What history tells us about Rangers selecting 30th overall in 2024 NHL Draft

NHL: New York Islanders at New York Rangers
Brad Penner-USA TODAY SportsCredit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

The New York Rangers held on to their 2024 first-round draft pick ahead of the trade deadline and ended up with the 30th overall selection after winning the Presidents’ Trophy and then being eliminated by the Florida Panthers in the Eastern Conference Final.

General manager Chris Drury certainly knew the pick would not be high up in the first round, but with no second- nor third-round selections this year, holding on to the first rounder was important.

This is New York’s lowest first-round pick since 2012, when they selected defenseman Brady Skjei No. 28 overall. Interestingly, the Blueshirts did not pick again in the first round until 2017, because they traded away their first rounder four straight seasons. And then 2017 was a mixed bag, since New York picked center Lias Andersson, who’s now out of the NHL, No. 7 overall and forward Filip Chytil at No. 21.

The Rangers had three first-round selections in the 2018 draft, the last of which was 28th overall (defenseman Nils Lundkvist).

Last season, New York had the 23rd overall pick and selected forward Gabe Perreault, who recently completed a standout freshman season at Boston College.

Related: Here’s how Rangers free-agency plan may not be what’s expected

Rangers try to buck history with No. 30 overall pick in NHL Draft

NHL: Carolina Hurricanes at Columbus Blue Jackets
Russell LaBounty-USA TODAY SportsCredit: Russell LaBounty-USA TODAY Sports

The NHL expanded to 30 teams before the 2000-01 season, so there have been 24 drafts with a No. 30 overall selection in the first round. All but two — defensemen Andy Rogers in 2004 by the Tampa Bay Lightning and Nick Ross in 2007 by the Phoenix Coyotes — have played at least one NHL game. That includes the most recent 30th overall selection — forward Brady Nadeau from 2023, who played one game with the Carolina Hurricanes last season.

It doesn’t mean there’s been a lot of success with this pick, though. There are far more Nick Merkleys (41 NHL games after being selected in 2015 by the Coyotes) and Matt Correntes (34 NHL games after being selected by the New Jersey Devils in 2006) than All-Stars.

But, fear not Rangers, there have been several notable players taken with the No. 30 pick in the first round.

The Rangers arch rival, the Islanders, nabbed center Brock Nelson No. 30 in 2010. Nelson is an eight-time 20-goal scorer and has scored 34 or more his past three seasons. He leads all No. 30 first-round picks in goals (275), assists (256), points (531) and games played (840) in NHL history.

Right behind Nelson in each category is the player taken at No. 30 the year after the Islanders star, Rickard Rakell, who has 201 goals, 248 assists and 449 points in 721 games with the Anaheim Ducks and Pittsburgh Penguins.

The next two drafts produced two more solid NHLers at No. 30 in the first round when the Los Angeles Kings landed forward Tanner Pearson in 2012 and the Chicago Blackhawks selected forward Ryan Hartman in 2013.

Between then and now, likely the most successful No. 30 pick in the NHL Draft has been forward Eeli Tolvinen (2017), who has 119 points in 264 games with the Nashville Predators and Seattle Kraken.

Of course, the Rangers would love to add their own piece of positive history when they pick at No. 30 late in the first round of this year’s draft.

Jim Cerny is Executive Editor at Forever Blueshirts and Managing Editor at Sportsnaut, with more than 30 years of... More about Jim Cerny

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