New York Rangers complete 2022 draft class: 5 forwards taken, physicality galore

The Rangers open up their 2022-23 season at MSG against Tampa Bay
Madison Square Garden, home to the New York Knicks.
WikiMedia Commons

Following the Alexander Georgiev trade, the Rangers entered day two of the 2022 NHL Draft with six selections. 

After their most recent run to the Eastern Conference Finals, the demand for top prospects wasn’t as high as in year’s past, but the Rangers were still able to find solid players to fit their team needs. While all six picks were made, a common theme was found in each draft selection. New York targeted physical players with high intensity. It’s the kind of mindset that team’s look for when they are trying to get back to the Stanley Cup Playoffs. 

Let’s take a look at who the Rangers selected with their selections. 

Round Two: Pick #63 – LW, Adam Sykora

A 5’10 forward from Slovakia, Sykora comes to the Rangers as a left winger with a ton of tenacity. Ranked the 63rd best prospect by Bob McKenzie, Sykora is a tad undersized but plays with a lot of fire and physicality. Reportedly modeling his game after Brad Marchand, the 17 year old will be able to sit and play in the Rangers farm system and provide the energy necessary to be an important piece in the future. 

Round Three: Pick#97 – C, Bryce McConnell-Barker 

A lot of people had the Rangers going after as many centers as possible with the team short of them in the farm system and they finally got one in round three. McConnell-Barker has a solid shot and good speed that will transition well to the NHL game. A two-way center, McConnell-Barker is only 18 so will also have an opportunity to grow with the fellow prospects on the Rangers. The center recorded 49 points in 68 games with the Soo Greyhounds of the OHL. His point total ranked fifth on a very talented club. This pick was made thanks in part to the Georgiev trade. 

Round Four: Pick #111 – C, Noah Laba

Did we mention the Rangers needed more center prospects? Laba comes from the USHL and had a very good season last year totaling 39 points in 50 games. Laba is headed to Colgate University in the fall and possesses the same toughness and physicality that the Rangers have apparently been coveting in this draft. 

Round Five: Pick #159 – D, Vittorio Mancini

After a run of three straight forwards selected, New York added to an already deep prospect group of defensemen in round five. From the University of Nebraska-Omaha, Mancini is excellent at reading the game and keeping things simple from a defensive standpoint. An alert and intelligent player, Mancini is 6-foot-4, 215lbs and has an excellent blend of size and physicality. The Rangers needed forward prospects early but they got a nice nugget here in round five. 

Round Five: Pick #161 – LW, Maxim Barbashev

The brother of Ivan who was a part of the Stanley Cup Champion Blues in 2019, Maxim played in the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League. Ivan called his younger brother the more “skilled player”. Maxim is another physical player who recorded 5 goals and 42 points in 59 games. At 6’1, 183lbs, Barbashev is in a crowded room of left wingers but his NHL pedigree can’t hurt and it’s a nice gamble in the later rounds of the draft. 

Round Six: Pick #191 – C, Zakary Karpa

Karpa is the third center taken by the Blueshirts in the NHL draft. Karpa is a 6’2″ 188lb. center from Harvard University. Karpa played in the USHL at the end of the 2020-21 season after starting the year with the Omaha Lancers. The left-hander finished the 2020-21 season with 28 points (nine goals, 19 assists) in 48 games played. Like Barbashev, Karpa does have family experience in the NHL with his father playing 13 seasons in the league. 

Rangers Common Denominator

It’s clear that the New York Rangers were looking to fit a specific role with their rookie class. Physicality, attentiveness, and good ice awareness were all a consistent profile for each of the six draft selections. New York also needed more depth along their center prospects and they accomplished that goal as well with three centers taken. 

With a team that is loaded with young talent already, the pressure to immediately produce is not there for this draft class, but that is exactly what the Rangers were looking for. Youth, and patience are things the Blueshirts can be as they continue to try and build a team to get to the Stanley Cup Final.

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