conserve energy (Robertson plays somewhere between 22-25 minutes a game), but he also reads plays very well, anticipates properly and has that long reach to help him gain possession.”

The Rangers at this point are beyond pleased with the strides Robertson made this season in the WHL. He bested last season’s point totals of 33 points with 47 this year for the Edmonton Oil Kings.

Correction: Robertson is a LD

Zachary Jones, LD (5-10″, 176 lbs, 19 years-old)

Zac Jones opened up a lot of eyes at the Summer Showcase with his incredibly smart and poised play with the puck. The kid didn’t flinch or even look like he broke a sweat in that tournament. “He just has that vision and that ability to not panic under pressure,” said Rangers scout Larry Bernard.

new york rangers prospects
Zac Jones (Photo: Howard Simmons)

We spoke with the young defenseman shortly after the tournament. “The summer showcase was an awesome experience for myself. Getting to play against and with the top guys in the world was something that I would’ve never expected could’ve happened to me,” Jones said. “I felt really comfortable out there and wasn’t too worried about the big name guys on each roster.

The 68th pick for the Rangers in the 2019 draft scored 23 points for UMASS in 32 games. The team views him as one of those picks that is blossoming more than they could have hoped for. In speaking to a member of the Rangers organization, both he and Robertson were mentioned by name as potential starters on defense in the next few seasons.

Karl Henriksson, C (5-9″, 175 lbs, 19 years old)

Everyone knows that the Rangers weakest position in the organization is center. However, when they selected this Swedish pivot it immediately got a shot in the arm. Karl Henriksson continues to impress with his playmaking skills and maturity.

The 58th player selected in the 2019 draft was with Frolunda HC JC20 and performed well with 41 points in 27 games. That has earned him a promotion to the big club in the SHL.

new york rangers prospects
Karl Henriksson (NY Rangers)

Last February, we spoke with Henriksson who told us he stays in close contact with the Rangers organization. “I would say that I speak monthly with people from the Rangers”, he said. They eventually determined that he would stay in Sweden this season.

Henriksson is on the small side for centers, but has shown flashes of excellent vision and passing ability. It was a hectic summer last year for Henriksson with the Summer Showcase in Plymouth, MI, where he played in 5 games, followed by the Rangers Prospect Development camp. That’s where Henriksson got acquainted with the rest of the talent pool, including fellow Swedes Nils Lundkvist, Adam Edström and others like K’Andre Miller, Matthew Robertson and many more.

The Blueshirts will continue to watch his development in Frolunda closely. While we won’t see him for the upcoming training camp, he is penciled in to take a shot at the Rangers for the 2021-22 season.

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