General manager Chris Drury and the New York Rangers knew they would never be in the Connor Bedard sweepstakes as a playoff team this past year.
That doesn’t mean lottery night wasn’t filled with controversy though. Two years after a cover-up of sexual assault allegations from 2010, the Chicago Blackhawks won the rights to the best overall hockey prospect in years. Chicago won the lottery Monday night over smaller market organizations, while still considered a pariah among NHL circles which left fans and analysts frustrated with the whole process.
But as with everything in the sports world, other organizations cannot sit and wait for the fall-out of large fanbases loudly claiming corruption in a league looking to improve its revenue.
For the Rangers, the exploits on Lottery night were a sideshow from what they needed to accomplish over the next few months. They have close to $12 million in cap space for several RFA’s like K’Andre Miller and Alexis Lafreniere, and several key free agents like Vladimir Tarasenko need deals…oh, and the Blueshirts still need to figure out who is going to coach this veteran team eventually.
On top of all the organization pieces Drury needs to decide upon over the coming weeks, scouting the top prospects available in a deep class will be very important for the future of the franchise.
Below is the list of selections that the Rangers own going into the draft in late June.
1st Round – 24th Overall
3rd Round – 90th Overall (Trade with Colorado)
6th Round – 179 Overall (Trade with Winnipeg)
6th Round – 184 Overall
With just four draft selections, there isn’t a lot of room for the Rangers to try and improve the farm system that has been in flux during the past few years due to trades for top veterans. The third-round selection they own came as a part of the Alexander Georgiev trade while the sixth-rounder from Winnipeg was part of the deal for Andrew Copp.
The good news for the Rangers is that this draft class is extremely deep they’ll be able to land a good prospect in the first round while also gaining some valuable depth for a team that is looking to replenish their farm system.
Here are three names to keep an eye on currently for the Rangers that could be available with the 24th overall pick.
Oliver Moore – C, USNTDP
New York needs an infusion of forwards with plenty of their top prospects coming from the defensive side. Having some center prospects would come through in a major way. Moore is different than a prospect like Lafreniere because he can be such a dangerous skater but will need some time to develop. He could be a difference-maker if given the chance.
Calum Ritchie – C, Oshawa
Ritchie could have his upper-body injury hurt his draft prospects going into June, but he’s still very talented and fills a major position of need for the Rangers. New York wants to see if Adam Sykora can play at center, but Ritchie would also provide some much-needed depth there.
Matthew Wood – RW, UConn
The youngest player in college hockey this past season tallied 34 points in 35 games. The Rangers could use more depth along the right-wing side and Wood would be a perfect scoring option when he eventually develops and gets older.
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