Jeff Gorton, New York Rangers
(Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)

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.

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.

RankPlayerPositionTeam
1.Rasmus DahlinDFrolunda (SHL)
2.Andrei SvechnikovRWBarrie (OHL)
3.Filip ZadinaRWHalifax (QMJHL)
4.Brady TkachukLWBoston Univ. (NCAA)
5.Evan BouchardDLondon (OHL)
6.Adam BoqvistDBymas (SWE-J20)
7.Oliver WahlstromRWUSA NTPD (USHL)
8.Noah DobsonDAcadie-Bathurst (QMJHL)
9.Quinn HughesDMichigan (NCAA)
10.Jesperi KotkaniemiCAssat (SM Liiga)
11.Joe VelenoCDrummondville (QMJHL)
12.Barrett HaytonCS.S. Marie (OHL)
13.Ty SmithDSpokane (WHL)
14.Joel FarabeeLWUSA NTDP (USHL)
T-15Grigori DenisenkoRWYaroslavl 2 (RUS-JR)
T-15Vitali KravtsovRWChelyabinsk (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.

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.

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2 COMMENTS

  1. The good thing is that this is a deep draft. There are a lot of ways that the Rangers can go here. If a package for the #3 or #4 pick can be made (it would have to be big, but within reason), to get one of the top wings, then make it.
    However, the Rangers, for the right return, could trade back a bit from the #9. There are a lot of defensmen available, and a team willing to trade up (especially to get pass the Islanders @ 11 & 12 or the Flyers @ 14 & 19) could give up additional picks & a prospect.
    I still think that the best way forward is taking the best player with the #9 and trading the later #1 picks. They are late enough in the round that they will be glorified 2nd rounders. If the Rangers can move them up to find 3 solid players for the future, along with 2 more in the 2nd round, it helps the team growth.

  2. “Mats Zuccarello, Kevin Hayes or even Jimmy Vesey could get the team a better selection position and not hurt the current Rangers team.” Please explain to me how trading one of these players for a higher than 9th place pick would not hurt the team. Zucc and Hayes are legitimate NHL second-line players at worst. You want to give up draft picks AND them and you think that that will not make the team worse? The only way that would be true is if the player they get will be a true superstar. Yet you provide no analysis at all of the fourth- or fifth-place pick to indicate that this is a realistic possibility. For all we know, the ninth-place pick could be just as good as the fourth-place pick.