56° Good Evening
56° Good Evening

Rangers, Islanders won’t find any quick fixes in the 2018 NHL Draft

The two teams possess a combined five first-round picks, but none of them are earlier than No. 9 overall.

New York Rangers and Islanders fans hoping for a quick fix for their struggling teams via the 2018 NHL Draft may be disappointed.

The two-day draft, which will be held in Dallas beginning Friday, comes after both teams installed new leadership following disappointing campaigns in which both missed the playoffs. New Rangers coach David Quinn, who has replaced the fired Alain Vigneault, will obviously be involved.

Meanwhile, for the Isles, there is a new sheriff in Brooklyn: Lou Lamoriello, he of the three Stanley Cups with the New Jersey Devils. The new president of hockey operations will likely act as de facto general manager at the draft. He also worked quickly to hire Barry Trotz, who guided the Washington Capitals to their first Stanley Cup earlier this month, as the new coach.

As bad as both New York teams were this past season, neither struggled enough to earn a high first-round pick. The Rangers, who hold the ninth, 26th and 28th selections (the latter two obtained via deadline deals with the Boston Bruins and Tampa Bay Lightning, respectively), are unlikely to get an immediate-impact player at these spots. However, the Blueshirts could package the picks with an established NHLer, such as Kevin Hayes, and move up.

Swedish defenseman Rasmus Dahlin and Russian winger Andrei Svechnikov are the consensus top two players available this year, but both the Buffalo Sabres and Carolina Hurricanes at Nos. 1 and 2, respectively, are unlikely to trade. Still, the Rangers could make a deal with the Montreal Canadiens or Ottawa Senators, who pick third and fourth, for a shot at highly-touted American winger Brady Tkachuk, who played for Quinn at Boston University.

The Islanders, who select 11th and 12th (the latter from the Calgary Flames in last year’s Travis Hamonic trade) have their eyes on free agency, which starts July 1. Given that franchise cornerstone John Tavares remains unsigned, the question is whether they take a center, such as Barrett Hayton, to potentially replace the team captain.

The Isles could pursue a much-needed defensemen or two, including Ty Smith and Bode Wilde. There are no blue-chip goalies on the board, so that’s unlikely an option in Round 1.

Neither the Rangers nor Isles are likely to land the next Wayne Gretzky or Bobby Orr on draft day, but what happens in Dallas could make or break their immediate futures.


We're revamping our Comments section. Learn more and share your input.

Top Photos & Videos