The New York Rangers are preparing for the NHL Draft. With the ninth pick in the draft, the team should have some good options.
The New York Rangers have three first-round picks in this year’s NHL Entry Draft. The most valued one, of course, is the number nine pick for the organization. There are some good options available should the team not attempt to or be able to move up in the draft.
Today, we take a look at some potential players that could be available at number nine next weekend.
Oliver Wahlstrom, (USHL), Center/RW
6-foot-1, 205 pounds, 18-years-old
USHL Stats: 26 Games Played, 22 goals, 45 points, plus 30
Rankings: NHL Central Scouting-7, Bob Mckenzie-7
A strong power forward, Wahlstrom brings a creative skill to the rink every night. He believes his shot is his biggest asset as he told Chris Wescott of the Chicago Blackhawks official website.
“Humbly, I believe I have the best shot in the draft, I work on it every day.”
The forward scored 40 goals in 54 games for the U18 National Team Development Program aside from his USHL stats last season.
Noah Dobson, QMJHL, Acadie- Bathurst – Defense
6-foot-3, 180 pounds, 18 years-old
QMJHL stats: 67 games played, 17 goals, 69 points, plus 33
Rankings: NHL Central Scouting-5, Bob McKenzie-8
A two-way defenseman with good skating skills. Dobson has a strong, accurate shot which allows him ample power play time. Plays a strong, hard game in his own end of the ice and can handle large amounts of playing time. Has a great knack of making adjustments throughout the game which helps limits the opposition scoring opportunities.
He will need to add some muscle and get a little faster on the ice but could be a great selection if he is available for the Rangers.
Adam Boqvist, SWE-J20, Defense
5-foot-11, 168 pounds, 17 years-old
SWE-J20 stats: 25 games played, 14 goals, 24 points, plus 6
Rankings: NHL Central Scouting-2, Bob Mckenzie-6
Has been compared to an Erik Karlsson style of player. A good playmaker and shooter, Boqvist is a smart player who won’t force a shot since he is one of the best passers available in the draft. He needs to work on his play in his own end of the ice but at 17-years old has the ability to be a solid defenseman in the NHL in time.
As with most of these young kids, he needs to build up some muscle mass which will help him compete against the bigger forwards in the league.
Jesperi Kotkaniemi, Assat (Liiga), Center
6-foot-2, 188 pounds, 18 years old
Assat (Liiga) stats: 57 games played, 10 goals, 29 points, plus 1
Rankings: NHL Central Scouting- 6, Bob Mckenzie- 10
Kotkaniemi won a Gold Medal in the 2018 U18 World Junior Championships registering three goals, six assists in seven games played. With strong upper body strength, he is able to protect the puck and dominate on the ice. Kotkaniemi began to rise in the rankings as the season progressed. Scouts begin to recognize his ability to take over a game but they also noticed the need for him to improve on his skating skills.
Quinn Hughes, Michigan (NCAA), Defense
5-foot-10, 170 pounds, 19 years old
Michigan NCAA Stats: 37 games played, 5 goals, 29 points, plus 13
Rankings: NHL Central Scouting-6, Bob Mckenzie-9
Hughes make be the best skater in this year’s draft. He has an outstanding on-ice presence, knowing where everyone is in front of him. The defenseman enjoys jumping into the play offensively and his speed gives him the edge in getting back to his own end to make a play. He needs to work on his end of the ice, but this would not be considered a liability to himself on the ice. An excellent passer who like to use the stretch pass often to help break out of his own end.
Evan Bouchard, London (OHL), Defense
6-foot-2, 193 pounds, 19 years-old
London (OHL) stats: 67 games played, 25 goals, 87 points, plus 23
Rankings: NHL Central Scouting-4, Bob Mckenzie-5
Evan Bouchard led all blueliners in the CHL with 87 points. No defenseman in the OHL shot the puck more often last year than Bouchard did and he has the vision and intelligence to create for himself and others on the ice. Bouchard needs to work on his skate speed.
He can get to where he needs to go, but his speed is not one of the positive points when discussing Bouchard’s skill. As is the case with most young defensemen he needs to work on the play in his own end of the ice, but that should not take away from his ability to get the job done.
The Long Shot
Brady Tkachuk played for Boston University under newly hired head coach David Quinn. Tkachuk could be a New York Ranger, but they would have to trade up in the draft to have any chance to land him. He is currently ranked second by NHL Central Scouting and fourth by Bob Mckenzie. Most mock drafts have him going somewhere in the top five and though he could drop a little, it is unlikely he would be available for the Rangers to select at number nine.
These are just some of the possibilities the Rangers may have a shot to select. The other wild card, of course, is a trade, then all bets are off. The Rangers could trade up and maybe find themselves selecting fourth or fifth in the draft. Then again, they could possibly trade down and gain even more draft picks or roster players from other teams.
This is an exciting time for the Blueshirts, a time where the team can start to put the pieces together and get the building process up and running. These first steps are the most important, 10 picks in this year’s draft which will set the tempo for free agency as the team looks forward to a busy summer and training camp in September.