The New York Rangers didn’t get the result they were looking for in the NHL Lottery Draft on Saturday night as they will draft ninth, but there are still moves to be made.
The look on New York Rangers general manager Jeff Gorton‘s face said all that needed to be said Saturday night. The organization had hoped to get the number one pick in the upcoming NHL Entry Draft or, at the very least, a top-three pick.
They wound up with the number 9 pick in the draft, falling one spot behind where the night started for them.
#NYR are picking 9th in the Draft.
— New York Rangers (@NYRangers) April 28, 2018
The Rangers have plenty of picks to use this season. Three first-round picks, two second-round picks, two third-round picks and one pick in each of the fourth, fifth and sixth rounds. In total, the Rangers will have 10 picks to deal with. Of course, that doesn’t mean they will make 10 selections.
They need NHL-ready players. They’re going to get one picking ninth. Which is why the Rangers need to move up in the draft. They’ve got the pieces and picks needed to make a move but can’t put all of their chips into this one pick.
Rebuilding is a process of several steps, not the big home run many fans are used to in New York City.
With eight teams ahead of them they have to assume Buffalo, with the number one pick overall, Carolina, and Montreal will not consider trading down. That leaves Ottawa, Arizona, Detroit, Vancouver, and Chicago ahead of the Rangers.
The Rangers undoubtedly would like to move up to the fourth selection and have an opportunity to grab a player who could jump into the lineup right now.
“We’re looking for assets, looking for the best players. I’m not a believer in picking by position. I don’t remember ever picking by position.” Gorton told Larry Brooks of the New York Post on Saturday following the Lottery Draft.
In recent years the Rangers have been successful in making deals with both the Ottawa Senators and the Arizona Coyotes. With Ottawa drafting fourth and Arizona fifth could these teams be willing to make another deal with the Blueshirts?
If so, it would probably cost the team at the very least a first-round pick and a second-round pick this year and maybe a player currently on the roster as well. Mats Zuccarello, Kevin Hayes or even Jimm Vesey could get the team a better selection position and not hurt the current Rangers team.
The Rangers own first-round picks belonging to both Boston and Tampa Bay that will fall between 26th and 31st overall. In a draft that is not so strong after the 10th pick, the team could offer one of those first-round picks to either Arizona or Ottawa.
The consensus around the NHL is that there is a large dropoff from the 10th position down, as noted on TSN’s Top 15 list.
|1.||Rasmus Dahlin||D||Frolunda (SHL)|
|2.||Andrei Svechnikov||RW||Barrie (OHL)|
|3.||Filip Zadina||RW||Halifax (QMJHL)|
|4.||Brady Tkachuk||LW||Boston Univ. (NCAA)|
|5.||Evan Bouchard||D||London (OHL)|
|6.||Adam Boqvist||D||Bymas (SWE-J20)|
|7.||Oliver Wahlstrom||RW||USA NTPD (USHL)|
|8.||Noah Dobson||D||Acadie-Bathurst (QMJHL)|
|9.||Quinn Hughes||D||Michigan (NCAA)|
|10.||Jesperi Kotkaniemi||C||Assat (SM Liiga)|
|11.||Joe Veleno||C||Drummondville (QMJHL)|
|12.||Barrett Hayton||C||S.S. Marie (OHL)|
|13.||Ty Smith||D||Spokane (WHL)|
|14.||Joel Farabee||LW||USA NTDP (USHL)|
|T-15||Grigori Denisenko||RW||Yaroslavl 2 (RUS-JR)|
|T-15||Vitali Kravtsov||RW||Chelyabinsk (RUS)|
If the team is unwilling or unable to move up, they will be prepared to draft the best player available which is not always a bad thing. In 1986, the Rangers drafted a kid in the first round, ninth overall out of Boston by the name of Brian Leetch.
— New York Rangers (@NYRangers) April 29, 2018
James Patrick (1981) and Jamie Lundmark (1999) are other notable ninth-overall picks by the Rangers.
The Rangers need to be aggressive, and that means moving up in the draft to jumpstart the rebuild. They need to get to the fourth or fifth selection of this year’s draft.
They certainly have the picks and personnel to make a strong pitch to make this happen. Good things can happen from the number nine spot, but better things can happen from higher in the draft, where they’ll have more high-upside options to pick from.