For a pair months, I’ve been piggybacking off Elliotte Friedman and our personal Brandon Cohen on this weekly thought publish. Whereas I’d often do these ad-hoc, I preferred the concept of consistency and a typical theme. This week, let’s discuss concerning the Rangers choices to make with the #15 decide within the 2021 NHL Draft
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1. The Rangers didn’t get fortunate on this 12 months’s draft lottery, and stayed on the #15 decide this 12 months. This was anticipated, because the Rangers solely had a 1% probability of successful for a 3rd 12 months in a row. Additionally might you could have imagined the carnage if the Rangers gained once more? I’m not a giant conspiracy theorist, and I this didn’t occur, however I wouldn’t be shocked if we discover out in some unspecified time in the future the league “made certain” the Rangers didn’t win once more. Keep in mind, they modified the complete draft lottery guidelines as a result of they gained the Alexis Lafreniere lottery.
2. The benefit of the 2021 NHL Draft is that it had good expertise. The rub is that there isn’t any clear-cut #1 total decide, and whereas there’s good expertise, it’s between a pair of drafts (2020, 2022) which are loaded. So don’t mistake this draft to be “weak.” It’s simply not as sturdy as 2020 and 2022. There may be expertise, and if the Rangers decide within the first spherical, they are going to get a strong prospect. In talking with Sam Stern, he in contrast this to the 2017 draft. The youngsters will develop and we are going to see a bunch of fine gamers out of this draft. However on paper, it’s nothing overly particular.
3. One other fascinating tidbit from Sam was that it is a good 12 months to commerce down. The vary of prospects that ought to be obtainable within the mid-teens isn’t actually a degree above the children that ought to be obtainable within the 20s. Sam particularly talked about Aatu Raty and Cole Sillinger at #15, who I discussed in a fast primer final week. Apart from just a few others, Sam really useful buying and selling down. Getting again into the second spherical is definitely doable by buying and selling down.
4. I’m all aboard the commerce down prepare, if the Rangers decide within the first spherical. The Blueshirts gave up a second spherical decide to unlock Marc Staal’s cap hit. Given the expertise that ought to be round within the second spherical, coupled with level #3 above, it may be good asset administration to commerce down. I like the concept of accumulating picks –dart throws– on this draft. This all is determined by who slides and who is accessible at #15 after all.
5. All this mentioned, I don’t assume the Rangers will decide within the first spherical this 12 months. It’s no secret that the #15 decide is in play for the Rangers this 12 months. Whereas everyone seems to be speaking about Jack Eichel, and for good cause, there are different names the Rangers can be . Calgary and presumably Elias Lindholm is an fascinating goal, as he’s definitely extra value managed. Alex Barkov is a pipe dream most certainly. However whereas all eyes are on Eichel, relaxation assured the Rangers are different choices.
6. If the Rangers transfer the #15 decide, will probably be for a middle. I can’t think about a situation the place the Rangers transfer that decide for a winger or a defenseman. The Rangers have amassed wonderful depth at each positions, and most of that depth is affordable. The place of want is middle, so if there’s a plan to maneuver the decide, will probably be for a middle and solely a middle. That isn’t a lot a daring prediction as it’s common sense.
7. There may be some concern that the Rangers will revert to their previous methods and commerce picks and prospects for washed up veterans. The fears have subsided a bit after the tradition shock of Dolan firing Jeff Gorton and John Davidson. Chris Drury doesn’t appear the sort to be a puppet for Dolan. That mentioned, we are going to be taught an terrible lot about him primarily based on how he manages the #15 decide. Earlier than the turnover within the entrance workplace, we knew this was an important offseason shortly for the Rangers. The upheaval solely exacerbates this. This offseason and subsequent have the potential to make or break the Rangers as a possible perennial Stanley Cup contender for the following 5-10 years.