With the upcoming BEARD Hockey Entry Draft just a day away, here is a look at where the Rangers may be looking to make a splash.
With two picks in each of the 1st and 2nd rounds, the Blue Shirts are in an enviable position to restock the shelves.
While Rangers GM Sean McAndrews is well known for taking the best player available, there are some glaring needs in the system due to picking a prospect package rather late in the Dispersal Draft.
Here is a look at positional needs.
Goalie: If Yaroslav Askarov is sitting there at #11 it may be very difficult to pass up on a potentially generational goalie talent. While goalies are notoriously slow to develop, the only prospect of note at the position for the Rangers is Dustin Wolf. The reigning WHL goalie of the year is highly regarded, but his diminutive size still makes his road to the NHL a long one.
Right Wing: Aside from Filip Zadina, there is little talent in the farm or on the prospect list. A high-end prospect either at #11 or #19 could find a quick path to the Rangers roster. Jack Quinn, a 50 goal scorer in the OHL, could be high on the Rangers list.
Left Wing: On the pro roster, there is no talent younger than Jonathan Drouin. There is some skill in the system in Jacob Pelletier and Dmitri Zavgorodny, but another high-end prospect would go a long way. Unfortunately for the Rangers, three of the top four projected picks are left wingers and then there is a bit of a wait for the next best player available - although don’t be surprised if pick #19 is used on just that.
Defense: Although there is not much in the farm, the NHL roster is quite young with Mikael Sergachev, Filip Hronek, and Adam Boqvist. It will be tempting for the Rangers if a top pairing D-man is available at either #11 or #19. But the ability to add at winger or goalie may fill a more pressing need. If one of the top defensemen fall to #11 (Sanderson and Drysdale), the Rangers could go this way. If not, #19 is a real option.
Centre: Similar to blueliners, the center position is well stocked at the pro level with Connor McDavid, Nico Hischer, and Nolan Patrick. But the prospect pool is a little sparse. Adding a quality center is always a challenge for any organization, but it may not be the most pressing need for the Rangers. It’s a very deep draft at center and there are a number of names that could be taken by the Blue Shirts, especially if they feel the player is going to play a wing at the pro level.
Overall, the Rangers are extremely excited to be entering the inaugural entry draft with Beard Hockey. We’d like to thank all of the other GMs, and especially our co-commissioners, for an enjoyable start to the league and look forward to this Friday, and many more Entry Drafts to come.