Now that the 2018 NHL Entry Draft is complete, it’s time to reflect on how the New York Rangers did in their biggest draft in 10 years.
The 2018 NHL Entry Draft was without a doubt one of the most important drafts for the New York Rangers in most recent memory.
Entering Friday, the Rangers came in with 10 picks, including seven in the first three rounds. Of those 10 picks, they held on to the ninth overall pick, used two of them to move up to the 22nd overall pick, and retained the 28th pick.
If anything was clear, it was that the Blueshirts were going to infuse their organization with young talent, just like the 2018 trade deadline. When looking at how the Rangers did this year, there are mixed reviews, but the reality is that happiness can be the only word to describe the direction this team is going.
When looking at the ninth overall pick, they took a Russian winger in Vitali Kravtsov.
Selecting the 19-year-old forward took most by surprise considering Oliver Wahlstrom was the best payer available. But the Rangers obviously saw something in Kravtsov that enticed them to use such a high pick on him.
Rangers take winger Vitaly Kravtsov. Love this pick. He's NHL ready but has KHL thing going on. Size, speed, soft hands and very dangerous.
Oilers gotta take Wahlstrom, no?
— Steve Kournianos (@TheDraftAnalyst) June 23, 2018
Just look at those four keywords from Steve Kournianos.
“Size, speed, soft hands, and very dangerous.” How is that not exciting?
He will add size to a team that some feel needed more of it. His speed element will fit right in with this roster and he’s “very dangerous” when was the last time the Rangers had a player described like that?
I missed the 1st period but Vitaly Kravtsov had a really good 2nd period. No points but a lot of good things and some offensive chances as well. Let's not forget that this is the #KHL Conference Final we're talking about here. #2018NHLDraft pic.twitter.com/6xR4MSIbAu
— Jokke Nevalainen (@JokkeNevalainen) April 5, 2018
The fact of the matter is that the Kravtsov looks like he has the ability to be a game-changer for the Rangers at some point in the future. The Rangers don’t have that now and might have changed that with that pick.
Like they did with the ninth overall pick, the rest of the draft saw the Rangers take picks that some may label as risky. But the risks came with plenty of rewards, the players the Blueshirts took all have the ability to become NHL players at some point in time. Notice that phrase though, at some point in time.
Most of the fanbase felt that the Rangers would use this draft as a way to move this rebuild along quicker than what they thought they signed up to. But general manager Jeff Gorton quickly reminded us that they weren’t going for the quick fix.
That is what makes this draft so successful for the Rangers. The fact that they stuck to their plan and didn’t jeopardize the future for players that can help them win now. Gorton could have packaged two of his first rounders for a veteran player, but he didn’t. Instead, he emphasized the importance of doing this rebuild the right way.
Gorton might not have taken the player or players you wanted him to take. If that was the case think about this for a second. Drafts aren’t made to repair your team the following season. They are made help your team within the next three years and beyond.
If you’re judging the New York Rangers draft based on that specific idea, they passed with flying colors. But, if you don’t want to think like that, hopefully in three years, these players proved they worth it.