The Rangers had a lot going on this weekend during the 2021 NHL Draft.
Here’s the rundown of the Rangers’ selections:
1 (16) – Brennan Othmann, F
3 (65) – Jayden Grubbe, C
3 (75) – Ryder Korczak, C
4 (104) – Brody Lamb, F
4 (106) – Kalle Vaisanen, F
4 (112) – Talyn Boyko, G
5 (144) – Jaroslav Chmelar, F
7 (208) – Hank Kempf, D
Introducing the #NYR Class of 2021.
Welcome to Broadway! ✨ pic.twitter.com/XLIYW53w27
— New York Rangers (@NYRangers) July 24, 2021
The New York Rangers were busy heading into the 2021 NHL draft, so much so that several expected them to deal their first-round pick (16th overall) for a star-caliber player (à la Jack Eichel). However, the Rangers ended up hanging on to that pick and taking LW Brennan Othmann.
Othmann was projected to be the pick here for the Rangers by several experts and although some will say better players were available, this was an appropriate pick for New York. The Rangers are incredibly deep at both wing positions, but Othmann is a solid addition. He’s very fast, great in transition, and very physical (something the Rangers always need). He’s also a good forechecker and plays a strong defensive game.
The Rangers didn’t have a second-round pick and wouldn’t draft again until the first pick of the third round. Here, they took center Jayden Grubbe. Grubbe is very big, physical, a good passer, and a great net-front presence.
However, Grubbe isn’t a good shooter and isn’t great defensively. He also wasn’t projected to go nearly this high and this pick might have been a reach by the Blueshirts. Grubbe is a bit of a project and needs time, but there’s a lot of potential here and we know that the Rangers have had a problem at the center position.
Next, the Rangers traded up to get the 75th pick. They sent the 80th and 176th pick to the Washington Capitals in exchange for 75, with which they drafted another center, Ryder Korczak. This was a good value pick for New York and makes up for the Grubbe selection.
Korczak is good at a lot of things including passing, shooting, and puck-handling. His defense has improved greatly and he has great upside. He has a high hockey IQ and is creative. Korczak was expected to go higher by several experts. People in hockey love talking about intangibles, and Korczak has them.
The Rangers had a whopping three fourth-round picks. With the first one, the 104th overall, they drafted RW Brody Lamb. Lamb stands at 6’0″, 161 lbs. and wasn’t ranked by most experts. He has raw talent that’s capable of being refined and can become NHL-worthy, but this is the definition of a project pick, albeit an odd one. Lamb’s greatest strengths are his shooting and passing. His wrist-release has been noted. He will be attending the University of Minnesota, where the hope will be that he’s developed well.
The Rangers were on the clock two picks later, when they took another winger, LW Kalle Vaisanen. The huge Finnish winger of TPS may have been drafted a little high, but there’s upside here. He needs to gain weight, but he’s a very fast and mobile skater as well as a good puck-handler for his size. He’s a good passer, playmaker, and shooter. Vaisanen isn’t a good defender and will need to work on that area, but he’s a very good forechecker and creates turnovers at a high rate. He’s also versatile- he can be used well at even-strength and on special teams, especially the power play.
Death, taxes, and the Rangers drafting a goalie. With their third and final pick of the fourth round, the Rangers took goaltender Talyn Boyko. At 6’8″, 184 lbs., Boyko is a massive netminder with potential. His numbers aren’t great, but he’s capable of becoming a reliable goalie, especially thanks to his frame.