What the Quinn hire means for the Rangers at the Draft

University of Michigan

On Wednesday, the Rangers announced that they hired David Quinn as the thirty-fifth coach in New York franchise history.

As many of you know, the 2018 NHL Entry-Draft is less than a month away. The Rangers have been scouting prospects eligible for the 2018 Draft long before the Quinn hire, but will the hiring of David Quinn affect the prospects that the Rangers will ultimately choose in the 2018 NHL Entry-Draft?

Quinn’s Coaching Style

On Thursday, May 24, David Quinn and the Rangers held a press conference where he discussed his coaching style:

  • “I like to think that I am fair and demanding. There is no gray area with me with players. They want to get better and held accountable but the message has to be that this is in your best interest, it’s not about me being the big-tough coach, it’s about letting them know that everything we are doing is to make them better players. When a player realizes that and how much you care about them, there is a trust factor that creeps in and that is where success happens.”
  • On practicing and player development: “We are going through the stage of figuring out what the roster is going to look like. You want to spend as much time with the individuals as possible, we have systems but the concepts within the systems will be important. Stick positioning, angling, all the hockey terms that you need to do to become a better player whether it’s from a forecheck standpoint, a D-zone standpoint, you need to work on these things daily in practice and practice is important. You gotta come to the rink with a game-like mentality and work on getting better. We are going to do that, be in great shape, our practice will be fast and there will be a lot of attention to detail.”
  • “Pressure, puck possession game that is built around defense. Defense isn’t just what goes on in the defensive zone. When there is a change of possession in the offensive zone or neutral zone we want to get the puck back quickly and take away time and space and make people uncomfortable and when we get it we want to possess it. It doesn’t mean we aren’t going to have to chip it behind people at appropriate times but that is not the system we want to play. We want to be hard to play against and fast and physical.”
  • In an interview with Al Trautwig: “We want to possess the puck, and when we don’t have it, we want to get it. To me, the defense doesn’t start in the defensive zone, it starts when you don’t have the puck; whether it be from a forecheck, or through the neutral zone. We want to possess the puck and we want to enter the zone with speed. Sometimes you have to dump the puck in, but that certainly won’t be our main goal.”

Now that we know Quinn’s coaching style, let us get back to the topic of this article. Will the hiring of David Quinn affect the prospects that the Rangers will ultimately choose in the 2018 NHL Entry-Draft?

The Rangers have ten draft picks in the upcoming draft. Three in the first round (9, 26, and 28), two in each of the second and third rounds, one fourth, one fifth, and one sixth round pick. This year’s draft class is a deep one, so the Rangers should look to stock up on youth as they head into their “rebuild.”

David Quinn wants his players to be fast, physical, defensively responsible, and have the ability to possess and carry the puck into the zone when needed; so it would be logical to assume that the Rangers would try to pick prospects with those qualities so that they would be a good fit under David Quinn’s system.

There are many players that I think possess the qualities that the Rangers and David Quinn would look for when selecting a prospect.

Quinn Hughes

Ranked ninth by Bob McKenzie and Jeff Marek.

David Quinn should have kept a close eye on Quinn Hughes as he played for Michigan of the NCAA. Hughes is most likely the best skating defenseman in this year’s draft class and controls the puck very well. Hughes can quarterback a power-play and provide offense, which is the standard for defensemen in today’s NHL.

USNTDP U17 coach John Wroblewski said this on Quinn Hughes’ game: “His acceleration and escapability are second to none. He has the best 1-on-1 instincts I’ve ever seen. Through the neutral zone, he darts and slashes, rarely making a poor read on when to join [the attack]. In the offensive zone, he’s like a point guard. He breaks people down and makes them look silly.”

Oliver Wahlstrom

Getty Images

Ranked seventh by Bob McKenzie and Jeff Marek.

Wahlstrom is the epitome of an elite center. He has a fantastic shot, a lot of skill and creativity, and can create plays when he needs to.

USNTDP U18 coach Seth Appert said this on Wahlstrom’s game: “He’s a big, strong, explosive power forward who is a goal scorer. His combination of strength, power, speed and shot as a right shot is unique. He’s a world-class goal scorer. He’s got the one-timer or the snapshot to beat goalies from the perimeter.  He’s adding the ability to drive to the blue paint to score goals to his game.”

Joel Farabee

Rena Laverty

Ranked twelfth by Jeff Marek and fourteenth by Bob McKenzie.

Farabee is a great all-around player. While he isn’t the fastest skater, he can create offense when he has to. Farabee was a key penalty killer for the United States Development Team and was always very dependable. The Rangers seem to have a thing for drafting reliable players (a la Lias Andersson and Jesper Fast, among others), so I can definitely see Farabee as a fit. Plus, he is committed to Boston University, and David Quinn played an instrumental role in recruiting him.

USNTDP U18 coach Seth Appert said this on Farabee’s game: “He’s a complete player. He creates a ton of offense without any cheat to his game. He’s a 200-foot player. He’s a great penalty killer and dangerous shorthanded. He’s got the skill level to break you down 1-on-1 and make plays through people. He’s the absolute fiercest competitor.”

Brady Tkachuk

NHL

Ranked fourth by Bob McKenzie and Jeff Marek.

Brady Tkachuk played under David Quinn at Boston University, so he is a legitimate possibility for the Rangers. Tkachuk is a 6’3″ bulldozer who can bully his way to the net. In my opinion, he was the best possessor of the puck in all of the NCAA this past season. He does not have elite offensive potential, but can most certainly put the puck in the back of the net. His size allows him to create plays, and he is a competitor. Jeff Gorton said it himself that the Rangers are looking for not only talented players but leaders and competitors; Tkachuk fits the bill.

Former Boston University coach, and current Rangers coach David Quinn said this about Tkachuk’s game: “He plays with such an edge. He’s so determined. He’s got good skills, he shoots the puck well. There’s a lot to like about Brady on and off the ice.”

Other Potential Picks

K’Andre Miller

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Ranked 33rd by Bob McKenzie.

Miller recently converted from forward to defense and makes up for his defensive mistakes with his speed and physicality. Miller is 6’3″, and 200 pounds, and when he goes into battles in the corner, he almost always emerges with the puck. Plus, I’m sure some Ranger fans want to see the name “Miller” on the back of a Rangers jersey again.

USNTDP U18 coach Seth Appert said this about Miller’s game: “He has the skating ability, the length, and the competitiveness to be a shut-down, mobile, hard defender, but then he has the explosiveness to add offense, as well.”

Logan Hutsko

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Ranked forty-second by Corey Pronman.

Hutsko went undrafted in last year’s draft, largely due to injury. However, he was Boston College’s best playmaker this season and was the Hockey East rookie of the year. Hutsko has great vision, and although small, he is very crafty with the puck. He is not an explosive skater, but he is coming off of a major knee injury, so I believe he will recover some of the acceleration he lost due to injury in the near future.

The Rangers already have an idea of who they are going to draft, but this may change with input from David Quinn. I would be thrilled to have any of the prospects mentioned above, although some may be out of reach. Nevertheless, this year’s draft will be exciting, and I look forward to it.