The New York Rangers have three first round picks in this upcoming draft. Can the organization be saved based upon this draft season?
On June 28, the trajectory of the New York Rangers organization is set to change; for better or for worse, nobody knows.
There are three things that the Rangers can do during the first round on draft day. They could simply draft their three first round picks, they could trade a roster player to attain either additional first rounders or a higher pick in the draft, or they could trade away one, or all, of their first round picks in exchange for an NHL-ready player.
For the sake of the organization, let’s hope their choice pertains to drafting in the first round, not trading all of it away.
The Rangers possess the ninth overall pick, the 26th overall pick, and the Tampa Bay Lightning’s first rounder (which is to be determined based on the Lightning’s finish in the playoffs).
Now, as an outsider I have absolutely no idea of whether or not the Rangers are interested in trading a draft pick, or a roster player, during the NHL Draft. What I do know is where the current positions are in the first round (for the most part).
The Rangers need two things in this draft:
1. A defenseman who has number one, two, or three potential; they could attain this player with the ninth overall selection.
2. A forward with star power. While this is very difficult to find later in the draft, extenuating circumstances might make this pipe dream a possibility. Could a change in draft position be possible as well?
Throughout this article, let’s evaluate some realistic desires for the Rangers in this first round.
The Ninth Pick: D Noah Dobson?
This phenomenon of a top-tier defenseman that the Rangers so desperately need sits in the top ten of this year’s draft. Luckily, they have the ninth overall selection.
Now, drafts can be unpredictable. Despite the remarkable talents of young defenseman Quinn Hughes and Adam Boqvist, who are slated as defenseman that will be drafted in the top seven, they could both fall to the ninth selection.
Now, it is very unlikely that one of these players falls to the ninth overall selection, let alone both. But, Boqvist’s size, concussion history, and lack of NHL-readiness could contribute to his feasible plight. Additionally, Hughes’ size and weaker shot can also result in his demotion in this year’s draft.
While both of these scenarios are severely unlikely, they are not impossible. If one of these young men are available with the ninth selection, the Rangers should not hesitate to draft them.
Noah Dobson and Evan Bouchard are far more likely options at nine. Both play somewhat of a different style than Boqvist and Hughes, in that they are stylistically similar to two-way defensemen. They both have excellent size, good skating ability, and solid offensive upside. They are not probable 60-point defensemen, but they are very capable of taking on a top role on the Rangers defense in the future.
Bouchard will likely be out of the running by the time the Rangers are geared to select a player. But, while Bouchard and Dobson have different intangibles that make them who they are, they are similar enough stylistically to where I can be happy no matter who the team picks.
What I can say, is that Dobson is superior defensively and skating-wise. He possesses a better ability to break out of the zone and lead the rush, and can be a very effective top-pairing defenseman in today’s NHL (at 6-foot-3 no less).
— QMJHL (@QMJHL) May 12, 2018
Assistant captain Noah Dobson is a tower on #Titan blue line. #NHLDraft prospect and Summerside native turns in another fine 2A/+2 performance in Gm #3. #QMJHL #SportsandMoore https://t.co/7nKotYvyYB pic.twitter.com/sCJjQpjOsx
— John Moore (@rinkrant) May 9, 2018
The ideal order for the Rangers:
Hughes (very unlikely)
Boqvist (very unlikely)
The 26th Pick: LW/RW Grigori Denisenko (via pick, or trading up)
This is where things get very interesting for the Rangers in the draft. This is, without question, one of the deepest drafts in recent memory. It is full of players that can impact a team’s future almost immediately upon being drafted.
The need for an offensive star can be addressed with the 26th pick! But, the key word is “can.”
Grigori Denisenko, an undersized Russian superstar, has the potential to be a very good NHL player for years to come. His remarkable ability to create space with his magical stick-handling is rivaled by very few, and he possesses the speed, passing ability, and shot to accompany this talent.
But, as he is undersized, he will probably not be looked at any earlier than the first 15 picks.
Denisenko is an elite talent. The problem is it is hard to gauge exactly where he will fall in this year’s draft. Mock drafts have him going from 12th to 21st overall. I’ve seen mock drafts where he falls even further. Could the Rangers use Vladislav Namestnikov and their 26th pick to snag Denisenko at 15th overall? I think so. I say 15th due to the fact that I think it is very unlikely that Denisenko is drafted before the 15th pick.
The Late First Round Pick (28-31): RW Dominik Bokk
2018 is a draft year where Rangers need to draft boom-or-bust players in the late first round, at all costs. With a system devoid of that A+ prospect, the Rangers could use some luck. But they should be drafting players with raw talent, and with superstar potential, like Dominik Bokk.
Bokk is a tremendously gifted puck-handler and puck-carrier. He possesses excellent vision and footwork, and can step around opposing defensemen with relative ease. With these skills alone, coupled with his skating ability, the young German is a very intriguing prospect.
Additionally, this boom-or-bust ideology only applies to Bokk due to his style of play. He will either be a top six winger at the NHL-level, which is very possible, or he will not be in the NHL, simple as that.
He can also function as a third-line skilled player, but his contributions will be best served as a top six winger. According to many who’ve evaluated Bokk extensively, it isn’t impossible to imagine that he could be a very good player in the NHL someday.
— Steve Kournianos (@TheDraftAnalyst) November 3, 2017
This is what I would like to see from the Rangers this year. Is it all going to happen exactly like this? Probably not. It is fun to speculate very possible outcomes though. If the Rangers, who are likely to draft Dobson with their first round pick, take either Denisenko or Bokk with one of their later picks, there will be a lot of happy people in the organization.