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New York Rangers Primed to Make Some Noise this off season

by Michael Stewart on Jun. 8, 2019

The NHL Draft is just around the corner and the NHL scouting combine is underway as team’s get the opportunity to evaluate all the invited prospects to determine who would be a good fit for their respective organization. One team to keep a close eye on is the New York Rangers who will be selecting 2nd overall in the NHL draft behind the New Jersey Devils. The Rangers also have the 20th pick in the draft (Kevin Hayes trade to Winnipeg) and could be very aggressive come draft day. Newly hired President John Davidson has an impressive resume with his stints in St. Louis and Columbus; as both teams have made great strides. GM Jeff Gorton, along with Davidson will collaborate and select the best possible prospects to add to the Rangers already wealth of young talent in the organization.  It’s clear the Rangers will be waiting patiently for the Devils to select the 1st player off the board and whether it’s Jack Hughes or Kaapo Kakko, it’s a win-win for the Blue-shirts as they will get an impact player. However; after their 1st pick in the draft, the Rangers could make this draft more interesting as they will have the 20th overall pick, with two 2nd round picks (49 & 58) and five other picks between rounds 3 through 7 to dangle around to move up in the draft like they did in 2018 when they traded up from 26th to 22nd to select Defensemen K’Andre Miller.

Many project the top 10 selections to be safe as none of the teams picking in the top 10 have reportedly been looking to either trade up or back at this point. However; looking at the projected draft board, there will be a group of highly talented prospects falling between the 11-19 in the draft and if the Rangers have a few of these prospects on their draft board, we could see them make a move. There are six prospects that fall into that group that could interest the Rangers enough to trade up and they are Defensemen Philip Broberg, Thomas Harley and Moritz Seider and forwards Arthur Kaliyev, Raphael Lavoie and Alexander Newhook. All six are projected to go between 11-19 in the draft; which would mean that it is highly unlikely that any of them will be there when the Rangers select at 20. The Rangers could stay at #20 and just let the draft come to them, It’s possible that one of these prospects falls to them at #20, if not then Davidson and Gorton could decide to trade up. Here’s a quick look at each prospect.

Forwards

  • Arthur Kaliyev (LW): Kaliyev is a pure sniper and an exceptional skater who can take over a game at any time. Kaliyev has good size (6’5/195) to go along with his skill set and would most likely need at least one year of AHL play to adjust.
  • Alexander Newhook (C): Newhook is a well-rounded center who can light up the score board as easily as threading the needle with a pass. Newhook plays hard on both ends of the ice and is an exceptional forechecker. Newhook combination of power and speed will only improve at the NHL level.
  • Raphael Lavoie (C): Lavoie could be a surprise pick in this draft on when he is actually selected. The majority of the mock drafts has him going somewhere between 11-15, while a few has him going in the top 10. Lavoie has great size (6’4/200lbs) and is a smooth skater. Lavoie has a very deceptive shot that seems to catch goalies by surprise. Lavoie could possibly transition to Right Wing in the NHL.

Defensemen

  • Philip Broberg: Broberg has good size (6’3/200lbs) and is extremely mobile as his skating ability is already high. Plays both ends of the ice at a high level and could be NHL ready as early as 2019.
  • Thomas Harley: Harley has good size (6’3/195) and is well-rounded on both ends of the ice. Harley has all the intangibles that teams covert and his ability to join the play offensively and also handled his defensive responsibilities at a high level makes him a very appealing prospect.
  • Moritz Seider: Seider has a strong two-way game and seems to be NHL ready now with his combination of size (6’3/210) and skill set. Many project Seider to become more of a shut down defensemen at the NHL level with a touch of scoring. Seider’s eagerness to take the body and play with physicality would be a welcome addition to the Rangers blue line.

Trading Up Within the 1st Round

So what would it take for the Rangers to trade down to acquire one of these prospects? Well that depends on which team sitting between picks 11-19 are willing to make a deal and who would the Rangers package to get the deal done. Currently; the 11-19 spots are Philadelphia, Minnesota, Florida, Arizona, Montreal, Colorado, Las Vegas, Dallas and Ottawa.

Out of all these teams, it would seem that perhaps only a few would be willing to make a deal with the Rangers. Let’s take a look at the teams that could be willing to trade back and the players the Rangers would consider packaging to move up in the draft:

  • Arizona (14): The Coyotes and Rangers have made trades before and both organizations have a great relationship. Would that be enough for Arizona to part with their 14th overall pick? Maybe or maybe not. Trade Proposal: New York Rangers offer their 20th overall pick and their 2nd round pick (49) a pick between Vladislav Namestnikov, Ryan Strome or  Jimmy Vesey for Arizona’s 14th overall pick and a 3rd round pick (74).
  • Montreal Canadians (15): The Canadians and Rangers have collaborated in trades before and seem to be a good fit. Trade Proposal: New York Rangers offer their 20th overall pick, a 2nd round pick (58) and a pick between Vladislav Namestnikov, Ryan Strome or Jimmy Vesey for Montreal’s 15th overall pick and their 2nd round pick (48).
  • Dallas (18): The Dallas Stars could use a reliable C/LW to go with their current roster of forwards. The Rangers could acquire the Stars 1st round in 2020 if Mats Zuccarello is re-signed or their 3rd round pick if he isn’t. Perhaps the Rangers could offer a package that would make both teams happy. Trade Proposal: New York Rangers offer their 20th overall pick, a 3rd round pick (68) and a pick between Vladislav Namestnikov, Ryan Strome or Jimmy Vesey for Dallas’s 18th overall pick and their 2021 2nd round pick.

Trading up Back into the 1st Round

On the flip side, the Rangers also could look to trade back into the 1st round with a few teams that have four or less picks and are looking to add some picks and they are

  • Winnipeg Jets (3): No 1st, 3rd , 6th or 7th round picks
  • Columbus Blue Jackets (4): No 1st, 2nd , 4th or 5th round picks
  • Dallas Stars (4): No 2nd, 3rd or 7th round picks
  • Pittsburgh Penguins (4): No 2nd or 3rd round picks
  • San Jose Sharks (4): No 1st or 2nd round picks
  • St. Louis Blues (4): No 4th or 6th round picks

 

  • Dallas Stars (18): This could have been the Rangers pick had the Stars advanced to the Stanley Cup. However; maybe they can still acquire it by putting a package together to move back into the 1st round. Trade Proposal: New York Rangers offer their two 2nd round picks (49 & 58), and pick between Vladislav Namestnikov, Ryan Strome or Jimmy Vesey for Dallas’s 18th overall pick.
  • Pittsburgh Penguins (21): This would be the less likely scenario as these two teams rarely embark in trades between one another. However; it doesn’t hurt to see if the fish are biting. Trade Proposal: New York Rangers offer their 2nd round (49), 3rd round pick (68) and a pick between Vladislav Namestnikov, Ryan Strome or Jimmy Vesey for Pittsburgh’s 21st overall pick.
  • St. Louis Blues (30): Perhaps with John Davidson on board, he could reach out to his former employer and see if there is any interest in making a deal. Trade Proposal: New York Rangers offer their 2nd round pick (58), 3rd round pick (68) and a pick between Vladislav Namestnikov, Ryan Strome or Jimmy Vesey for St. Louis’s 30th overall pick and their 2020 2nd round pick.

Players who could be available

  • Vladislav Namestnikov (C/LW): Namestnikov can play both the center and wing positions and is considered more of a playmaker than a sniper. In 78 games last season, Namestnikov tallied 11 goals and 20 assists and had a -7 rating.  Excellent skater who hasn’t been able to find the scoring touch he had with Tampa. Namestnikov has one year remaining on his contract at $4M and is expected to be on the top of the trading block for the Rangers.
  •  Ryan Strome (C/RW): Strome came to the Rangers for Ryan Spooner in a trade that seems to have been a good move by GM Jeff Gorton. In just 63 games, Strome totaled 18 goals and 15 assists and showcased a snipers mentality around the net. Strome has one year remaining at $3.1M and is expected to get a sizable increase. It remains to be seen if the Rangers consider him part of the future or a trading chip this off season.
  • Jimmy Vesey (LW/RW): Vesey has one year remaining at $2.75M and has shown flashes of why the Rangers pursued him and then there are other times when Vesey’s inconsistency is apparent. In 81 games last season, Vesey finished with 17 goals and 18 assists and provided a little grit along the corners. This could be the best time to move on from the gifted forward; while he still has some value.
  • Chris Kreider (LW): Kreider would be the most sort after forward among this group if the Rangers are considering making him available. Kreider has size, speed, grit and displayed a little scoring touch with 28 goals and 24 assists in 79 games. I’m not sure the Rangers would trade him before the start of the season, although he would net them the biggest return in talent. They would need to be blown away to consider moving the gifted winger before the start of the season.  However; the Rangers could entertain it by the trading deadline as Kreider will be a free agent after the 2019-20 season.

Final Thoughts: Many expect the Rangers to be very active leading up the draft and on draft day with possible trades involving players and picks. Also, despite the team entering their second season in a rebuilding phase, many also expect President John Davidson and GM Jeff Gorton to explore the free agent market to find the right players that would fit their needs and still be in their rebuilding plans. The Rangers will have the players and payroll to really enhance their roster to speed up the rebuilding process and possibly take a giant leap in 2019.