The New York Rangers have two First Round selections — the seventh and 21st overall — in tonight’s NHL Entry Draft being held in Chicago.
For the first time since 2012, the New York Rangers will select players in the first round of the NHL draft. This will be GM Jeff Gorton’s first opportunity to choose a player in the first round since he was named the 11th General manager in franchise history on Jul. 1, 2015.
Looking back on past NHL Draft’s since the year 2000, the Rangers have never picked higher than sixth overall when they selected Al Montoya in the 2004 Entry Draft. That same year, in the first round, the Rangers also selected Lauri Korpikoski, 19th overall. Today both players are still playing in the NHL as Montoya plays for Montreal and Korpikoski plays for Columbus. In the 2003 Entry Draft, the Rangers selected Hugh Jessiman, 12th overall. In the 2010 NHL Draft, the Rangers selects Dylan Mcilrath, 10th overall.
The Mcilrath pick was one of the worse draft selections in Rangers history. The Rangers passed over selecting Vladimir Tarasenko, Emerson Etem and Evgeny Kuznetsov. Mcilrath had limited time with the Rangers, but never became the player the team expected and was traded, after clearing waivers, to the Florida Panthers last season. He ended the season in the AHL playing for the Grand Rapids Griffins.
Rangers have had some pretty successful picks:
In the 2005 Entry Draft, at 12th overall, the Rangers selected Marc Staal. This pick still shines today as Staal remains with the New York Rangers as an Assistant Captain. The 2009 Draft produced Chris Kreider as a member of the Ranger organization, picked 19th overall who is hitting his prime with the team now. Other notable players on today’s team that was drafted in the First round are JT Miller, 2011 Draft, 15th overall and in my opinion, one of the better picks the team has made – Brady Skjei, 2012 Entry Draft, 28th overall. Brady came into his own this year and was just selected to the 2017 All-Rookie team that was announced at the NHL awards this past Wednesday in Las Vegas.
As the last four years of NHL Entry Draft’s have begun, the Rangers have watched the first round. Watched and waited as good players have gone by. This has occurred because of bad decisions made in the organization to sometimes being more concerned with the win now attitude then the grow from within the model. Most fans will remember the transaction when the Rangers traded the then Captain, Ryan Callahan, and a first round pick to the Tampa Bay Lightning for their Captain Martin St. Louis. At the time it looked like a pretty good deal, but the Rangers never hoisted the Stanley Cup and St. Louis retired at the end of the 2014-2015 season.
Past years have seen the Rangers trade away valuable draft picks or have made questionable selections when they have had picks to use. Though the 2017 NHL Entry Draft doesn’t have many players that are ” ready now,” it’s a way for most teams to prepare for their futures. Fans may not know or recognize a lot of the players selected, but it is how the teams continue to improve. The best analogy is this year’s expansion draft. The Vegas Golden Knights ended up the 29 selections over the next four NHL Entry Drafts, with five first-round picks and seven second-round picks.
Past picks have been used to build the Rangers team up and indirectly has kept them from progressing to a championship caliber team. We all hope tonight’s selection at number 21 will be a start towards winning Stanley Cups.
In the 2017 NHL Entry Draft, the New York Rangers select …………….??